Emotions Can Last a Lifetime

Emotions Can Last

Neuroscience has attracted a great deal of attention over the last two decades.  When examining emotion, it focuses more on the short-term emotional event in the brain, tracing the neural pathways rather than the long-term or lifelong results. However, we should not see emotional events as only a fleeting episode. In fact, emotions can last a long time.  When they do, they transform into moods and attitudes that may become part of a person’s permanent lifestyle.  When this happens, they may create, for example, a perfectionist or pessimist. Emotions may also last for only a few days or hours.  But they may affect all other emotions and events during those days and hours, creating changes that come and go, permanently transforming our lives in moments. The complexity of emotional life is staggering when we conceive of it in its total effect on our lives in addition to our bodies. Neuroscience and its focus on the brain can be too simplistic and selective in its pronouncements concerning our emotions.  Since emotions can last a lifetime, shouldn’t we be sure we understand them?

Emotions Are a Life Event

Emotions are not simply a brain event.  They are a life event, recording how we see and react to all occasions, things, and life forms around us and in us. They redirect our purposes in life, our relationships, beliefs, values.  And to a large extent, they control our focus. What don’t they control or affect? The study of emotion is not the territory of neuroscience alone but of all disciplines, not the least of which are psychology, philosophy, and theology. Study of emotion includes the personal understanding of life in all of its interactions with the world in which we live, and with how we are made and understand ourselves.

Colin’s problem:

“But I just feel that way,” Colin complained to me after he revealed that this had been going on for some time. “How can I change feeling this way after he took advantage of me?” A friend had treated Colin badly.  And this was not the first time he had felt the unfairness and the disloyalty of those he had trusted. The emotion of hurt had taken up permanent residence in his mind and he could not even comprehend feeling any other way. Moods, attitudes, and grudges are unwelcome tenants that try all the tricks to avoid eviction. When they stick around for some time, they feel so normal they fool us into thinking they are natural ways all humans feel. THat is what had happened to Colin. “I am no fool,” this NT reminded me.  “And it makes no sense to trust people,” he asserted with an emotional display that was quite unlike an NT.

Colin’s solution:

Colin had to see that it was he who was causing the longevity of this unwelcome feeling, not the hurtful emotion that had set in and seemed natural.  Nor was it caused by those that had betrayed his trust. Another option (a possibility with promise) included exchanging his grudge for a healthy attitude that could dislodge the feeling of hurt and calm his bitter anxiety. When negative emotions hang around, we must not remain the same.  We must act to change them or suffer their consequences.

All Emotions Can Live Long Lives

All emotions can live long lives. Love, grief, hate, and anger are well-known examples. When destructive emotions do remain, we lose our freedom to be who we are and to live rewarding lives. When uplifting emotions — like love — remain for a long time, we become more loving and kind.

There Is Danger in Some Emotions Having Long Lives

Biases and bigotry can also have lasting effect on the formation of our values. They can actually become our values. Once formed, the emotional content of these values are hard to eradicate. Seeing an undesirable emotion in our child as only a passing phase can be a mistake in judgment of larger proportions than we imagine. Helping the child change the emotion — not just the actions — is the only way to effect lasting change.  And no one can do that for them.  They must face the fight themselves. A caution for the parent: Don’t become an inveterate investigator of your child or the negativity that surrounds your parenting will become a problem of its own. More positive methods are needed.

Positive Emotions Can Also Be Long Lived

Positive feelings can be permanent too.  And their persistent replay molds our behavior and flavors our minds. Therefore, identify the emotions you want to characterize your life.  Then use their cling and tenacity to build the future you want to live in.


Intelligently Emotional Book CoverMy hope is that this book will lead you, as its content has led many others, to be intelligently emotional. If it helps you to develop the intelligent use of your emotions and a rewarding lifestyle, my labor will not have been in vain.  You can access it HERE.  If you are subscribed to our weekly updates, our next issue will provide a link to purchase it with a 15% discount and free shipping.




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