We have an emoji for everything, don’t we? And now, we have an Emoji Movie. (long pause) Truth is I wrote this article long before the movie… Is it still out? (long pause)
(sigh) Okay, awhile back, I was looking through my phone and I realized I’d never sent the really angry, or the really frustrated, or the really sad emojis. Never. They just seemed like too much emoji. I mean, I wonder how many of us actually do use all the emojis.
And yet… they exist. An emoji for almost every emotion we have. (Does Perplexed Emoji exist? What about Befuddled Emoji?)
I think it’s funny that we have created little cute icons for emotions that are sometimes so complex and complicated we just want to give them all up and hide away. (You think they’ll make Hiding Emoji? … Wink… (or should I have used an emoji for that?))
Which brings me to the point of this article…
We are emotional beings – our very existence is predicated on both our thoughts and our emotions. Yet somehow we often relate to our emotions like they are the bags we’d rather not carry on the plane. “Just shove those down in cargo. They’ll hold there. I’ll pick ’em up later (… if ever).”
Here are some words that give definition to our relationship to emotionality. Here are the definitions as presented by Merriam-Webster.
- of or relating to emotion;
- dominated by or prone to emotion;
- appealing to or arousing emotion;
- markedly aroused or agitated in feeling or sensibilities
And here I thought the word “emotional” just meant to have emotions. Notice that key phrase “dominated by,” as if you can be dominated by the very thing that makes up who you are and your experience as a human being.
To be human is to have emotions, and to be an emotional being.
- having, showing or expressing strong emotions or beliefs;
- expressing or relating to strong sexual or romantic feelings
I’m not sure if this is evident for all who read these definitions, but there is a marked difference and similarity between the definitions of these two words. It’s almost as if there is a positive slant given by definition for one word and a negative slant given by definition for the other. Which would you say has the positive slant?
If you said “passionate,” I’d say you’re spot on. These definitions are marked by our times. If I were to look in a dictionary from the 1800’s, I would most likely not find these particular definitions for these two words. I show these meanings to show that we have created definitions to match our current-day perceptions of our emotions.
I mean think of it. Don’t we think of women as emotional?
Being razor straight, don’t we think of “being emotional” as being weak?
And don’t we think of men as passionate when we see them having strong emotions in the office or in a position of “authority,” just as much as in a romantic situation?
To all those who think I’m presenting a gender bias, I’m not. We think of women as passionate too, but I speak here of men because – as a rule, with few exceptions – they are taught to downplay unwanted emotions so they’ll be perceived as strong and not weak, “powerful” and not helpless; while women are allowed much more to embrace all their emotions (except anger). I bring up these ideas not to create a gender divide, but to point out that how we relate to our emotionality, in general, is already divided and categorized.
We consider “being passionate” as a strength, as an admirable quality. In anyone. And we consider “being emotional” as a detriment.
Yet, these two words are similar in their nature and definition. Two different words… yet, they are both about being emotional. If you missed it, read the definitions again. The word “emotion” plays prominently in both.
… I’ll say it again: We are emotional beings – beings with both thoughts and emotions. We have a thought and what follows that thought is a feeling. Our humanity is as simple as that.
It is our contextual thinking – the way that we relate to our thoughts – that has us reference our emotionality as either “weakness” or “strength.”
Oh… then it lies in our thinking?
Mmmm… profound concept, huh? Our thinking that gives us our feelings also gives us our feelings about our feelings. Hmmmm.
Interesting. What if acknowledging our emotions – that they are an integral part of our experience as human beings – gave us strength and power to create our lives in a fashion that greatly surprised us? What if that strength and power was predicated on our acknowledgement of our vulnerability – simply, our ability to be seen as our authentic selves?
What if ignoring and avoiding our emotions just made us numb and dead inside, feeling powerless? What if this experience of numbness and being dead inside robbed us of our presence of mind and our ability to access our intelligence within?
Emotions as powerful tools for creation… What do you feel about that?
(And are you willing to create an emoji for that feeling without having to get credit or royalties for it? … Just askin’.)
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All photos credited to Gratisography.