Where do emotions come from? Emotions are a part of who we are. We are born with them. All of them. Every emotion that we are capable of feeling, we are born with. The do not come from the things that happen in our lives. They come from within us. They are a part of who we are. They are what allow us to “experience” the events in our lives.
As we experience events in our life we attach emotions to those events. The event becomes an experience based on the emotions and meaning that we attach to the event. We learn to react and attach specific emotions to events based on the reactions of those around us, our previous experiences, and how we think we should be feeling in a certain circumstance.
Just like there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every emotion. To make emotions seem more complicated, every emotion can be felt to a greater or lesser extent. Let’s take sadness for an example. Lots of things make us sad. When we break or lose a favorite object we feel sad that it is lost or broken. When we lose a loved one, sadness takes on a whole new meaning because that sadness touches our heart. Taking that one step further, when we do not let go of sadness it starts to spread through our perceptions until we experience depression. The sadness associated with depression seeps into every cell of our body. From an emotional perspective, depression is a form of very deep sadness.
Emotions were designed by nature to enhance our life. They provide emphasis in how we learn, how we react to everything around us, and how we view the world. The lessons we learn as we go through life are reinforced by the emotions we feel at the time. When the same circumstance arises again, we anticipate how we will feel based on the emotion we experienced before. This then affects how we react to a current or expected event, that we will have the exact same emotion as before. Most of the time we have no awareness of how our emotions set in place how we handle future events and color the lessons we learn. There is always more than one emotion attached to every event. Which ones do you focus on?
For example, let’s start with a favorite mug. You placed your favorite mug on the counter, very close to the edge, while you are cleaning up the kitchen. By accident, you knock it off the counter and it shatters on the floor. It has broken into many pieces and cannot be repaired. You are very sad. Time passes and you forget about the mug.
You get a new favorite mug. This time you are very careful to take special care of the mug so it does not get broken. You guard it carefully. No one else is allowed to use or touch it. Why? Because you lost your last favorite mug and you were sad and you don’t want to lose this one too. Every time you use the mug there is a residual feeling of sadness hovering in anticipation of when you lose the mug. By attaching a feeling of sadness from the past experience to the current experience you reduce your sense of enjoyment with the new mug. You are being so careful that you are so tense and focused on not dropping this very special mug. You are not watching where you are walking, you trip and drop the mug and it shatters on the floor. No more favorite mug. Now, what do you do? What happens with the next favorite mug? Do you put it in a glass case? Never to be touched? Never to be enjoyed? Never to enjoy the experience of that perfect cup of cocoa or tea or coffee in the perfect mug?
Why don’t we learn from the first broken mug to savor and enjoy and relax in the pleasure of using a favorite mug? It becomes a favorite mug because it brings us joy. It provides us with comfort and a sense of peace that all is well. Enjoy those moments of peace that come into your life. Let moments of peace seep into all areas of your life.