Couples Counseling Articles

Rational Or Emotional?

Happy Couple on Bike

Maybe it’s because there’s no way to go through life without experiencing hurtful and confusing situations…we humans tend to categorize ourselves as EITHER rational and composed OR emotional and erratic.

The truth is more nuanced than that and, although it’s easy to miss, each of us is a seamless blend of both reason AND emotion.

Emotions play a pivotal role in shaping every aspect of our identity. They influence our preferences for:

  • mating,
  • friendships,
  • food,
  • work and
  • enjoyment.

Emotions fuel our aspirations, hopes and dreams.

Then, at lightening speed, our rational brain processes the emotions and prompts us to navigate through endless decision trees based on constant input:

  • Yes or No?
  • Juice or Water?
  • Chicken or Fish?
  • ESPN or Netflix?
  • Work or Play?

Within our relationships, emotions function like algorithms, setting in motion a cycle that can lift us up or take us down.

That’s why it’s important to cultivate a relationship with our emotions…especially the challenging ones.

It’s helpful to understand them…work with them.

At times, emotions get entangled and lock us into self defeating patterns.

They can surge to the surface and erupt in ways we are not proud of.

In everyday life, the temptation to avoid our painful emotions can take us over.

We might resort to dumping them onto someone else or pushing them away… hoping they’ll quiet down or disappear entirely.

They don’t. They go underground and linger just beneath the surface.

We cannot escape emotions. They are an intrinsic part of who we are.

It’s difficult…but infinitely more rewarding…to make friends with emotions as part of our daily journey.

We can repress them or learn to metabolize them.

We can conceal them or craft them.

When we step back, observe and and see our emotions clearly, we can empower ourselves by following them. Yes, literally…following them.

We can wrap language around them.

If we understand them, we can skillfully use our emotions, harness their potential with non-violent language and share them with people we love.

Then, if we want to, we can set down the heavy burden…

and let them go.