In previous articles, I have identified five of the seven truths about emotions, and with this one the last two truths. As a kinesthetic sensation enriched by meaning (cognitively) an emotion exercises influence on us to get us to move (motion) out (ex) from where we are. As a difference between map-and-territory, these mind-body systemic experiences create energy, motivation, and vitality within us. They are therefore important, but not as ultimate truth, but as relative truth indicating what meanings our bodies are attempting to actualize. As somatic registering of our meanings- they indicate the meanings that we are feeling.
5) Emotions are always right – relatively and conditionally to the map-territory situation.
Here is the paradox, while fully fallible (definition- “liable to error”) emotions are always right. How is that? They are right to the maps out of which they come and they are right in the context and situation that they are reflecting. That’s why we should pay attention to them without falling into the falsehood of “obeying” them. They do provide information, although that information may be erroneous. And what this means is fabulous for human beings.
What this means is that there are no “bad” emotions. Write that down. There are no bad emotions. The judgment of “bad” doesn’t apply to this mind-body function, an emotion is just an emotion. It arises as a symptom of how you are thinking in relation to your expectations and skills. They are not indicators of external reality. Instead they indicate the relationship between our map and our experience of the territory. In this, they are completely fallible and not an infallible voice or authority. Our emotions can be very wrong and erroneous to the outside world, a reflection of distorted thinking and fallacious reasoning.
6) Emotions can be responded to in a variety of ways.
When it comes to emotions, you and I can respond to them in a wide range of ways. We can listen to them, suppress them, ignore their message, obey them, release them, take them into consideration, etc. Once we feel an emotion we can be chose how we will respond, listen to them, ignore them, or deal with them later. So, how do you want to respond when you feel any given emotion?
The range of your choices and your flexibility of response describes your repertoire of skills in responding to your emotions. So as you develop more and more ways of responding to your emotions, you’ll have a sense of more choice and more control in your life. And as you do this, be sure to quality control your emotions.
Have you quality controlled your Emotion?
What does it mean to quality control? It means to check to see that the emotion itself, how you are experiencing it, how you are creating it, what it is registering, and so on is useful for you, helpful, empowering, and enhancing. After all, if emotions are fallible, functions of thinking, meaning-making, and experiencing the territory, then emotions need to be quality controlled for ecology and realism.
So, just because we feel something doesn’t demand that you act on it. Emotions can be distorted and even perverted. What you feel may not be real. You may be feeling an “old” emotion, a dated emotion, an imaginary emotion, and so on. So check it out before you just react! By quality controlling your emotions, you will discover that you have many more ways of responding to an emotion and that ultimately, you have that choice.
7) Emotions always habituate and become unconscious moods and attitudes.
When an emotion habituates, we live in it and lose awareness of it as an emotion. Then the emotion becomes something else, it becomes a mood. It becomes an attitude. It becomes a generalized mind-set or disposition and when this happens it doesn’t so much feel like an emotion. As it is repeated and habitualized, it feels so familiar and so comfortable, that you will experience it as “the way things are,” “what’s real,” and “life as you know it.”
Here then in summary are the 7 truths we speak about emotions in Neuro-Semantics. These are not the only “truths” but central to being able to create and experience a healthy emotional intelligence and emotional mastery.
- Emotions measure the map / territory difference; they are felt meanings.
- Emotions are important as information signals.
- Emotions are functions of the body as well as the mind.
- Emotions are just emotions, not commands from heaven or our destiny.
- Emotions are always right – relatively and conditionally to the map-territory situation.
- Emotions can be responded to in a variety of ways.
- Emotions always habituate and become unconscious moods and attitudes.
L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.