Can emotions be harmful?

Emotions being an instinctive and psychological attitude as distinguished from reasoning, can sometimes become an obstacle in our search for knowledge as it can colour perception, distort logic and inflame language. However, other times, emotions are necessary in our lives to bring up the pent up feelings on the surface, giving us time to self reflect and reason our beliefs maturely and wisely as well as learn from our mistakes. Personally, one instance where emotion was so strong that it completely overrode all of my other ways of knowing occurred in march, 2015 while I was playing a badminton tournament in grade nine at Superior CVI. I had been rigorously practicing badminton everyday for the last two years and putting most of my energy in improving my strength, endurance, strokes and footwork. I entered the tournament with high hopes anticipating that I would easily defeat all my opponents in my matches. However, when I was playing my first match in the tournament, I made several silly mistakes such as constantly hitting the birdie out of the court, having slow footwork and making poor shots.

As a result, I lost my first match of the tournament and became exceptionally overwhelmed by strong sentiments of grief, disappointment and rage. These negative emotions clouded my judgement and completely overpowered my decisions. I felt so disgusted that despite having five more matches to play, I told my badminton coach I was not in a mental state to continue and wanted to quit the tournament. After that, for over a month, I was unable to play badminton again and wanted to relax and enjoy my time with my family members and friends. However, when my emotions settled down and reasoning took over, I started self reflecting and critically analysing my impulsive decision. At that precise moment, I felt that I had made the wrong decision to quit the tournament. I should not have let my powerful emotions overtake my mind to such an extent that they surpassed any other way of knowing and resulted in defeat. Instead, the better option would have been to talk to my friends or my coach so that they could have given me feedback on ways to improve for my next game and encouraged me to continue playing my matches. Also, I could have asked for a break to listen to calm music or go for a walk in order to relieve my stress. Another option would have been to take deep breaths and practice mindfulness through the coping skills of meditation and yoga. I should have used my emotions in a positive way to motivate myself, change my strategy as well as make rational decisions and choices with the goal to win my remaining matches. However, I did not explore any of the other perspectives in this situation and let my judgement become warped by my emotions. This dreadful experience allowed me to realize and learn that emotions are absolutely necessary in everyone’s life, but they can easily distort thinking and logic. On the contrary, it is crucial to acknowledge emotions and recognize how they are influencing our decisions negatively. The most important part is to connect emotions to other ways of knowing such as reason, intuition and language so that they can successfully complement our choices. Using only one way of knowing (emotions) to totally influence our decisions is not always the right choice and it may lead to disastrous consequences. As Aristotle has mentioned through the quote, “Anyone can be angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not easy,” it is important to reflect our emotions such as anger towards others, but it is essential to do it in an appropriate and rational way to prevent emotions from overtaking any other ways of knowing.
Recognizing the impact of emotions, I started playing badminton again in grade ten and practiced even harder to improve my strokes. Following this, in march, I decided to play again in the badminton tournament with an improved mindset and better control upon my sentiments. On the day of the tournament, I lost my second match but did not give up or let my emotions control my actions. Instead, I worked even harder, changed my badminton strategy to suit my needs, and ended up winning the tournament. From these contrasting experiences, I gained insight on how people need to be clever about their emotions, manage them, and express them in the right way to guide their thinking and behavior as well as to achieve goals. Retrospectively, I know that oftentimes people reflect their emotions in a way which does harm to others and themselves, but it is wise to learn from these experiences and mistakes in order to use emotions in a positive manner. Hence, my experiences at the badminton tournaments in Superior CVI allowed me to learn that emotions can only generate knowledge if they are used in accordance with other ways of knowing and if they are managed and expressed in the proper way.

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