Emotion’s Influence: Life’s Memories and Decisions

Emotion's Influence

Emotions have purchased their own real estate in our memories. My first memories are loaded with emotion. I can remember as a child in New Zealand, when what we called the Japanese scare in World War II had forced the government to seize my father’s farm and turn it into an airport in preparation for the defense of the country. I was pre kindergarten age, but the memory of the thunderous bulldozers working all night has never left me. My head was on a pillow that shook with the pounding of the giant machines, and the feeling of fear mixed with curiosity is still a very vivid recollection. I still vaguely remember having the feeling that I wanted to go out into the dark and watch the monstrous shadows heave and roar as the earth gave way to their might.  Yet at the same time, I wanted to escape to some quiet and safe place.  Such is emotion’s influence on our lives even from our earliest years.

Emotion is the cement or glue that set memories in our lives

Why have such memories lasted and remained so vivid? Because they were packed with such strong emotions. Each memory of the ranch where we relocated is also emotionally rich and has lasted in my memory.  Most of them are pleasant.  But some, like when the neighbor shot our dog, are unsettling.

Therefore, emotion’s influence is imprinted on our past as well as our present. Emotions — not just facts — shape our past. In A Journey Through Fear to Confidence, I tell how we can rewrite these emotion-packed memories, if need be, changing fear into confidence.

Even in my childhood, I somehow knew that emotion would be a player in the greatest battles of my life. These struggles with my feelings have made me who I am, giving motivation and direction to my life. Their direction inevitably shapes us.  Emotion’s influence shapes everything about us.

Emotion’s influence is as a motivator

As we have indicated, our temperament’s drives (or strengths) only appeal to us and motivate us because of the emotions they contain. One of the NT’s drives — logic — will motivate the NT because the emotion that accompanies its use makes them feel, in a sense, superior and in control of their world. However, that same drive/strength may leave an SP in the same circumstances unmoved because it lacks a compelling, in-the-moment challenge. Logic appeals to the NT as essential simply and only because of the feelings it produces in them. Each temperament dances to its own emotive music.

Emotions shape our whole lives

We have all walked long journeys with emotion. I feel I know some of its subtleties. And although it has tested me more than I would like to remember, in moments of calm refection, I treasure how its intelligent judgments have shaped my life more than anything else.

Have I mastered emotional intelligence? No, I can’t say that I have.  And because there is still so much to learn, emotion’s influence has not completed its shaping yet either. Each new adventure into the land of feeling and emotion introduces me to yet another interpretation of its vagaries and schemes, some delightful and some still testing me to make better and wiser choices.

Our chosen response to emotion’s influence must be intelligent

I have listened to many stories.  Over most of them could be written the title “Emotion Shapes My Life.” We could also entitle them “My Choices of Emotion Have Formed My Future.” Emotion impacts us.  And then we rationalize our response — which, if unintelligent, creates a kind of internal Hell.

One couple is an example

Falling in love, they peered through their hopes and saw the possibilities of a wonderful match.  So, they married. Happiness reigned for a while.  Then they discovered that they were both sensitive.  And even though they didn’t want to, they hurt one another with their criticisms of each other’s imperfections. Strange how we don’t “get it” — that a successful marriage is, to a large degree, learning to be happy with an imperfect partner.

After the hurts, they would withdraw within hearing distance and hurl angry words at each other. The anger comforted them in a kind of distorted way. They felt secure behind their defensive accusations and their rationalizations. (As long as we feel we are right, we gain confidence and a sense of moral justification emboldens us.)

Emotion’s negative influence can be catastrophic

Soon their battles created an ugly reality: bitterness and strife bred the inevitable divisiveness. They would find ways to be apart more and more. Sleeping together only amplified the pain.  So they chose the solution of separate bedrooms. To mitigate their sorrow, drinking became the norm for both.  Then, excessive drinking until one night he came home drunk and picked a routine fight, which escalated as usual. They verbally battled, charging time and again into each other’s bedroom with another barrage of poisonous words. The wife became fearful and called the police, which led to her claiming the bruise on her leg was inflicted by her husband. He was dragged off to jail. That began a court battle.

The wife then filed for divorce, which the husband, with equal emotional heat, countered with an attempt to gain custody of their children. A bitter divorce and years of anger and hate only escalated their emotional battle.  Joint custody with the manipulation of an emotionally unstable child added to the mess of their lives. Finally, he left for another country.  But the baggage he took with him has never let him find relief.  His wife now controls him without doing anything as he nurses his bitterness each day.

Emotion’s influence requires intelligent decisions

What a catastrophe. Of course, there were more details to that story than I have told. But the reality remains the same. Emotion’s influence shapes our lives and the mess can be tragic.

We only have one life.  So, determine while walking the path to make intelligent emotional decisions.


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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