Sunday, June 17, 2012

Emotion through Affection

There are a breed of us out there (myself included) who need affection or physical touch in order to experience emotion.  It's not always easy to pick us out, especially if you just know us casually, but in children it's usually pretty obvious.  My nephew definitely falls into this category while my niece does not.  She is pure emotion baby.  And when you're six, emotion translates into the world coming to an end at least a few times a week.  Seemingly anyway.  But if emotion doesn't flow through your veins so easily and you're four, like my nephew, you need games and snuggles to establish bonds.  This is why we click so well I figure.  When we wrestle, tackle (a game as simple as it sounds), play basketball or just stare each other down from close range (in the picture), our emotions are engaged.  It's hard for us to imagine freaking out because you can't wear the jacket or shoes of your choice. 

I'm sure people who are emotional enjoy physical contact too, but they don't need it in order to experience emotions.  A case in point here is Art.  Viewing masterful Artwork can bring people to tears.  Or make them happy or sad or whatever.  For me, and those like me, we're unmoved.  Looking at pictures with people as their subjects is more interesting for us than scenes/pieces without them, but to say we get emotional would be a stretch.  This is probably why I don't take pictures of food very often to put on this blog.  When I'm savoring a great meal, I do so with taste and smell.  Viewing pictures of food doesn't make me hungry or even want to try the item.  It's good to see what it looks like for descriptive purposes, but I can't 'taste' food through pictures.  Apparently, though, I'm in the minority here, at least judging by other peoples reactions to pics of food (not to mention the vast array of television commercials with food in them).

The Portland Sprint Club
Now, I'm in no way criticizing emotions or emotional people.  Heck, I wish I was a bit more emotional myself (a bit I say).   I'm jealous of people who can feel things just by looking or thinking about them.  I guess I'm trying to play Jr. psychologist and point out that people emotionally experience the world in different ways.  Not exactly groundbreaking news I suppose, but if you take a minute and try to put yourself into the shoes of someone on the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, I think it's possible to gain some understanding for the way they respond to certain situations.  Although it scares me a bit to see my brother go off the reservation for something trivial, I know that this is his initial way of dealing with things.  He soon comes down to reality and in short order doesn't even remember that he got so angry (but I sure do).  His daughter is the same way and they're having difficulty trying to get her to control her emotional outbursts.  This is their natural tendency, it is not good or bad, it just is what it is.  Likewise, seeing that some people don't often get charged up doesn't mean that they don't care.  It simply means they don't show that much emotion.  A perfect example is when I was a late teenager and my family and I were at a hotel for a special event.  The phone rang and I answered it.  It was horrible news, but I conveyed it to my parents so calmly that they didn't believe me.  They actually had to call someone back to confirm it.  It's not that I didn't think what happened was bad, it's just not in my blood to be very expressive.  But, as I've pointed out, if someone had told me that news eye to eye and then given me a big reassuring hug, I might have reacted differently.

Where I think this mutual understanding has the most potential for benefit is in relationships.  If two very emotional people or two very unemotional people get together then I believe it's easier for them to progress in their relationship as they know how the other one feels more often than not.  If the opposite happens and two unlikes are paired, then it will be harder on everybody.  In no way impossible, or even a bad thing, just more challenging.  Take, for example, when there is a fight or argument.  The emotional person naturally wants to get it all out and be done with it.  The unemotional person wants to rationally discuss the situation until a satisfactory agreement is reached.  If each person is aware of the natural emotional inclination of the other, things could be easier.  Or not ... it may still boggle your mind that someone can be so callous/emotional. 

One more thing along this line of thinking.  Various cultures and countries around the globe have different standards of what is normal and acceptable in terms of affection people have towards one another.  Has anyone ever done research into figuring out if more affectionate societies are less violent, smarter, more tolerant etc. etc.?  I'm just thinking out loud at this point.  Anyway, it was nice to load up on affection with my family while I was away. 

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