What Is REAL Emotion?

by Mark Ivar Myhre on October 7, 2007

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Are you feeling real emotion? Or is it just a fabrication? Here’s how to find out…

Just because you’re feeling something, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s a ‘real’ emotion.

Because so much of what we feel is a ‘mental construct’ of our own making.

In other words, it’s a fabrication; an artificial emotion.

Why would we do such a thing?

Many reasons. Basically, we’ve learned that we can and should not feel our feelings cleanly. We learn that we can manipulate our feelings. And in fact, we are strongly encouraged to manipulate our feelings.



For example, rather than hearing from our parents:

“Don’t you manipulate me by manipulating your feelings!”

Instead the message becomes abbreviated to:

“Don’t you cry!”

Of course it’s not just parents. Everywhere you look, you’re given the message to NOT feel. And if you must – go off somewhere and do it alone. And even then, don’t go too deep into your feelings!

Make it quick and shallow and get back to work.

Well, if you were truly in touch with your REAL emotions, you could make it quick and deep and get back to work.

Here’s the problem:

So often we think what we’re feeling IS true emotion, when it’s not.

When you feel real emotion, it usually lasts only a few seconds. Or a few minutes at most. You feel the complexity of it – like eating a delicious gourmet meal.



You FEEL the COMPLEXITY of it – then it’s gone – and you are left invigorated. No matter what the emotion is: love, anger, hate, fear, hurt, happiness…

Now it’s true: if you feel your happiness – and it releases – there may be more happiness right behind it. So it seems like it’s not releasing. When really, it’s simply flowing. Same with love.

Even anger, when cleanly felt – fully and joyously – may have more anger behind it. (If you’re not enjoying your anger, then most likely what you’re feeling is righteous anger – which is painful. And not real anger.)

You see, there’s ALWAYS a flow of thoughts and feelings flowing into you. So you’re always feeling something.

The problem is, we so often try to shut off that flow of feelings. (As well as blunting the flow of thoughts – so we end up thinking the same thoughts over and over again. But that’s a different story.)

What happens when we try to shut off our feelings? Many things. Many problems. Nothing good comes from manipulating our feelings. Here’s one example:

How do you tell the difference between real anger and righteous anger?

With real anger, you feel it all through your body. It almost tingles. It invigorates you. You feel a sense of DEEPNESS (that’s hard to put into words.)

And you’re soon over it. And you feel more alive. You almost seem smarter. Again, it’s hard to put into words.

You can even be left with a sense of gratitude:

“Wow – that felt great! Thanks…”

If I had to sum it up: real emotion is like going for a roller coaster ride.

Now compare that to righteous anger; which means ‘anger you believe you have the RIGHT to feel – because it’s caused by an outside influence’. In other words, you honestly believe someone or something outside yourself actually created YOUR anger.



To feel righteous about your anger – you’re taking a little bit of real anger and putting it onto a treadmill or a hamster wheel or however you wish to visualize it. That treadmill is your ‘mental construct’.

Rather than feeling it and being done with it – you must keep the story alive of how ‘they’ did it to you. So it goes on and on and on and never ends. That’s painful! And exhausting. And a tremendous waste of energy.

It creates powerlessness. Because I don’t have my power. I’ve given it to the ‘offender’. Or rather, I lay my power at their feet. Since someone else ‘created’ your anger, you’re forced to believe only they can take it away. Which of course is impossible.

With real emotion there is no story; no explanation; no rationalization. It’s just me feeling my feelings.

With artificial emotion, I take my feelings – whatever they may be – and build something out of them that isn’t even true. Because NO ONE CAN EVER MAKE YOU FEEL ANYTHING.

Childhood shame is the closest exception to that statement. But you’re not a child.

With real emotion – you’re going for a short exhilarating ride on a roller coaster.

With fabricated emotion – you’re sitting underneath the metal structure – in the dirt and the grease – looking at the rust and the rivets – and saying:

“I know what roller coasters are!”

But you never ride one.

all the best,

Mark

Mark Ivar Myhre
The Emotional Healing Coach
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