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The Emotion Generating Hypothesis

August 07, 2020

The Emotion Generating Hypothesis

There’s an old axiom that asks, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” In this brief philosophical experiment, I want to explore this idea as it relates to our emotional state.

It’s very easy for us human beings to tell a story about why we feel a certain way. We’re great at telling stories. And even greater at believing the stories we tell others, and ourselves.

“I feel sad because I haven’t seen my friends in a really long time.”

“I feel happy because I just got a promotion at work.”

We can wrap our minds around this logically. Of course you’d feel sad if you hadn’t seen your friends in a really long time. Surely, you’d be happy if you got a promotion at work.

Are we beings simply existing in the world, and responding to the events around us?

That certainly can be how we muddle through our life. We react to things that come across our path, and react and react until we’re left with the life that just happened to us.

Let’s try to reverse this whole thing.

Feeling emotion isn’t only something that accidentally happens to you.

Of course, they do come up. Like clouds passing through the sky. Never permanent, always passing through.

But you, you incredible being. Are also an emotion generator.

Think back to a time in your life where things were really happening for you, in a way that you enjoyed. Focus on a specific time. What did that feel like? What thoughts went through your head? What were people saying to you?

As you are generating those emotions from past experience. Remember. You can’t feel emotions in the past. Even though you were thinking about a past experience, the emotions you generated are being felt now.

Experiment with mining the past for experiences that can bring forth an emotion you desire. Experience that past emotion -- now. Then paint the present world that’s happening right now with the emotions you’ve created.

Rather than feeling as a response to something outside of yourself, feel a certain way, and then use that as the lense through which the world is happening. 

Feel peace -- see peace in the world. Feel harmony -- see harmony in the world. 

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