Reason and Emotion

Reason and Emotion

I’m a reasonable and an emotional person, like most people, and it’s taken me four decades to finally look at myself in that way and start to see my reasoning and emotions in a more objective way, to try and detach myself from the processes of my mind and my heart and balance the two. It took meeting certain people, being with them, and learning from them to get to that point, but I had to see for myself the benefits and drawbacks of emotion warring with reason, and vice versa.

My first lessons were long and arduous because I didn’t understand at the time that I was supposed to learn from these lessons and then move on. At times, my emotions would be stronger, so they would overrule my reason time and again, and when I knew that a situation wasn’t right, I accepted it anyway because it felt fine. Other times, my reason would be stronger, so even if something felt a little off to me, the way your gut warns you when something is wrong, I talked myself out of feeling that way and found myself feeling hoodwinked.

So I lived a lot of my life with the two duking it out and me favoring one over the other, depending on the situation. It meant being conflicted about a lot of what was important to me in my career, my love life, my family, my friendships, the way I chose to spend my time. And there were people in my life who were either stronger in emotion or stronger in reason, who all wanted me to process things the same way they did, even though it only made me even more conflicted — one person telling me to be practical, almost exclusively to everything else, and another person telling me to follow my dreams, ignoring certain brutal realities.

It’s only recently, after being shaken up with change and turmoil, that I’ve come to realize that I have to step back and look at both my reasoning and emotions to weigh them, compare them, and see how I can reconcile them … because ultimately, the best path is the one that pleases them both. So now, if I am in a situation that only works for one side but not the other, I know that I’m not in the ideal situation and to keep moving, trying something different, looking for ways to change the situation, or seeking other options.

It’s not easy, though. I still have people in my life who don’t operate that way and who still want to heavily influence my decisions, regardless of how their preferences conflict with mine. My doing what I do being completely out of their control — this is more their problem than mine. That said, if they can’t accept that and want to assert their will over mine, then it starts to become my problem, too, and I have to distance myself from their reasoning and emotion so that I can deal with only mine own.

It’s inspiring, really, this ability we all have to feel, to reason, and to do both in a way that gets us on a path that’s right for us. It makes life more difficult, though, especially if certain decisions require or affect other people and their own reasoning and emotions. It makes finding the ideal that much harder, but it makes the ideal even that much more obvious, with everything just falling into place, checking off all the required items on the reasonable list and also simply feeling just right — a calm and perfect harmony of both.

But finally learning how to do this is important … because it leads to a better awareness of the process, which leads to actually using the process, not just at a critical point but also very early on. The more you use it, the earlier you use it, the more likely you avoid anything that will put the two sides in conflict, and the more time you save.

People have spent years in the wrong career or with the wrong person, feeling cheated because they didn’t listen to that one side of themselves sooner. Don’t be that person.

Listen to both.

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