The answer to the question in the title is “emphatically yes”. Let’s see why.
Let’s try to go back in time and visualize ourselves at school, where we were told that the human being is the “only rational animal”, indicating that we are at the highest point of the evolutionary scale. Why, because we have consciousness and a cerebral cortex exclusive to people that allows us to think.
Yes, all this is true: our cortex or cerebral cortex, which is characteristic of the human being, is what allows us to analyze, plan, deduce, anticipate and, definitively, have intellectual capacities that have brought us, evolutionarily speaking, to where we are today.
But… what about the other word that defines our species: “animal”? Indeed: whether we like it or not, we are animals, specifically mammals and, more specifically, those mammals whose young need more care, protection and time to develop into adulthood.
And is here where we find our emotional component , to which apparently we don’t give much importance: “This thing about emotions is a matter for psychologists!” And we also hear things like… “This emotional thing is a woman’s thing!” And what about the terrible “norm” of “men don’t cry”?
But we say apparently because there are professions ( Marketing, Advertising or Sales) in which human emotions are known extraordinarily well and we study what mechanisms move us in our most daily life, to use them and sell us what they touch in those moments: a car brand, a trip, a clothing brand, a mobile phone… a specific lifestyle and even some values and vital priorities.
We underestimate the emotional
This reflection on the great weight that the emotional component has on human beings is not exaggerated . It is true that in our westernised society (ours, where we live and, therefore, that which influences us daily) they are not spoken of much, at least not in a manifest way. Thus, it seems that, although in some environments, situations, gatherings and media they can be the object of attention, we have to recognize that normally they are not considered either as indispensable for life or as important.
What are the consequences of this distancing, this “not paying attention” to our emotional aspect? Let’s see:
By not talking about them (as if they didn’t exist or were not so important) it is difficult to attend to them and, therefore, to be aware that we experience them.
By not attending to them, it is even more difficult to identify them, to give them a name when we experience them.
As we don’t identify them we can’t understand them nor, of course, manage or channel them.
And, therefore, when they become intense (or directly annoying, even disabling), it is really difficult to “live them” .
And, now we have the blockage, anxiety, discomfort or suffering more or less intense on a psychological level…
The importance of emotions
Of course it is not necessary to go into extreme discomfort or psychological disorders to show the importance of our emotional life . In fact, we only need to review our day-to-day life, what is happening to us right now, to realize how much our emotional state weighs on us in order to “value” it as something good or bad, which causes us discomfort or well-being (to a greater or lesser extent, of course).
I don’t know how to tell my boss… I keep thinking about it and it gets on my nerves”; “I’m nervous about going to my parents’ house for lunch and I don’t know what’s going on, because they’re so nice to me…”I don’t feel like going with Sara, but I can’t do anything else, because it would be very bad for her if I didn’t go”; “I’m upset with Pablo but I don’t even know what’s wrong with him”; “Everyone tells me that I have everything and I feel a kind of dissatisfaction
The emotions we experience in those moments have a determining influence on the positive or negative evaluation of the fact or situation in which we are involved , giving it a greater or lesser degree of severity . And, of course, emotions influence a very high percentage (without wanting to put a number, but let’s say more, much more than 50%…) in the way of solving these problems, of responding to them.
In short, emotion is an inevitable human component or dimension, fortunately , without which we could not react to any event in daily life. Hence the extraordinary importance of caring for it so that it accompanies us in our favour and does not go against us.
With what we’ve seen, it’s already proven that we’re emotional beings. Now what? Without pretending to offer a manual on emotional management, and being very simplistic, I would like to make some recommendations:
1. Identify what is happening
At the moment one, as soon as you start to feel a certain discomfort, a certain feeling of displeasure, stop for a second to try to identify what it is that you are feeling : Is it anger, is it annoyance, is it discomfort, is it grief,…are they all together?
2. Take your time
Wait to do or say anything! Hold on, don’t react immediately to whatever has caused you to feel that (I know it’s hard…).
3. Try to find out what has bothered you
Did it hurt because you interpret it as a lack of respect? Do you think there’s no solution to what you’ve been asked? Do you consider it an irretrievable loss? There are thousands of reasons, as many as there are people… Depending on what you have found, you can work out an answer that is adaptable to the situation you have experienced.
Looks easy, doesn’t it? Well, not really, it’s not. We are used to reacting immediately to what happens to us, because, from everything we have seen before, we neither realize what we are experiencing nor, much less, know how to handle it… Hence the importance of seeking help to learn how to direct our emotional world so that it is not this one that governs us.
Let’s take care of our emotions. How? By identifying them, welcoming them (they are all functional, you just have to know how to deal with them), making friends with them and, either through contact with people who have gone through similar experiences, through psychological advice, courses on emotional or personal development, literature or, if necessary, psychological therapy, let’s channel and manage that fundamental component of our being that makes it easier for us to live.