Do We Understand Our Emotions?

Do We Understand Our Emotions?

Do We Understand Our Emotions? has been edited by Ruhaan Shah.


plural noun: emotions
    1. a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others
    2. instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge

It is amusing, how emotions play with our head. Despite being bifurcated in various categories like over emotional, cynical, unexpressive and nonchalant. Even when we try not to give a fuck, we are emoting. Feelings, strong or weak, just sneak up to crawl under our skin and reverberate, even when we do not want it to.

It is frustrating, you know. This constant chore of being alive by expressing ourselves. Living in a society that expects us to smile in situations we want to cry in. Or cry when we are all numb inside. Or keep calm when we want to jump out of sheer ecstasy. Enforcing decorum upon emotions is as good as a hot hammer hitting the iron rods, forcing to shape; forcing to change its natural course of existence, for convenience. Virtual circumstances already drive our lives, how healthy do you think it is to teach to emote?

This rant is deep rooted. By and large, I believe that it was always there, untampered. Remember, when we are asked not to cry on your first day of school? Or explaining ourselves for hours, just because the idea of an anniversary does not make us twirl? Or asked to stay strong, when all we wish to do is crumble into pieces. We are so complacent towards this consistently tailored modification of our reactions that we fail to see how repressive it really is.

I might be making severe generalisations here, but to what extent can we deny the severity of this issue lurking on the hindsight? If making generalisations is going to shed some light, so be it.

As a child, when I got a cut or bruised, my natural reaction was resorting to laughter. Till date, I cannot explain the reason for that, but I ended up laughing even though the pain was unbearable. People could see my bleeding knee but did not take me seriously because I was not crying. Just imagine any child’s plight, who is in pain, yet, laughed upon due to their lack of “appropriate” reaction. In the very crux of our lives, we have separated emotions in binary oppositions.

And as an overtly expressive person, it frustrates me being told when to express my anger, when to control it, when to grin, and when to let out a coy smile. It is like controlling someone’s bowel moments, to be honest. Why? Because it is so natural. Our ability to demonstrate emotions sets us apart from other creatures, so how can we rob ourselves of the pleasure of unadulterated expression?

I do not think there exists a mass solution. No, the chances of a revolution or a change of heart in a large group do not seem like the brightest possibilities. However, what does seem plausible is an individual effort. Conditioning ourselves to reverse everything we have been taught about feelings and their display. Perhaps, there will come a time when we would not be constrained by the closely knit definitions of a particular sentiment. All that would be left is a profound understanding of our obscure apprehensions and exuberance.

Until then, I can just hope, that we will start severing those stinging ties from the puppeteer and ask— Do we understand our emotions, after all?

To read more by the author of Do We Understand Our Emotions? click here.

Abha Mehra

Abha tries to survive days with fried food with cheese. You'll find her bossing around or in a corner trying to make sense of all the words that come not so naturally to her. Be it taking naps in the afternoon or a free pizza, she is ready for both all the time. If you like what she writes, feel free to gift her jhhumkas over peach iced tea.