We live in a world where emotions are often looked down upon. Making decisions based on emotions is often labelled as being irrational, and using rational, conscious reasoning is considered to be the gold standard of looking at the world.
And it’s not completely wrong. I don’t believe that you should let the emotions run wild and make decisions for you. There are some people who live like this, and they become slaves to their own ever-changing moods. They do whatever they feel like at the time, or respond to situations purely based on how they feel, and often the results are harmful to both themselves and others.
But there is another way. You can use both emotions and rational reasoning together. Emotions can serve as a guide, an additional information that can be considered when making a decision. While you should not be controlled by your emotions, you should not throw the baby out with the bath water and throw emotions out of your reasoning altogether either.
I believe that your emotions give you a glimpse of what is going on in your subconscious mind. We know that the subconscious mind is very powerful, and able to process infinitely more things simultaneously than our conscious mind can. It often notices things that our conscious mind hasn’t, and gives signals to our conscious mind, which comes in the form of some sort of emotion.
For example, whenever I have a heated discussion (read: argument) with someone and feel that I’ve won, I often go home feeling irritable or upset in some way. And whenever I examine what the matter was, I find that I did something wrong during the discussion. This could be in the way I talked to the other person – perhaps in a demeaning kind of way, or using information that I am not sure is completely factually accurate to prove my point. In this situation, my emotions are telling me that I went against my own beliefs, and what I consider important.
Emotions are also sign posts, telling you what you actually believe. You may tell yourself that you are an awesome person in your conscious mind, but at the first sign of criticism, you may feel anxious, depressed, and generally discouraged. Your emotions may be telling you that you actually believe yourself to be worthless, that you are nothing without the achievements and praise that comes with it. It may be telling you what you can’t, or perhaps refuse, to see.
Another concept that is closely linked with emotions as I’ve described it, is intuition. While not emotions in the normal sense, these subconscious messages also tells us things that have escaped our conscious notice in the form of ‘gut feelings’. These are not the same as instincts, which are our biological tendencies built in to ensure our survival. Intuition doesn’t come already built in, and only develop over time through exposure to activities, skills, or even just life. The subconscious mind has developed some patterns out of these exposures, and when you run into a new situation, it can point out inconsistencies. If you recognize how powerful your own subconscious is, then you know that respecting you intuition is a wise idea.
I personally have always been a rational, unemotional kind of person throughout my life. And even now, I can’t say that I am a very emotional person. However, I’ve come to realize the importance of emotions and the role it plays in our life, and now always strive to maximize the use of my emotions, as well as my intuition. I’ve used it to tell if I am telling myself lies, and have used them to get myself out of some of my own mental prisons. I’ve used it to catch myself when I might be doing something wrong, when that something is so subtle that it eacapes my conscious mind. It hs become an indispensable guide in my life.
When you learn to trust your emotions and intuitions as a guide, and take them into consideration when making decisions, you will find that it becomes easier to see consistencies or inconsistencies in your life. When you can see those, then you will find it easier to see what is true and what is not, and cut out the lies from your life. This way, your life can become more meaningful, more simple, and more enjoyable.