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Friday, 7 September 2018

Facts vs Feelings

As an author, I have to balance between intuition and logic. It is creative intuition that enables me to freely write my stories, and logic that enables me to carve away the parts that may lead to plot holes or not make sense. Without creative free-writing I will have no story, but without logical editing I will have a story that is confusing and doesn't make sense. Such is the way of emotions/intuition, and logic/reasoning. Both are needed in their own right.

I have always been a deeply emotional and sensitive person. There is a lot of goodness that comes with sensitivity; the ability to empathise with others, to connect to them and show affection, and to passionately express how I feel about things in the way that an emotionless sociopath cannot. But there are also downsides to this. Many times in my life I have acted on emotional impulsiveness and caused nothing but problems. As a self-aware and honest person I can often see where I went wrong after a bout of emotional extremity, but at the time it is hard to see because emotions cloud rationale.

For example, I have a blog post about past anger issues. One day I smashed up a bunch of glass bottles and ended up in trouble with the police, and had to go to A&E because there was a bit of glass in my foot. It was a stupid, reckless thing to do that achieved nothing of use. Had I simply gone home and allowed myself to feel angry in a safe and quiet place until the anger passed and I was able to think rationally again, no destruction would have been caused. See the post here:

Part of emotional maturity is about managing one's emotions in a healthy way. This doesn't mean repressing ones feelings or holding them back as that often leads to them coming out in a way that is much worse. It means allowing them to be and being able to sit with them, but also realising that they are just feelings and feelings are NOT facts, and they can't 'hurt' you in any way. Feelings are a normal part of being human, but they need not be given more power than they are worth. Another example: if someone is driving and another person overtakes them, the person can react in one of two ways. They can speed up and curse the driver, which could end up creating an accident, or they could allow their annoyance to be, breathe, and then relax and continue their drive once they realise it wasn't that big of a deal. (This is also linked with humility and letting go of one's ego).
Men ARE more logical than women because of their brains,
but there is some degree of truth to this; many of us tend
to act rashly on our emotions regardless of gender. Plus I
just think its a funny picture. 
This is where logic comes in and why it is so important. Our feelings will often make certain things seem far more important than they are, but our logic and ability to reason will tell us the truth. A couple of sixteen year olds who have been together for two weeks may feel like they are madly in love and want to get married. But logically, their brains are just releasing high levels of dopamine associated with lust/infatuation; two weeks is not nearly enough time to really know someone or fall in love with them, and most sixteen year olds are not emotionally mature enough to know what marriage or commitment means. (It doesn't mean they may not grow to love one another, but a person's brain at sixteen and at twenty five is vastly different due to chemical development and life experience).

I wouldn't be able to write this if I hadn't had lots of experience where I have acted rashly on emotional impulse and caused nothing but problems for myself and those around me. I have allowed my emotions to distort my perception of what others say or think, rather than seeing things for what they actually are in an objective and rational way. But one of the things I love about myself and the way I have and continue to mature is that I can observe past mistakes, admit where I may have been wrong and then learn from it so I won't be able to repeat those mistakes, and then hopefully pass on what I have learned so that others may also be able to reflect on themselves.

Brief note on mental illness: as someone who has suffered with depression and anxiety in the past I am aware that these are horrible illnesses. But they are not rational, just like most phobias are not rational. Doesn't mean they are good or bad, they just are often untrue. So feeling anxious because you think something awful is going to happen is irrational if there is no evidence that anything bad is going to happen within your situation. I think this is important to note because it means you can always remember that your mental illnesses will lie to you and will make you feel/think things that aren't actually there, and once you realise this then hopefully it will be easier to manage them.

Related posts:

On this post I discuss that it is ok to cry and show emotions. However, I also believe it is important to manage your feelings, which means allowing them to be but not allowing them to 'take over you' and knowing they will pass. If your partner breaks up with you or someone you love dies then it is normal to cry and feel upset, but also important to acknowledge that these feelings will pass and overtime you will not feel as sad as you did in the immediate moment.

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I've published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: