ehowton (ehowton) wrote,

Emotions: Depth versus Breadth

Yes, I was wrong. Very exciting to be wrong because now I know more. I'm smarter for having been wrong. I am wiser for having been wrong, and I can better understand the world around me for having been wrong. What was it I was wrong about? That Black & White (B&W) thinkers feel much more deeply than we do. The fact that (to date) two B&W thinkers have told me this mattered not - they were not speaking from a platform of authority, and their statements predisposed they were aware of my own depth of feeling; something they surely could not have known. So flushing the soft-science of psychology into the abyss for a moment, brain scans are tangible things; concrete - stark enough even for the most B&W thinker to see.

Once I put together that those who see things as WIN/LOSS were B&W thinkers, I began to better understand how harmful RIGHT/WRONG and GOOD/BAD false dichotomy actually were - because I have been asked. "Just because it doesn't work for someone else doesn't mean it doesn't work for me." It took me awhile to unravel this misconception, and then I remembered something Tony Robbins said:

There are 6,000 emotions that we all have words for in the English language...if I have 20,000 people or 1,000, and I have them write down all the emotions that they experience in an average week, and I gave them as long as they needed, and on one side they write empowering emotions, the other's disempowering -- guess how many emotions people experience? Less than 12. And half of those make them feel like shit.

So if most us experience life like this:

Then those B&W thinkers, while they do feel more deeply, because they only feel emotions which are EITHER/OR (closer to what I call the "core" emotions, those without rippling shades of grey, or in this interpretation, "breadth") potentially experience life like this:

And according to Tony Robbins, this is being generous. If "most of us" i.e. those of us who are not B&W thinkers have "less than 12. And half of those make them feel like shit" then I would have to make the leap that B&W thinkers only experienced 6, half of which make them feel like shit. So when dealing with abstract or complex emotions with someone who generally feels (very strongly) only three positive and three negative emotions....I predict conflict. Surrounding almost everything.

Its not that B&W thinkers want to be angry - they don't - but if an emotion can only be "good" or "bad" and something more complex like say, "anticipation" or "trust" shows up - because those are grayish-area emotions, and not readily identified by the B&W thinker as such, depending upon the situation you can see from the graphic how those will either manifest as joy, or anger, or fear. Black and white thinking.

Feeling fewer emotions more deeply does not appear to be as sustainable as feeling more emotions, less deeply. Why? Because as we learned, when B&W thinkers feel "more deeply" than we do, it eclipses their logical side for balanced decision making and rationality. While some of us may show a tendency toward either logic or emotion over the other, we do employ both. B&W thinkers apparently, do not.

That's why its harmful. To put it in black and white terms, its the wrong emotion, and too much of it, too often. In our example, anticipation leads to interest and potentially optimism, and trust to acceptance and possibly love, and those are things the world needs much more of, not less.
Tags: psychology

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