The Value of Emotions

Have you ever found yourself questioning, “why do I feel this way?” Wondering if there is something
wrong with you for often feeling emotions like sadness or anger? Many people have preconceived
notions on which emotions are acceptable to feel and which aren’t. So what is the reality? Is there value in emotions? There are many different theories on emotions, but most people tend to agree that there are universal basic
emotions. One of these generally accepted theories outlines that there are 9 basic emotions.

Basic Emotions

1. Love
2. Joy
3. Curiosity
4. Anger
5. Fear
6. Sadness
7. Guilt
8. Shock
9. Disgust

The Value of Emotions

As mentioned in the previous article on feeling our feelings, our emotions can provide us with valuable
information about our lived experience. We can be expected to experience multiple emotions throughout
any given day, and even multiple emotions at the same time. It is possible to feel both love and sadness,
both anger and guilt, and the presence of one emotion does not negate the existence of the other. The
ability to feel emotions can help us to navigate decisions in our lives by providing us with information on
what we truly care about. They can give us a clue as to which emotional needs are being ignored and
which ones need to be fulfilled. They can signal to us that there might be a gap between the reality we
desire and the reality we have, and motivate us to act to change this.
Emotions can be based on many different factors, such as environment, thoughts, and sensations. There
are primary emotions, which are much like the list we outlined earlier, and then there are secondary or
meta-emotions, which are emotions about our emotions. For example, say you are feeling sadness over
an ex relationship that recently ended, and you begin to feel frustrated because you are still feeling
sadness.
There are many ways to become more emotionally intelligent, which can be hugely beneficial to us in our
lives. Learning to expand our awareness and vocabulary of emotions can help us to identify and make
room for emotions when they show up. We can acquire the skill of noticing and accepting emotions as
they come. This can help us to become more aware of ourselves and make changes when needed to
enrich our lives.

Expectations

Take another look at these 9 basic emotions. One thing you will notice is that most of these 9 basic
emotions are not ones that are generally considered to be positive. In our society, there can be an
expectation of constant happiness, which is both unattainable and unsustainable. This is portrayed
through perfectly curated instagram feeds, ads, and other forms of social pressure. However, we as
humans are meant to feel the full breadth of emotions, and to expect a constant state of joy or happiness
from ourselves is to set ourselves up for disappointment. Of course, joy should be something that you
experience in your life, even often, but to ignore all of the other emotional experiences is doing ourselves
a disservice. It is normal to feel what you are feeling, but if you find yourself struggling to cope with your
emotions, please feel free to reach out to one of our counselors for additional support. Give us a call at 832-352-1600 or contact us through our website at txharmonycounseling.com/contact-us.

Priscilla Buentello, LPC Associate

Priscilla Buentello, LPC Associate

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