The distinction between natural emotions and what I call “drama-based emotions” or “emotional drama” (from the word drama – a play) is the key to peace of mind, emotional stability, and happiness.
The emotional system is a sensory feedback mechanism that allows us, through the feelings that arise within us, to make beneficial choices and communicate effectively with others, just as physical sensations such as heat, cold, hunger, and satiety do.
The emotional spectrum contains a range of emotions; those perceived as positive and those perceived as negative. All are natural and all have a role.
Drama-based emotions, unlike natural emotions, are not a direct response to circumstances but the result of a sad story that we build around them. The focus of the sad story is the self—its pain and satisfaction. The drama is enhanced by a dramatic interpretation added to the facts, appropriate intonation, and meaningful facial expressions.
This is the exact same drama on which the most successful soap operas are based.
The following table emphasizes the differences between natural emotions (presented first in each pair of cells on a gray background) and their drama-based counterparts.
|Fear is an instinctive reaction intended to maintain caution and keep the body alive.|
|Anxiety is a fruit of a sad and frightening scenario about future events that may never happen, or disproportionate reaction to a current event.|
|Envy is the feeling that lets us know what attracts us and what do we want for ourselves.|
|Jealousy is driven by the belief that another person’s achievements are at my expense; that he or she will succeed more than I and make me feel inferior, or win something I own or desire.|
|When we fail at something or don’t achieve what we want, it’s only natural to feel disappointment.|
|When thought interferes, we blame ourselves or lay the blame on the person whom we hold accountable for our disappointment, and as a result, we feel bitterness and remorse.|
|Anger is an essential alert mechanism that notifies us when we hurt ourselves, when someone else hurts us, or when the current circumstances no longer suit us and require a change.|
|Resentment, hatred, and grudges are thought creatures that add a story to the feeling of anger. The essence of the story is that someone else should (and could) have behaved differently and therefore he or she is to blame. The story, which can be maintained for a lifetime, keeps the anger alive and amplifies it dozens of times. Hatred may be the result of unrequited love—we use it to mentally avenge those who denied us their love and humiliated us.|
|Feeling hurt is a natural reaction to an emotional hit, the same way pain is to a physical one. Nevertheless, most people are swift to deny being hurt, as they perceive it as a shameful weakness.|
|Rage, resentment, and hatred mask hurt feelings, but unless we acknowledge the true feelings that lie beneath them, the pain will not dissolve.|
|Sadness and grief are natural reactions to events such as death, a breakup, or the end of a significant period in our lives.|
|In self-pity, the feeling of sadness is fueled by a sad story about what we believe we were owed and denied, by resentful thoughts about those whom we hold responsible for our life circumstances, by scary tales about the dark future that awaits us, and by inner resistance to what is.|
|Love is a powerful emotion—the essence of creation—that exists beyond needs and expectations.|
|Obsessive love (mainly romantic) is a sort of addiction developed around a good feeling provided by another person’s admiration, and therefore, it easily causes huge emotional pain and drastic reactions when we dread losing it.|
|It’s only natural that in certain situations or in front of new people we feel discomfort and find it hard to fully express ourselves.|
|Fear of rejection and failure (which some are quick to call social anxiety disorder) contains a strong motive of a self who judges him- or herself through the eyes of others and dreads judgment, rejection, and failure. “How will I look?” “What will people think of me?” “What if I am criticized or rejected?”|
|Natural guilt is an essential guiding mechanism that directs us to treat our fellow human beings, the earth, and all living things with consideration and respect.|
|Self-blame serves as a conceptual repair mechanism that says, “Though I did wrong, at least I’m aware of it and angry with myself for it.” Often the expressed regret aims to show the distress of the offender and to push the one who feels hurt to forgive him or her.
Inducing a guilt trip in another person is a way to manipulate him or her into doing what we want by causing feelings of guilt or fear of a possible unwanted outcome.
|Compassion is the ability to feel and deeply care about another person’s pain, without identifying with him or her.|
|Pity has two aspects; one is the result of over-identification with another person’s pain based on the thought of what we would have felt in his or her place. The other is a self-enhancement mechanism in which the so-called sympathy is intended to belittle the other person.|
|Joy and happiness are delightful feelings that arise when listening to a loved song, achieving something we wanted, expecting a desired event, spending time with the people we love, fully expressing ourselves, being acknowledged by others, or for no specific reason.|
|Craving for excitement is the need to be constantly occupied with something that will save us from the emptiness within us. It has an addictive, fear-based, quality, as when the exciting event is over we are doomed to go back to the unwanted routine of our lives.|
|Feelings of aversion or repulsion may sometimes arise in response to someone’s energy.|
|Contempt satisfies the desire for superiority by demeaning another person, which can go as far as overlooking his or her humanity.|
Natural emotions, when we don’t resist them, evaporate in time and leave no residue.
The identification with the sad story built around the circumstances keeps the drama-based emotions alive for a very long time, sometimes for a lifetime, and leaves behind a residue of emotional pain that permeates every aspect of our lives.
Emotional drama creates emotional chaos; it drives uncontrollable and obsessive behavior, creates stress and desperate pain, and as long as the need to alleviate the pain is burning, we find it hard to behave in a manner that supports our true goals and to respect the wishes and needs of others.
Crying, like any emotional reaction, might be an expression of natural or drama-based emotions. Crying that feeds off emotional drama may provide momentary relief, but at the same time its expression enhances the identification with the sad story that triggered it.
The story—about how we’ve been wronged, our bad luck, and our hopeless future—which we express aloud or run in our heads, can make the crying go on for hours and days.
Young children learn quickly to use dramatic crying to achieve what they want, and the parents who are swift to surrender to the pitiful and deafening screams teach them that it pays. Sometimes, however, a child’s crying that seems disproportionate to the situation may be an expression of pain that has accumulated due to the atmosphere at home and the attitude toward him or her.
When the drama subsides crying might still appear as a reaction to an event such as grieving or a breakup, when we feel emotional, when compassion arises, or when we express suppressed pain. It will be quiet and fairly short, sometimes only tears filling the eyes.
The energetic frequency created by emotional drama may be called “negativity.” It doesn’t mean that the person expressing it is inherently negative, but that by building and expressing it, emotional drama creates dense and painful energy within him. This energy affects his health, the way he experiences the world, and the nature of the people and events that come into his (or her) life.
~ from the book “100% Choice – Becoming a conscious creator of your life“.