Why I do not trust my emotions

Why I need to be on guard whenever an emotion surfaces

I have recently discovered that, in certain situations, my emotions have a tendency to distort my perception of reality.

Let’s look at an example of the simple emotion of “wanting or desire”. Last night, I took the joy of my life out to dinner to our favorite steak house. Alas, they happened to have a new wine list. One of the featured wines on the list was a very expensive bottle from a well known French vineyard. The bottle was twice the cost of a very respectable bottle of California Cabernet.

My wife cautioned me against such a lavish expenditure, but overcome by “desire”, I would hear none of it. The bottle came and it was a disapointment, not a bad bottle mind you, but a disapointment none the less. This morning, upon reflection, I’m suffering from guilt and regret. This, of course, compounds the disapointment all the more.

What happened was that the emotion of “desire” overshadowed the balance between the realities of the postitive and the negative. The positive being a great bottle of wine, and the negatives being my depeleted bank account and pissed off wife. This emotion allowed me only to see the decision as only 100% attractive. The emotion of desire only allows us to percieve the positive and hides the negatives from our good judgement.

I watched a good friend destroy his life with a blonde, half his age, over exactly the same emotion.

A similar example happen recently with a negative emotion, “repulsion”. While shopping for a car recently, we came across a great bargain. It was a vehicle that fit what we were looking for and was priced $2,000 below the going rate for that model car. The problem was the color . . . it was a color that I found repulsive. Despite my wife’s urging, I could not bring myself to ignore the replusion and see the positive side of this emotional confrontation. Again, I was looking at a distorted picture of reality.

We left the car dealership without the car. Throughout the next 24 hours, the joy of my life successfully convinced me to look at the positives of the deal. Well, to make a long story short, the next day we went back to the dealership to make the deal and you guessed it . . . the car had been sold. We ended up buying the exact same car in a different color for $2,335 more than we needed to pay. Again, the result was a depleted bank account and a pissed off wife.

The lessons learned:

  1. Listen to the joy of my life more often.
  2. Unexamined emotions whether they be positive or negative can impair my judgement and obscure reality.
  3.  Always question all thoughts and emotions, never take them for a true reflection of reality.
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