to be in love. Walking on a cloud, smelling the flowers, holding hands as you watch a beautiful sunset on the beach.
Well, at least that’s the version most European Americans bring to mind when they think of romance. But for Asian Americans, love, like other emotions, tends to be a bit more complicated.
Imagine participating in an experiment conducted by Lani Shiota, along with her colleagues Belinda Campos, Gian Gonzaga, and Dacher Keltner. You would have shown up at the lab with your lover,
whereupon the two of you would be asked to have four different short conversations. In one conversation, you and your partner would be asked to tease one another, starting by making up a nickname for one another.
In another, you would be asked to talk about a current problem that was causing you stress outside the relationship. In a third, you’d be asked to discuss a prev
And finally, you would talk about your first date. Each of you would take a turn as speaker and then listener, sharing your feelings and thoughts.
Then you would fill out questionnaires about the relationship, and about the feelings you had experienced during those four, potentially touchy, conversations. To what extent did you feel anger, contempt, love and shame during the exercises? Besides your own ratings, your conversations would later be coded by trained observers.
The participants in the actual study were chosen because both members of the couple were either Asian-American or European-American. The Asian-American couples averaged just over 20 years of age (just over 21 for the men), and had been in a relationship for about a year and 4 months.
The Euro-American couples were similar, with both men and women averaging just over 20 years old, and relationships that had lasted about a year and a half.
When the researchers examined the partners’ emotions, they always found a negative correlation between love and negative emotions for Euro-Americans.
The more a partner experienced love, the less he or she experienced shame, contempt, and anger during the challenging conversations.
For Asian Americans, on the other hand, the feelings of love were generally positively correlated with the other emotions. For example, the more an Asian experienced love, the more he or she experienced contempt.
And on the other side, having negative feelings did not preclude also having positive loving feelings for the Asian Americans.
Why the difference? Shiota and her colleagues connect their findings to an earlier literature suggesting that Asians often experience events and emotions in more complicated ways.
They discuss an interesting analysis by Kaiping Peng and Richard Nisbett which traced this phenomenon to a basic difference in Western versus Eastern philosophies of life.
European thought was highly influenced by Aristotle, who proposed 3 laws of knowledge. According to the Law of Identity, if A is true now, it must always have been true. The Law of Non-contradiction specifies that something cannot be A and not-A at the same time.
And the Law of the Excluded Middle specifies that a given proposition of fact must be either true or false. All that makes if difficult for the positive feeling of love to coexist with negative feelings like anger, contempt, and shame
East Asians, on the other hand, emphasize a set of principles common to Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Each of these philosophies emphasized dialecticism, which includes
1) the Principle of Contradiction, according to which two pieces of knowledge may appear to oppose one another, yet both be true;
2) the Principle of Change, whereby everything is continually in flux, and knowledge is a process rather than an outcome;
and 3) the Principle of Holism, whereby everything in the universe is connected. Taking a dialectic yin-yang approach to love means that love can indeed comfortably coexist with those other rotten feelings.
Although it might seem that the Euro-American unilaterally positive approach is more pleasant, it is worth considering whether the dialectic approach might have some benefits.
Given that all relationships eventually hit some rough times, the assumption that any negativity = not love could lead Euro-Americans to assume that the romance is
Great saints have worked on human beings from time to time by developing intense feeling of love and concern for others. This has helped them to achieve higher levels of spiritual growth and closeness with the ultimate. The true meaning of love is inner purification of soul. This is the real purpose of love.
Love is nothing but inner need and the reason for feeling happiness. Fill the requirement of soul by being in love with other person. The other person to whom you love is only an object to be loved;
it is our own emotions that create love for that person. People love someone if they feel that person is an object of love. This feeling comes out of inner need.
This is the reason that when the object of love is same, but still different people react to it in a different manner. A person may become an object of love for someone but similar feelings may be missing in the heart of other person. The feeling of love resides in us; other person becomes only a facilitator to bring out this feeling.
rrespective of how good other person may be, love will have to originate from you to create that loving emotion. All other things follow thereafter. These emotions come when we feel need of love as against negative emotions of anger and hate.
The advantages of giving love to the other person are essentially to fulfill our inner need and to generate happiness. If we demand love from other person, we may not be able to feel it when our inner condition is filled with negative feelings.
