There are 27 Different Types of Emotions.
Well, that is what Google tells me. That we as humans have 27 different types of emotions and I think I have felt them all and I am sure you have as well. Some extreme, some hardly existent, some suppressed, some overwhelmingly strong– the works. There are literally so many emotions, but the insane thing that I have come to realize is that emotions in themselves are not sinful. I used to beat myself up if I was experiencing an emotion that I thought was bad or negative until a priest told me that my emotions were neither good nor bad–they just were. He mentioned to me that what is possibly sinful is how we react to these emotions, but we shouldn’t be afraid of them. After trying to understand these words and many times of trial and error I have come to realize that with help of our intellect that God has given us as a road map we can navigate through our emotions and reactions. I hope you can find truth and knowledge within these words that I am compiling together on how I have come to understand my own emotions and how to navigate through them with God and the intellect He has given me.
Growing up I never understood that emotions were a good thing. I was told that if you were overly emotional no one would like you. I was told to not let people into my emotions because then they would see my weaknesses and not like me. I was told that I had to shove my emotions out so that I could be strong. I had no idea that these statements, though deemed by the world as a positive thing, were stringed with lies. It took many years after I had my initial encounter with God to realize that emotions are beautiful and a gift from Him. Life without the good and hard emotions would be very bland and dismal and we would be going through life as if we were robots and that would be the worst. To have emotions is such a gift BUT they can also consume us if we are not aware of how we, ourselves, react to things.
God created both our intellect and our emotions for a very specific reason: so that we could navigate life with both of them together. You see emotions need to be navigated through the intellect that God also gave us. As I stated earlier, the world told me to not feel my emotions, but the world also tells me to chase after my emotions and to do anything that will bring me immediate satisfaction. This confusing juxtaposition is not what God wants for us. He desires freedom for us. He never desires us to feel stuck or chained down. He desires for us to be so closely united to Him that eventually He wants His thoughts and our thoughts to be the same. This may seem impossible but I assure you brothers and sisters it is not.
When we experience emotion we have three options: 1. Suppress that emotion (e.g. Ignoring the feeling of loneliness) 2. Act immediately on that emotion (e.g. Allowing yourself to snap back at someone) or 3. Navigate that emotion with our intellect and react accordingly. In the moment when one experiences an emotion it is hard to take a pause but it is pretty similar to what was taught of us when we were young: good habits take time to build up and they take practice. Even now there are times when I let my emotions get the best of me but within this I know that the Father is merciful to me and I too need to choose mercy for myself and for others. So how do we start to process our emotions with our intellect?
The way to help start this navigation is to first surrender whatever emotion you are experiencing to God and then second ask yourself some questions such as: what emotion am I actually feeling? What happened that made me feel this way? And what can I do or can be done with this emotion (i.e. do I need to apologize to someone or make amends with anyone in any way? Do I need to check myself? So on and so forth)? With these questions you can start to train your mind to not act out of emotions/suppress them but rather process them with the One who has created your amazing mind. As Catholics we believe that we are mind, body, and soul and when we acknowledge all three of these beautiful attributes that God has given us we are able to go through life in a much more free and peaceful way. As it says in Psalm 62:1-2, “For God alone my soul waits in silence: from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved.”
So my brothers and sisters, even though there are apparently 27 different emotions, we have but One God who can help guide us through them with the gift of His graces and the gift of our intellect. Let us invite Him in, at this moment, asking Him to help us have a better understanding of ourselves that we may one day enter into Eternity with Him.