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Human emotions can be funny things.  We all ride the roller coaster of our emotions from time to time, and so we, over the course of a lifetime, become familiar with the soaring highs, despairing lows, and strange twists and turns that make up the emotional side of our individual personalities.  Emotions are one of the defining things that makes us human.  They define us in a way that few other aspects of our mind could ever do.  But, we, as a species, seem to have a somewhat twisted relationship with our emotional side.

Disagree?  Well, then allow me to elaborate.

One of the most prevalent emotions in all of nature, regardless of species is fear.  Fear is one of the most important components in the survival of any species because fear will cause us to choose flight over fight in impossible situations.  Fear is a universal experience that all creatures have.

And yet, mankind is the only species that seeks out fear.  We revel in the shiver running down our spines, the feeling of goosebumps forming on our skin, and the quickening of our heart.  Without this love of fear directors like Wes Craven, writers like Stephen King, and anyone else who makes a living sowing seeds of fear in our willing minds would be out of a job.

We loathe the way fear makes us feel when we walk down a dark corridor, but thrill to the same effect when we have sought it out.  With fear we are a paradox.

In the case of many other “negative” emotions we don’t so much seek them out as reinforce them when they descend upon us.  When we feel anger or sadness what do we often do in response?  We “cope” with the emotional state by reinforcing it.  Anger often leads us to aggressive behavior or music and other media which has an edge of anger to it.  Sadness leads us to isolation and losing ourselves in music or objects that simply reinforce the sadness or grief.

I know I am guilty of these things.  My coping mechanisms for just about any emotional state could definitely be described as reinforcing.  I revel in the emotions when they come, even when I don’t really want to.  I cling to things that will intensify the emotions rather than salving whatever wound caused them.

So, how do you cope?  How do you react to the coming of strong “negative” emotional states?  Do you reinforce as I, and s many others do?  Or do you have a different mechanism for those darker times?

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