Love is an activity of thinking good about others, doing all that can be done to make others feel good and acting in a manner that other person feels comfortable. It is not something to be demanded as it cannot be preserved; and we cannot take it or feel it unless we make ourselves capable for it.
Everyone feels impact of love in their life. When you think good of other person, you are in same wavelength as your inner self (soul), which makes you feel light and joyful. Such feeling is love. It is not easy for a person to love someone as it takes time to understand and then develop liking of that person.
Media influences understanding of various issues in life including perception of love. Love has different meaning in media, which is not actual reality. The people in love as shown in media are projected somewhat special; it makes us to realize incapable of offering or getting that sort of love.
People often adore type of love which is without any argument, full of sacrifices and tolerance from the other person. The media glorifies love and shows loving couple who do so many unusual things to attract each others’ attention. It affects perception of love
What are Positive and Negative Emotions and Do We Need Both?
You might think that positive psychology is all about positive emotions. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, given positive psychology’s inherent positive bent!
But the field isn’t all about positive emotions. Negative emotions are an inevitable part of life and something that we need to experience in order to have a full, rich life.
Why do we need negative emotions to complement the positive ones?
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What Are Positive Emotions?
Positive emotions are emotions that we typically find pleasurable to experience. The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology defines them as “pleasant or desirable situational responses… distinct from pleasurable sensation and undifferentiated positive affect” (Cohn & Fredrickson, 2009).
Basically, this definition is stating that positive emotions are pleasant responses to our environment (or our own internal dialogue) that are more complex and targeted than simple sensations.
What Are Negative Emotions?
On the other hand, negative emotions are those that we typically do not find pleasurable to experience. Negative emotions can be defined as “as an unpleasant or unhappy emotion which is evoked in individuals to express a negative effect towards an event or person”
If an emotion discourages and drags you down, then it’s most likely a negative emotion.
Some common positive emotions include:Love Joy Satisfaction Contentment Interest Amusement Happiness Serenity Awe
A few of the most commonly felt negative emotions are:Fear Anger Disgust Sadness Rage Loneliness Melancholy Annoyance
Do We Need Both?
Look back over the list of sample negative emotions. Do you want to feel any of those emotions? You probably don’t, and it’s no wonder! It doesn’t feel good to experience any of those emotions.
Now, refer to the list of sample positive emotions. Have you ever felt one of these emotions and thought to yourself, “I wish I wasn’t experiencing this emotion?”
Although you may have experienced this once or twice—generally at a time when we think we shouldn’t feel positive emotions—it’s easy to see that this list is full of pleasurable emotions that people tend to seek out. We know that we need positive emotions to function effectively, grow, and thrive.
So if it’s basically universally unpleasant for us to experience negative emotions and universally pleasant and desirable to experience positive emotions, do we actually need the negative ones at all?
As it turns out, yes!
Are Negative Emotions Necessary?
Although they are not pleasant to experience, negative emotions really are necessary for a healthy life. This is true for two big reasons:
Negative emotions give us a counterpoint to positive emotions; without the negative, would the positive emotions still feel as good?
Negative emotions serve evolutionary purposes, encouraging us to act in ways that boost our chances of survival and help us grow and develop as people.
As Tracy Kennedy from Lifehack.org points out, there is a good reason for each of the basic emotions, both positive and negative:
nger: to fight against problemsFear: to protect us from danger Anticipation: to look forward and plan Surprise: to focus on new situations Joy: to remind us what’s important Sadness: to connect us with those we love Trust: to connect with people who help Disgust: to reject what is unhealthy
Without fear, would you be here today? Or would you have engaged in some risky practices, putting yourself in unnecessary danger? Without disgust, would you have been able to refrain from putting any of the many, many harmful substances that you had access to as a toddler?
As unpleasant as they may be, it can’t be denied that negative emotions serve important purposes in our lives.
Is it True that an Individual Will Only Feel Stress in Negative Situations?
Although you may think of stress as a solidly negative emotion or response to a situation, it’s actually quite common for people to experience stress in neutral and positive situations as well. In fact, many experiences commonly thought of as positive can contribute huge amounts of stress to our lives.
