What Is the Mode of Operation (MO) of Emotion?

Mode of Operation

Are emotions active or passive?  Both! Sometimes emotions sweep over us and we feel happy. On the contrary, they may leave us feeling blah, with seemingly no feeling of urgency to make us do anything about our present state. Sometimes they actively boil inside us, forcefully gaining our attention and urging action. Other times, emotions happen to us, such as when we come face to face with danger or win the lottery.  And we create them when we ruminate on the injustice of a situation. We can generate emotions from within us, as when an actor enters the emotional state of a character in a play. So, there is no one answer or no singularity in an emotion’s mode of operation.

Is Emotions’ Mode of Operation to Create or Be Created?

Emotions create thoughts and sometimes thoughts create emotions. Anything can be the source of an emotion. When we daydream or imagine things, we can create any emotion we want. The INF, who recharges from the inside, often resorts to imagination to flood a drained spirit with hope and to encourage happy feelings. For the NF, these emotions that power their imagination (a well-known strength of NFs) do their job very effectively. Again, we are facing the complexity of our emotional life.

The Value of  Emotion’s Creativity

It had been a long disappointing day and Jacqueline was feeling down, “really depressed,” she would have said. The 50-minute trip home provided time for a dream while she drove down a quiet country road. She dreamed of being successful, of becoming the best salesperson in the town — no, in the state or, better still, the country. She imagined being flown to headquarters for her reward and proudly accepting the honor along with a spectacular banquet to cap off a night of significance.  And all this, replete with her emotions living out the dream.

It was, to her, a totally unrealistic dream, but the emotions that were produced in her were not. They were what she needed: real and creating excitement along with a few tears.  And she felt her depression moderate. Her newfound feeling of worth helped her walk into her home and report an unsuccessful day without being drenched in the despair of failure.

These were emotions that supported the use of her strong imagination and refreshed her, emotions she had generated for that very purpose. Generating pleasurable, active emotions can always be an NF’s refreshment. But when we combine these self-generated emotions with our strengths, we actually develop our strengths. Our minds think we have used our strengths when we only used our imaginations.  And using our strengths develops them. It may be hard to swallow, but we can develop our strengths this way and fuel our motivation even while we lie in bed.

Emotion’s Mode of Operation Help Us Experience the Emotions of Others

Another person’s emotions can become ours, as in empathy when it actively stirs the same feelings in us. Whether the emotions of the other person passively plant themselves in us or we create them ourselves is of academic interest.

Another example of someone else’s emotions becoming ours is the meeting of minds in social exchange where the feelings of one person change the feelings of the other. Emotions limit themselves to no known boundaries.  And often, as in empathy or social bonding, they surprise us.


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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