For some, to think clearly when they are emotionally stirred is a major concern, so we need to try to understand the issue better. They (the NT, in particular) have become convinced that emotions cloud their thinking. And they have made a correct observation. The solid evidence that emotions can impair our thinking is in our experiences. Therefore, with this irrefutable evidence, these people reject all emotion as damaging to crystal clear thinking. However, we must not identify what can happen with what always happens.
Clarity From Emotion
Emotions can cloud our thinking. But they can also clarify our thinking. Anxiety, for example, can carry our mind into a very dense fog. However, anxiety is also a heightened form of alertness. We need a certain amount of pure mental alertness to be able to think clearly, coherently, and lucidly.
This alertness we experience when thinking clearly is a form of attentiveness that needs an element of emotion to drive it. The emotion is found in the reason we are paying attention. The right amount of alertness — not too little and not too much — will enable us to evaluate our emotions about the facts we are considering and make a sound judgment. So, emotion can both cloud and clarify our thinking.
When Emotion Clouds Our Minds
We know only too well how too much emotional alertness creates a hyper sensitivity and clouds our minds. If anxiety develops into fear, it demands our full attention and full blown panic can result.
Fear can also play two roles. It can paralyze our minds or empower our minds to think with precision. How often have we felt a surge of fear accompanied by an accurate assessment of what we needed to do immediately? Both an emotion and, as a result of the emotion, a clarity of thinking has occurred spontaneously. A powerful, captivating emotion has “thought” emotionally and with clarity.
Hopelessness, on the other hand, performs one role, demotivating us so that we can’t seem to bring ourselves to face the task of thinking at all. Emotions clearly have their role in creating both fog and clarity in thinking. So, if we want to be intelligently emotional, we cannot accept the maxim that emotions only cloud our thinking and only reason clarifies it. As I have been arguing, both emotion and reason together are the mental tools to create clarity and power in our thinking.
Are Positive Emotions the Key to Clear Thinking?
What about positive versus negative emotions? Love is a positive emotion. But we all know that love can be both blind and very insightful. Positive emotions can jam the mental communications or illuminate them. Fear is generally regarded as a negative emotion. But as a motivator it can contain great wisdom. There is no rule that says positive emotions always contribute to clear thinking. They don’t. Neither do negative emotions always contribute to fogged thinking. Positive emotions usually help and negative ones usually hurt. But that’s as far as we can go. Again, clear thinking is a matter of using both emotion and reason and evaluating their contributions to the argument.
The Purpose of Our Thinking Contains the Emotion
The real truth is, we don’t think without emotion. The very desire to think through a problem is a motivating emotion. We think with a purpose, and the purpose contains an emotion of some sort. We include reason in our thinking for the obvious benefits reason can offer.
My 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.
Lean into the whole truth. Discover the truth of who YOU are — the “Real You” — and who your children truly are. Discover how to best engage your children in finding the whole truth. INNERKINETICS, Your Blueprint to Excellence and Happiness, is a great resource.
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