What are feelings?

One morning Chris woke up to see his mother bent over the dining room table and crying.
He asked,”What’s wrong mum?”
She replied, “Nothing, I'm fine”
Chris was confused, he could see that she was sad and something was wrong.
Soon his father walked in frowning. He pulled the chair roughly and said, “Where’s breakfast?” and “Get going Chris”.
With a wild beating heart, hot tears on his cheeks, he stumbled out of the house.
What was wrong with him? He didn’t even know why he was crying! He could hear people mock, “Only girls cry”. He passed a passively seated dog, flung a stone at him and screamed, “I hate dogs.”

But did Chris really hate dogs? No, so why were his emotions causing him to react in such a strange manner? Let’s try and understand his feelings.

As babies we are born with feelings and behavioural patterns that let our parents know how we feel. We cry, smile, giggle, shout for help, scream depending on our emotional need. As we grow older we create other ways of expressing ourselves. We get frustrated when we are not heard or things go against our wishes.

Emotions, to put it simply, is what you feel, these emotions are carried to the mind by chemical messengers that react to different situations. Like you shake when scared. Some scream or fight without control when they get angry. This is the ‘fight or flight’ system that we have inherited from our forefathers (many generations before us; animals behave in a similar way).

Sometimes people overreact to simple problems, when in fact the real reasons for their emotions lie deep within. This is sometimes because as children they have been treated cruelly or physically abused and are now unable to deal with their real emotions. That’s why some people grow up to use anger as part of their defense system. Anger becomes a habit and stops them from feeling other happy emotions. But is this the right way to behave?

Ask yourself these questions: (answer yes or no)
  1. Are you often angry?
  2. Do you shout at others?
  3. Do you throw things around or slam doors?
  4. Do you want to hurt others by mean words or hitting?
  5. Are you cruel to animals?
  6. Do you not think about how your behaviour affects others?

If you answered yes to 4 or more of these questions than you need to talk to someone about your feelings. You are angry a lot. This level of anger can result in destructive behaviour and hurt to yourself and others. You need to talk to someone, and perhaps get counseling to help you understand and control this anger.

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