Saturday, October 5, 2013

Green Eyed Purple People Eater

An Emotion is (usually) a reaction to a specific event. We tie our emotions to things the same way we tether balloons to the wrists of children so they do not become lost. For those on the Autism Spectrum, the amygdala in our brain processes emotions differently. From a structural point of view our brain is hardwired to deal with emotions differently.

Emotional competency involves understanding the physical effect our emotions have on our body and what we can do to understand our, as well as others, emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapies are sometimes used to help teach children about emotions using stories to help illustrate the points. It's not that we are trying to be oblivious, we honestly don't understand a lot of the emotions other people spend so much time focusing on. For many of us, it is easier to temporarily ignore the uncomfortable emotion and try to understand it at a later point when we can analyse it.

For my graduate class I chose to write a paper on Emotional Regulation and will be immersing myself in the topic for the next few months. So I get to pour over dozens of scientific articles about the study of emotions, how we react to emotions, and how we can have a healthier relationship with our emotions. I am specifically focusing on the Autism community, but again this is one of those important things EVERYONE could benefit from learning more about. Needless to say, I'm totally psyched to be able to dork out for hours on end researching and pouring over all the information.

This brings me to my biggest confusion.

Almost all emotions serve a purpose. Happiness to cherish the moments of bliss. Sadness reminds us of our loss in many different forms. Anger and the process of anger is a very undervalued emotion which causes more problems than you can shake a stick at.

Jealously is... different.

In this day and age, we combine the terms envy and jealousy. This further complicates the matter because envy is a defined emotion and jealousy is not. Seriously, Scientists cannot agree on any one definition of jealousy. Jealousy is a complex combination of emotions like anger, insecurities, and disgust amongst many other emotions. The complex and intangible nature of jealousy hurts my head.

Some scientists separate envy as wanting what another has and jealousy as a fear of losing what you have. Envy does have the power to motivate people if they channel their envy to a productive use. If you are envious of a fit person enjoying life and that motivates you to become more fit, that is a positive use of envy. Jealousy has destructive power rooted in a protection or hoarding mentality of wanting to keep your shinies all to yourself.

As a Autistic person, I download emotions in my own special way. I do my best to understand my own emotions and I have actively worked to trying to understand other people's emotions. Body language, facial expressions, word choices, and many other things are affected by our emotions. It wasn't until I started to try to figure out jealousy that I became aware of the global lack of understanding of Jealousy.

We paint pictures, write songs, and do our best to make sense of a senseless emotion. Some scientists think there may be an evolutionary root to jealousy connected with the desire to pass on our genetics. I think jealousy is a word we assign to emotions when we don't want to deal with the real issue. Abandonment, insecurities, heartache, and every other painful emotions that makes us feel worthless. Jealousy is rooted in the fear we are not worthy.

But we are worth it.

You are worth good things happening to you. You deserve the best and can work towards being your own personal best. Just because someone else has a bright light shining, it does not take away the strength of your light. Your light is still bright and brighter because you know how things were before the light. Don't worry, the light does not go away. Your light never has to go away unless you want it to.
      “Jealousy is a tiger that tears not only its prey but also its own raging heart"- Unknown

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