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Emotions As Motives

Emotion is always dynamic, and our feelings constitute our strongest

motives to action and achievement.

HOW OUR EMOTIONS COMPEL US.--Love has often done in the reformation of a

fallen life what strength of will was not able to accomplish; it has

caused dynasties to fall, and has changed the map of nations. Hatred is

a motive hardly less strong. Fear will make savage beasts out of men who

fall under its sw
y, causing them to trample helpless women and children

under feet, whom in their saner moments they would protect with their

lives. Anger puts out all the light of reason, and prompts peaceful and

well-meaning men to commit murderous acts.

Thus feeling, from the faintest and simplest feeling of interest, the

various ranges of pleasures and pain, the sentiments which underlie all

our lives, and so on to the mighty emotions which grip our lives with an

overpowering strength, constitutes a large part of the motive power

which is constantly urging us on to do and dare. Hence it is important

from this standpoint, also, that we should have the right type of

feelings and emotions well developed, and the undesirable ones


EMOTIONAL HABITS.--Emotion and feeling are partly matters of habit. That

is, we can form emotional as well as other habits, and they are as hard

to break. Anger allowed to run uncontrolled leads into habits of angry

outbursts, while the one who habitually controls his temper finds it

submitting to the habit of remaining within bounds. One may cultivate

the habit of showing his fear on all occasions, or of discouraging its

expression. He may form the habit of jealousy or of confidence. It is

possible even to form the habit of falling in love, or of so

suppressing the tender emotions that love finds little opportunity for


And here, as elsewhere, habits are formed through performing the acts

upon which the habit rests. If there are emotional habits we are

desirous of forming, what we have to do is to indulge the emotional

expression of the type we desire, and the habit will follow. If we wish

to form the habit of living in a chronic state of the blues, then all we

have to do is to be blue and act blue sufficiently, and this form of

emotional expression will become a part of us. If we desire to form the

habit of living in a happy, cheerful state, we can accomplish this by

encouraging the corresponding expression.