It’s there whether we realize it or not. The reaction to the action is certain, even if we suppress it and pretend we are immune to it. Experiences yield emotions no matter how little or how much we express those emotions. If they are not acknowledged, but just jammed down, they pile up to leak out at the most inopportune of times.
We process life through our emotions. The path of our processing starts at the back of our brain and works its way forward. Our first stop along the way is our emotional processor. Many of us, especially men, would prefer not to acknowledge the reality of that stop. We prefer to pass that one by.
From there, the process leads us to logical reasoning. We can evaluate the experience and make future decisions from the knowledge of that experience. Our logic is formed by the information it has to work with to connect the dots for future choices.
If we are making decisions without all the information then we aren’t making the best decisions. The most logical of us would agree that the more information the better for decision-making. Yet, the most logical among us may be the most susceptible to the trap of ignoring the emotions that accompany the facts. The emotions deserve a voice to avoid the piling up of one unexpressed emotion on top of the other until there is some kind of eruption.
Road rage isn’t about traffic, it’s a culmination of emotions brewing over and triggered by the anonymous other driver. Anger is a secondary emotion typically born and fueled by hurt. Anger doesn’t just happen; it comes from another emotions that gives it life. Unresolved hurts or fears show up and are misapplied to present situations since old situations that caused the hurt are finished and done.
Emotional inventory keeps the storage space of our soul in order. Giving voice to the reactions that are certain from actions maintains internal order where chaos would like permission to accumulate. There is a method of accounting that is called “FIFO,” which means “first in, first out.” That’s the appropriate method to inventory emotions from experiences; when they happen, take note of them, give them the credit they deserve and don’t just put them back on the shelf to spill over one day.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Life flows from within us and within us needs to be tended to. Above all else.