Your emotions are a lie (sometimes). 40 Life Lessons I learned before I turned 40: #18

Emotions are real, but not necessarily true.

Doug Lowenberg has both a  DMin and is currently finished a PhD and teaching at a school in East Africa. He also taught many of the classes Tahnya and I took in our degree program in college. But his greatest statement to Tahnya and I was made in one brief pre-marital counseling session. The statement you see above.

What do you mean, Charles? Don’t trust you emotions?

Much has been written in the market about “Trusting your gut.” Malcolm Gladwell’s BLINK is truly insightful about trusting ourselves when we sense things about people or situations.

That’s not what I’m talking about. I’ve ruined very few relationships when I was calm. But angry, I’ve done serious damage. When I’m hurt or depressed I make bad decisions. Google the research on what happens to your thinking when your heart rate goes over 140. You can’t even think coherently. Few people get crystal clear when they are hyped up. Sure, my sarcastic ability goes into the zone when I’m angry. But how often has that improved my relationships and decisions?

Parenting brings out emotions like no other human endeavor. Teenagers will scream at their mother “I hate you!” then go on Oprah and tell of the most amazing mother. Which is true?

Emotions are real. Just not necessarily true.

The flipside is that relationships come with an ebb and flow. Denying emotions is just as dangerous. Suppressed anger becomes depression. Feelings of rejection lead to private humiliation. Telling someone not to feel is like telling Spring to not come.

The last three years, I have felt some of the most intense emotions of my life. Our son was diagnosed with a terrible genetic condition. I’ve felt despair, pain, depression, hopelessness like never before in my life. I’ve felt alone, like I “can’t do it anymore.”

Listen to your emotions. But question them. Run them by friends. Count to 10. Then wait 24 hours. Sometimes we shouldn’t rush to judgment.  Especially when the andrenal cortex is pumping.

There is real, and then there is true.






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