Emotions – It’s Complicated

Human are complex. Which does not bode well for smooth relationships. I used to believe that our emotions (at least the negative ones) are the culprits leading us astray.  But in reality, human emotions, positive, negative, or both, are complicated.

To illustrate, here are three simple words that carry a wide range of meanings:

  • I love you!
  • I love you?
  • love you.
  • I love you.
  • I love you [LOL]

And they barely scratched the surface if factoring in speaker’s tonality, body language, and timing. Is there a way to harness this touchy-feely subject called emotions?

To the rescue is a tool created by psychologist Robert Plutchik called the Wheel of Emotions.  This tool classifies emotions into eight primary categories: 1) anger, 2) fear, 3) sadness, 4) disgust, 5) surprise, 6) anticipation, 7) trust, and 8) joy.

And all emotional responses can be traced back to these basic emotions. Eureka!  A simple guide to help decipher a complicated subject.

Just when I thought I got a handle on it, two additional points threw me off: 1) the primary emotions interact and create secondary emotions (the non-colored ones below) and 2) animals (mammals) share the same primary emotions as human.

As a result, I can never look at people and their dogs and cats the same way anymore.

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions

What is your take on emotions?

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