I Second That Emotion!

emotive chartHave you ever thought about how much we are influenced by our emotions? Now, we (particularly men) would like to think that we live our lives in a logical or orderly way based on good sound reasoning, but often that is not the case. Most of the time, we live our lives, governed and controlled by our emotions. For instance, let’s think about how we buy automobiles. Most of the time, the dominant factor in the automotive buying decision is an emotional one. Now, we would like to think it is the price or some other practical aspect, but most of the time it is not! It’s not the price because even when the asking price might be a bit more than we would like, our emotions overrule our logic to justify the purchase. And what emotion is that?  In the final analysis, we purchase the automobile because of how it makes us “feel,” whether that feeling be a sense of pride in ownership, experiencing the thrill of a new car, or the feeling of having arrive at the status level the automobile symbolizes. That is why some people buy certain automotive brands. When the small-talk at the dinner party is about what automobile people drive, there is a different emotion projected and felt when people say they drive a Mercedes or a BMW as opposed to them saying they drive a Hyundai or a Mazda. I’ve heard it said that people will: “Buy what they cannot afford, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t even like!” Why would they do such a foolish thing? It is a vain attempt to satisfy the emotions fostered by pride and showmanship!

Why do most people who drink alcoholic beverages or take drugs do it? They indulge in such behavior because of the way these substances make them “feel.” They want to feel a buzz or a high or maybe they just want to forget about how their problems make them feel. But when or if they become addicted, they are caught in a vicious cycle within which the feeling is no longer a want, but rather a need!  It’s all about the emotive sensation! I even read a news story recently in which the suspect admitted to killing someone because of the excitement they wanted to feel in committing a murder! Can you image that? They killed somebody to satisfy an emotional feeling! Now, most murders are not committed because of the excitement, but emotions still play a major role! People get angry, jealous, resentful, feel disrespected, frighten or afraid. All of these emotions have played major roles in justifying murder or a killing in the minds of the ones who committed the act.

But it’s not only negative things that are driven by emotions, positive things are driven by emotions also! Why, after all these years, did you decide to go back to school and earn that degree?  Because you wanted feel the pride that comes from a sense of accomplishment! At least that’s the answer I got from a 68-year-old grandmother who sat next to me in a college class several years ago! Why are you so nice to help people you don’t even know when they need help? Because it’s just the right thing to do and you feel good, knowing that you are making a difference in someone else’s life!

We are  all motivated by our emotions much more than we realize or are willing to admit. The key is to be aware of the role emotions play in our lives and then work to make sure our emotions are serving us as opposed to us being slaves and serving our emotions.

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