Natural Vs. Manufactured Emotions

We all have emotions. Some of us feel emotions at a higher intensity or frequency but we all experience human emotion on a daily basis.  Most people don’t realize that there are two main categories of emotions: Natural Emotions and Manufactured Emotions

            Natural emotions are hard-wired, common, biologically driven emotions.  These emotions are those that come automatically, such as sadness, when a loved one passes away or lust when we see someone attractive.  Natural emotions need to be felt, run their course, and acknowledged.  They are like a fire, they burn strong and bright for a bit but without logs or lighter fluid, will eventually die down.  They will dissolve on their own when felt.

            On the other hand, Manufactured emotions are emotions that are not hard-wired, biologically driven, or automatic.  They are created as a result of our thinking or how we view the world.  These emotions are like lighter fluid or logs, keeping the natural emotion burning.  For example, the sadness that you felt when your mother passed away- that’s natural.  The guilt and self-blame you feel as a result of not taking care of her well enough, or not building a stronger relationship with her before she died, those are manufactured emotions as a result of your thinking and what you are telling yourself about the situation. 

            As you can probably guess, the manufactured emotions keep the fire burning, keeps your anger bubbling, and keeps your sadness simmering.  When we work through our thoughts, and allow ourselves to truly feel the natural emotions, we will quit squirting lighter fluid on the natural emotions and allow ourselves to heal.

Kimberly Presley, MSW, LCSW

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