“Human emotions are just like mixed drinks; creating confusion and complexity” – The Floating World
Someone recently mentioned to me in one of our conversations that human emotions are complicated because they are always changing. Is it really so or do we make them complicated? People change, situations change, times change and so do our emotions. The person we used to love or admire suddenly becomes an object of hatred or jealousy on another day, someone whom we didn’t really look up to becomes a lifetime friend, someone without whom we couldn’t imagine our lives till yesterday is suddenly a stranger to us. There can be many such examples or instances that can be thought about if one looks back at their lives.
But what exactly does affect our emotions towards different people or certain circumstances? Let’s dig a little deeper. What exactly are emotions and how are human emotions different? Emotion, as per the oxford dictionary, is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure. Human emotions can be brought about by anything which triggers mental activity and this mental activity translates into creation of our thoughts. Any action, any behavior, any personality trait or just anything can lead to thoughts or ideas or opinions. In fact sometimes, thoughts have no basis but are constantly driving our emotions. Quite strangely, at times, we imbibe the thoughts of people around us. For example, if you have a friend who dislikes a certain person for no apparent reason, we will also start disliking that person unconsciously without really knowing why. We form our emotions based on our thought patterns associated with that person, situation or thing. Now the funny part is, thoughts don’t really matter much unless they are constantly conditioned by our mind. And mind conditioning can be a result of what we are taught about since childhood, or what we or the people around us believe in, based on their own experiences.
There is actually a mind game, that i believe goes on, in terms of our thoughts, at a subconscious level. Whenever we come across a situation or people displaying certain characteristics, our mind tries to draw parallels to find similar associated thought patterns, based on the conditioning it has received. And without realizing much, we come to form our own opinions or judgments which are often biased due to this mind game. Sometimes, they are right and at other times they are contradictory. It takes time for human mind to process the contradictory information. With time, we might change our thoughts about it and in turn our emotions, based on our new interactions and experiences. Even then, these emotions are not constant. We tend to go back to our original emotions, original thoughts. As an example, if there is a certain person who had originally come across as a greedy and rude person based on his/her personality characteristics but then does something contradictory for you, say, helps you in a certain way. In this situation, our mind will try to question its existing beliefs and our emotions might change towards this person for sometime. But even with a slightest change in his behavior, we are bound to oscillate back to our original thinking, of him/her being a rude/greedy person. Similar is the case in the opposite scenarios, especially in love relationships. When we make up our mind for some person based on whatever personality or behavioral traits he/she displayed originally, it becomes difficult for human minds to process their indifferent behavior. We try to rationalize our original thinking in thousands of ways and at times, even ignore what can be seen clearly. One of the main reasons why many of us tend to remain in abusive relationships. We are constantly trying to stick to our original thought patterns, we are waiting for those people to show their original behaviors which we thought to be true. We believe that they will change because in reality, we don’t want to change, we don’t want to change our beliefs, our judgments, our thought patterns. And in all of this, our emotions go on a roller coaster ride.
Our mind likes to form opinions and come to conclusions. It likes certainty and due to this, we often make judgments about people or situations before hand. Most of us suffer emotionally because we are oscillating between our thought patterns, struggling to rationalize them, and trying to make sense of what is true and what is not. We think that people have changed, but maybe they were always like that. It was us who thought of them as someone different. We think situations/circumstances have changed. But maybe, they were always like that, it was us who interpreted the situations differently. We fail to understand this, because all of this is happening, NOT at a conscious level but deeper within us. One and only one thing – Awareness, can help us control our emotions. But how many of us are willing to go deeper within to uncover our existing thought patterns, find flaws in our existing mind conditioning and most importantly, set aside our own egos and CHANGE!!!!!