Bob Anderson defines our common emotions, happiness, sadness, fear and anger in our own lexicon to help us understand the feeling behind the feeling. They are as follows.
Happiness is when you gain something you value.
Sadness is when you lose something you value.
Fear is a possible risk or threat.
Anger is when you are blocked from getting something you value.
I love how approachable each definition is. I am happy when I gain something I value and sad when I lose it. I am fearful over risky situations or when I feel threatened and I am angry when I feel like the things that make me happy are blocked from me. What an easy way to understand what I am feeling! Taking time for reflection that enables me to decode how I am feeling to really understand myself. My favorite of his definitions is disgust:
Disgust is when an unwritten rule about human behavior is broken
We all have these unwritten rules. I spent part of Sunday writing near a roundabout in Gig Harbor. Many toots of the horn were sounded as cars violated each other’s unwritten rules of how to approach the roundabout. These were not violations in law, the drivers on the horns were expressing their disgust over very minor delays. Disgust is tricky. Show it too much and you’ll find yourself isolated. Too little and get labeled as unemotional. Yet as I listened to the honks, witnessed the single finger salutes, and laughed at the over-reactions, one thing kept coming to mind – what is this disgust actually accomplishing? Anything?
Nothing. What a waste. Perhaps we can all take a deep breath and give each other just a little more leeway for the unwritten rules and spend a little more time obeying the written ones.