When someone gets animated others often describe them as emotional:
“John is acting so emotional”
“Jane got so emotional when Ryan said …”
and things like that.
I’d like to suggest an alternative perspective I think you’ll find more precise and useful:
Everybody feels emotions all the time.
What’s the difference?
When someone sits quietly reading, they aren’t acting or feeling unemotional. I suggest the are feeling and acting on emotions as much as anyone. They may feel calmness, relaxation, satisfaction, or something like that, but those are emotions. They aren’t feeling no emotion.
Emotions motivate you. If you got out of bed this morning, something motivated you and you felt some emotion. No emotion means lying in your bed until you die.
An animated or excited person may feel more intense emotions, but not more emotions.
Losing control of your emotions or being unaware of them is different than not feeling any emotions. Both of those situations can be problems, but they don’t imply having more emotions.
Likewise, people often say women show or feel more emotions than men. The mainstream view suggests that men show less emotions
I disagree. I say women and men feel and show emotions in equal amounts all the time. I understand the mainstream view to suggest more precisely that men show less intensity of emotion (I’ll leave it for another post whether that’s accurate). I’ll grant that men feel and express a different range of emotions than women, such as anger, competition, ambition, dominance, and so on. I doubt any father anywhere would hesitate to acknowledge how much he loves his children. Likewise, women feel and express different emotions than men.
Women may show more of other emotions, but neither sex shows more emotions, just different intensities of some emotions and a different range of emotions overall.
The mainstream way people say it suggests greater differences between sexes or people of different ages. It suggests some people shouldn’t show emotion when they do all the time. It suggests you have a problem if you show more or less than others. It suggests people have less common ground than they do.
I expect you’ll have an easier time communicating and understanding someone who feels different emotions than you, but emotions nonetheless, compared to someone who felt no or less emotion overall.
The common belief that men don’t feel or show emotions as much as women must emotionally debilitate a lot of men and create rifts between couples.
I find no basis for that perspective and hope today’s perspective undermines and crowds it out.
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees