I'm not very emotional. I'm not saying that out of bravado or to impress, I genuinely think that emotions don't hold as much sway over me as they do over most other people. I also don't think that's necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand maybe it would be good if I was more willing to express what's in my heart. On the other, it gives me a relatively objective platform to notice a lot of quirks about emotion and feelings.
I also don't want to imply that I'm emotionally absent or a sociopath. I think, relatively speaking, I'm actually quite good at being in touch with my emotions when I want to be. Sometimes I'm in a particularly feely mood, and I always know how to find stuff to enjoy that will satisfy those emotional cravings.
However, for the most part, I feel like I treat emotions with more of an alien curiosity rather than being very influenced by what I feel. Some may disagree, but personally I greatly prefer having this relationship with my feelings. When things might otherwise feel overwhelming or uncontrollable, I can for the most part turn that faucet off. I don't really worry about emotional breakdowns or getting consumed by anger/sadness/fear. It's honestly quite pleasant.
Again, it's not that I'm a sociopath. I feel everything regularly, just not overly intensely. And I really enjoy turning the eye of introspection onto various emotions and seeing the effects that they have. If you can control your emotions, rather than be controlled, there's a lot of really valuable ways that you can use them. In fact, without being able to use them productively I think you'd be missing out on a big part of the human experience. I guess I'll borrow a few emotions from Pixar's Inside Out and get started.
Anger is the emotion of doing. It makes you want to get up and move. To do something. To accomplish something. We describe people as simmering with anger because it's hard for them to stay still.
Anger is an excellent emotion to harness if the problem in front if you can be solved with force. I work out sometimes and it's probably the most useful emotion in the gym. When I want to push myself further I get angry. I'm angry at my laziness, angry at the version of me who feels too weak and pathetic to try a little harder. Angry at the mere thought of giving up.
Anger alone is powerful enough to compel you to do any number of things. When you're halfway through a hike and feeling lazy, anger can propel you to the finish. If you're running for the bus and slowing down, be angry that it may leave you behind. It is not subtle, and it lacks finesse, but anger is an essential component of the emotional toolbox.
I like to think of sadness as the key that unlocks introspection. Never do I feel as in touch with myself, or even feel as deeply, as I do when I feel sad. I'm not always in the right mood to harness it, but when I am I reserve my entire night for the process. Sadness results in a torrent of thoughts, in a version of me who's a little more thoughtful and empathetic. Big plans can be made when I'm sad.
While anger is powerful, it doesn't last. However the decisions and thoughts I feel when sad stick with me for a long time. I know that, in some sense, the version of me that appears when I am sad is the truest version of me; the most human. I trust the decisions he makes more than I trust the ones emerging from the cold, inhuman scepter of logic.
I rarely get sad, and even more rarely without trying to. But when the atmosphere is right I know I can summon up some sad introspection with a small hit of my favorite media, looking back on the parts I never forget.
Fear makes you feel alive. It's actually one of my favorite emotions, which is ironic because I don't typically like scary movies or games. I find fear to be one of the most physical emotions. You might feel other emotions, but you feel fear. You feel it in your stomach, on the back of your neck, deep in your chest. You can't help but feel it, which is the best and worst part about it.
The greatest part about fear is the feeling of conquering it. Almost nothing feels better than bravely facing something you're terrified of, and coming out intact on the other side. You feel ecstatic, on top of the world. Lots of people give themselves this high with scary media or with roller coasters and thrill rides. Personally I don't enjoy those experiences as much.
When I conquer something scary, legitimately scary, I amaze myself at what I'm capable of. It's not easy because not alot of stuff truly scares me, but I feel fear more often than I show. It's scary to travel to new places, especially places that are really, truly foreign. It's scary to be out in the wilderness with no cell signal or other people. It's five times at scary when it's night time and you can't see five feet in front of you but you can hear animal rustling coming from all around. It's scary to be on a dark road at night in a car or on a bike and know how close you've come to danger.
I've faced all these moments, and I've come out of them better for having gone through those experiences. I value them highly, and the fear they produce is one of the most potent emotional cocktails I've tried.
I like to think I wield my emotions with great care, like a master samurai might wield their sword to skillfully cut through obstacles. I'd recommend developing this relationship with emotions for anyone; I really do believe that treating some emotions like old friends instead of bitter rivals is a healthy and productive way to treat your own psyche.