The Emotion and Logic of “WHY”
In the standard American culture, needing to know the “why” of anything is paramount in our thinking habits. Our minds are just trained to “the need to know.” In fact, NOT knowing is grounds for dismissal! For example, let’s say that my son just lost his shoe. “Why” did he loose his shoe? How could he do such a thing!?! The temptation is to berate and blame. When you ask “why” you are presupposing a “because.”
This same function happens when a person experiences emotions. When an emotion comes into awareness, the first default mode is to want to go to the “why” of having it. I’ll be working with a person in my office and this happens almost automatically. What the general public might not be aware of is that emotions, by definition, are not logical. I like to say that anything that is not logical, is emotional. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it does to me, but, hey, I’m like a Counselor and LOVE the world of the emotions.
Essentially, asking “why” makes the emotions go away. Asking “why” takes the mind to the puzzle mode. Onto the logical, linear, and rational spectrum. I think that is “why” we do this. We are running away from our emotions which was taught, modeled, and highly encouraged as we have matured. After all, most of us, including our parents, did not know what to do with them.
A better way to handle these challenging feelings is to sit with them, breath through them, write them down, or do art around them. (Or, just do art!) Basically, encourage and support yourself to stay in the emotional brain.
So, next time you feel some emotions, don’t let them scare you back into the logical brain. Stay right there with them. FEEL them. I know, it is scary. You do not have to DO anything with them. Just notice them, let them BE, and see what happens.
"Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals."
—American Counseling Association 2010