... are our body's mechanism for giving us feedback about a particular stimulus as it relates to our values.
They key to the whole thing is not the emotion (end result) but rather our values (first input).
If I told you that somebody died, you might have a minor emotion, but nothing much because you don't know who it is or what the circumstances. If I told you it was Hitler, you probably would feel the emotion of joy because your value tells you that it is a positive thing that he died. But if I told you the person who died was someone very close to you in your life who you value, then your emotion would be quite the opposite because you value having them in your life. It's the same stimulus: you are told somebody died. But the emotional output is very different because the underlying value you hold, upon which the emotion is based, is very different.
The next time you feel an emotion, especially a negative one like anger or fear, think about what the stimulus is that triggered that emotion. Was it an internal thought you had? Was it something external to you like something someone said or something you read? And then think about that stimulus and what value you hold that would make you feel the end result emotion. Once you do that, then think about whether or not the value you hold is proper -- is it a value that you really should hold, or are you possibly in error regarding that value? You will be amazed at how this allows you to work through things in your life when you feel negative emotions.
Positive emotions, we don't tend to analyze them so much because we like feeling them. Love is one of those positive emotions we feel because we value the person or thing that is stimulating that emotion. Maybe the next step would be to analyze what we like so much -- what we value so much -- about that person or thing. This will give us a deeper understanding of why we love what we do.
All emotions begin with our values. If we want to change our emotions, or understand them, we have to understand our values, and in some cases, change our values.
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