Intellect Versus Emotion

The very essence of authentic living is “living a rewarding and fulfilling life”, however, many of us are severely hampered on a daily basis as we endeavor to process and properly manage our emotional needs.  Many years ago I was introduced to the concept of I/E, Intellect over Emotion.  Many people subscribe to the philosophy that when we allow our emotions to consistently overrule our intellect, we are challenged to function in a rational manner.
I have often heard and read, control your thoughts and you control your emotions or similar philosophies, however, after considerable study and contemplation, I found I have a totally different perspective. Do our thoughts really control our emotions or do our emotions control our thoughts? I hope this writing will provide you with some thought provoking questions and influence you to seriously contemplate how our emotions can impact our ability to lead a rewarding and fulfilling life. 
In my years of study and work in Psychology and Health and Wellness Coaching, I have observed that many people are significantly more influenced by their emotions than what they realize. Most of us, myself included, are emotional beings.  Moreover, it is near impossible to live our lives and make decisions completely devoid of emotion.  Nor would we really desire to. This would be of little importance if it were not for the fact that our decisions have consequences! And making decisions based on the incorrect combination of emotion and intellect can seriously impede our ability to live authentically.
Many industries and institutions have long known the impact of our emotions on our decision-making and as a matter of practice use this to manipulate our decisions and actions on a daily basis.  They know that by appealing to our emotions they can frequently significantly increase our potential to act in a way that may be highly inconsistent with our intellect and in a manner that may be in their best interest whether it is in our best interest or not!  If you question this, consider the following examples.  How many of us truly make decisions based solely on intellect?  Ever bought a car that cost more than what you really could afford and had many features well outside you needs?  Ever purchased things that you really did not need but did so because they were on sale? Ever read an article or listened to or watched a program that really affected your emotions either negatively or positively?  Ever listened to a song that filled you with joy or made you want to cry?  Ever been approached to contribute to help others less fortunate or in dire need of help in some form? How about our current political situation? How can two major parties be so divided regarding what is truly best for the country? How about in our personal lives?  If you really love me you would………..The aforementioned represent but a small fraction of ways in which we are potentially influenced by our emotions.  I’m sure most of you can think of many more.  To be clear the focus of this article is not on the decision that is ultimately made but rather how it was made and the extent to which we are influenced by our emotions and its impact on our ability to live authentically.
Again, I am not suggesting we should make all decisions totally devoid of emotion, which is practically impossible but rather we should consider to what extent our emotions might be influencing a decision devoid of any rational input.  There is a multi-billon dollar industry devoted to how to manipulate our decisions in virtually every conceivable area of our lives and if we are not ever vigilant what we allow to influence our decision-making it can serve as a significant impediment to living authentically and experiencing a rewarding and fulfilling life.  Our emotions are a vital part of what makes of unique as human beings and the position we enjoy in the world, as we know it. It is virtually impossible to not be influenced by our emotions nor should we desire to but we should be keenly aware of our emotions and how they cause us to struggle to just survive or can contribute to our ability to thrive!
What do you think?  Do our thoughts control our emotions or do our emotions control our thoughts? I’d like to hear your thoughts and feedback.
Sandra & Stan (JTAL Founder and Co-Founder)
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