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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Emotion & Behavior

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This is one of those distinctions where the words seem obviously distinct, yet I believe their usage is still misunderstood.

I was in Australia watching Oprah Winfrey doing a show on love.  One thing that really struck in my mind (and this is now eight years in the future) is that she said, I guess what we’ve learned in this show is that, “Love is not an emotion, it’s a behavior.”  She described how loving somebody passively is not really loving them.  Just because we feel the feelings, doesn’t mean we’re going to foster a successful relationship.  We need to be active in our love.  We need to behave in a way where the other person feels that we love them.  Raymond Aaron says, “Love is what you do, not how you feel.”

Is love an emotion or a behavior?  It depends in which context it is used in.  But for many, it is a behavior.  It is the way we act towards someone when we love them.  Feelings alone can be categorized as simply lust.

We can flip it around, too, when we need to empower ourselves.  For example, if someone is behaving in a way that is rude or obnoxious to us, let us try to put it in a context of emotion.  The person may be going through some tough times or is just edgy on this particular day.  The way they are behaving is not representative of their character.  Therefore, they are just letting their emotions take the best of them.  Having this attitude can really make a difference on how we feel when somebody is “rude” to us.

There was a Anthony Robbins' “PowerTalk!” tape that illustrated that all our emotions that we may interpret as negative, are simply a call to action.  Either they are telling us that we need to change our perception (i.e., we’re misinterpreting the information we have), or we need to change behavior (i.e., take action to stop feeling bad).  When we understand that all our emotions are there to help us, in many cases to help us to take action and change our behavior, then we learn that emotions and behaviors actually go hand-in-hand.

Often when people get down or depressed they see a psychiatrist.  Unfortunately, most psychiatrists are trained only in emotional support.  They are not “life coaches” or people who can teach you how changing your behavior will dramatically change your life.  I saw a psychiatrist for several years, and he did help me in managing some of my emotions.  But my behaviors needed some tweaking, too.

Let's love the world together...

Danish Ahmed, blind visionary

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