EMOTIONS & MOTIVES by Elena_Miss_Yoga
Emotions and Motives, probably, are the biggest headaches for many of us. Understanding emotions, and why we experience certain ones, instead of the others is a big mystery. At least, to me, it has been an unknown world for a long time. In fact, I couldn't give a name to my feelings, for most of my life. However, there is a way out from this ongoing condition. First, we have to become familiar with the proper meaning of our emotions, and understand; that we are allowed to experience them. Being aware that, our brains, are complicated is essential. In fact, our BASICS feelings and motives (“Old brain”- pre-evolution to the Modern Human being) often, enter into collision with the “New Brain” faculties of rumination, projection, fantasy, and planning. Making our lives more complicated.
However, WE ALL HAVE THE SAME ISSUES!
Our brains are regulated by three different systems that should work together, but as we will see later, unfortunately some are broader than others.
At first gaze, looking at the above diagram, I bet, many of us, relate themselves more to the Threat, and Drive systems rather than the Compassion one. And, it is NORMAL; it is the way our brain works.
To start, I will briefly explain to you each system,one by one, beginning with the most developed; the Threat system. You're probably wondering why I stated it as the “strongest.” There is an evolutionary explanation to that. As a matter of fact, it evolved to help us to detect threats to our safety and is activated when we perceive potential danger. And so forth, it is indispensable to keep us alive.
It is said that our Threat System as one rule “BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY.” Which means “BETTER WORRY THAN COOL.” And doing so, it overestimates the possibility of risk to increase our chances of survival, overruling the positive. Moreover, it stores memories about our negative experiences blocking us to make the same mistakes over again. So, if you have ever thought you were negative, depressed or a half-empty glass kind of person, because you remember negative events better, it is not true. It implies you are human.
Along with progress, the treat system has shifted. In fact, hundreds of year ago, for us as Human Beings, threats were physical dangers. In modern western time; our threat system is activated mostly by a “Social Status” and the fear of losing it. In fact, nowadays rarely we feel in physical danger but often we feel distressed by our rule into society.
Each System unveils to us by different Body Feelings, Emotions, and Behaviours.
- Body Feelings: Tense, Dry mouth, heart rate increased
- Emotions: Anxiety, Anger, and Disgust
- Behaviours: Avoiding, Defending, attacking, Hiding, dissociating
Now, let’s talk about our Drive System, which is the one that makes us strong, brave and courageous. Every morning we get up from bed because of it. The Drive System pushes us toward our dreams, and goals. We need it to grow. However, when it links only to the Threat System without Compassion, it pushes us to the limit. And, we start to live a narrowed oriented life.
We begin to align our lives to the next goal, and then another one, then another one. We become addicted to wanting more instead of being content with what we already have. It nourishes our egos. In fact, the pleasure we experience, when we accomplish a goal, send a message to our brain saying: “If you can ride a bicycle, you can ride a motorcycle. If you can ride a bike, you can drive a car. If you can drive a car, you can drive a truck. If you can drive a truck you can fly an airplane...” and so on.
How does it show up?
- Body Feelings: Pressure to act, agitation, heart increases
- Emotions: determination, excitement, distress
- Behaviours: Restless, Celebration, Approachable, Socialise
At last, the least developed is our “Compassion System.” Which, is not a surprise, in fact, our brains are designed to keep safety as a priority. This is the reason why, the Threat System & the Drive system are stronger than the Compassion System.
However, it is "A Must Have" to live a happier life, it is the foundations of our happiness and contentment. It gives us a sense of safeness, even when we experience anger, fear, disgust, and shame.
How we experience the Compassion-Focused System?
- Body Feelings: calm, slow, well-being, content
- Emotions: Openness, Kindness, Safeness
- Behaviours: Peaceful, Gentle, Kind, Prosocial
Concluding, all of the three Systems are equally important, we can not survive or be happy without them. What we need is to find a balance to live a fulfilled life. And, it is possible. Mindfulness and meditation are excellent tools to balance them coexistence. In the next blog, I will share a few tips to reach your Soothing/Compassion System, to live a happier life so, stay tuned.
I hope you will be inspired to live a more Compassionate Mindful life.
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