Here are just a few examples of positive experiences that can bring us stress:
Planning for an upcoming wedding The holidays—especially with family!Having a baby Starting an exciting new job
It’s perfectly natural to feel stress in all of these situations, even though you would probably classify them as happy and positive. It’s yet another example of the interplay between positive and negative that gives our lives balance.
Positive vs. Negative Emotions: A Look at the Differences
As we now know, positive and negative emotions are both vital for a healthy, well-rounded life. Let’s take a look at how emotions in both categories impact us.
How Do They Affect the Brain?
Positive and negative emotions both have important roles to play when it comes to the brain, but they are generally separate roles.
For example, positive emotions have been shown to impact the brain in the following ways:
They can increase our performance on a cognitive task by lifting our spirits without distracting us like negative emotions do (Iordan & Dolcos, 2017).
Positive emotions can trigger the reward pathways in the brain, contributing to lower levels of a stress hormone and greater well-being (Ricard, Lutz, &
Positive emotions may help us broaden our horizons and widen our brain’s scope of focus (Fredrickson, 2001).
Meanwhile, negative emotions are known to affect the brain in the following ways:
Facilitating emotional conflict processing, helping us to make sense of incongruent or conflicting emotional information; in other words, negative emotions can help us figure tough emotional problems
Facilitating cognitive conflict processing, aiding us in comprehending incongruent or conflicting cognitive information; in other words, negative emotions can also help us make sense when we receive confusing signals (Kanske & Kotz, 2010; 2011).
Reducing the experience of empathy, which can help protect us from getting too involved with others and stay focused on our goals (Qiao-Tasserit, Corradi-Dell’Acqua, & Vuilleumier, 2017).
Both have impactful roles to play in our brain, and these roles are complementary rather than competitive.
The Role of Both in Positive Psychology
Given the impact of positive and negative emotions on our thoughts and behaviors, it’s easy to see why positive psychology keeps a close eye on negative emotions in addition to the positive.
When we are able to accept, embrace, and exploit both our positive and our negative emotions, we give ourselves the best chance to live a balanced, meaningful life.
This is why the field of positive psychology is hesitant to focus too much on positive emotions alone—it is just as important to understand how to turn negative emotions into a positive experience as it is to capitalize on our positive emotions.
How Can We Best Track Our Emotions?
Now we know about the importance of accepting and managing our emotions—both positive and negative—the next question is how we actually do this If you need help identifying positive vs. negative emotions or tracking your own emotions, there are several charts that can help.
A Brief Look at Neutral Emotions
While positive and negative emotions have received substantial attention from researchers and psychology practitioners, there’s another category of emotions that have been all but ignored in many circles: neutral emotions.
You won’t hear much about these middle ground feelings from psychologists, but they are a much-discussed topic in some Buddhism circles. These emotions are referred to as adukkhamasukha, which can translate to “not painful not pleasant”.
They refer to “a range in the middle part of the spectrum of felt experience… between pain and pleasure… relatively bland and neither distinctly painful nor clearly pleasant”
Since neutral feelings are such a mundane topic for most of us, we rarely give them much thought; however, they may be the emotional category where we spend most of our time!
Think about your day: how much of it was spent in joy and contentment? How much in anger and sadness? The answer to those questions is likely to be far less time than you had in the day. The emotions you felt the rest of the time were likely neutral.
Although neutral feelings do not have a valence—positive or negative—some say that neutral feelings can be counted as positive feelings, since they are characterized by the absence of pain and suffering.
Whatever you believe about negative emotions, keep them in mind as an important, if oft-forgotten, piece of your emotional experience. Here is more reading about the Buddhist perspective on neutral emotions.
Lisa Turner explains the truth behind the pain we often feel and how these negative feelings are a result of love. So in answer to Tina Turner’s question ‘What’s Love got to do with it?’, when it comes to emotions, the answer is – quite a lot, actually!
Did you know, when you feel a negative emotion, what you actually feel as pain is the resistance to love? Those feelings inside are the result of your inner resistance to love. The label we give to a painful emotion refers to the way in which love is being removed from us or resisted.
Sadness comes from the loss of something or someone we love, Anger is the feeling that we were denied love, Fear is the feeling that we will lose love, Hurt is the feeling that another withheld love, or rejected our love, Guilt is the feeling that we didn’t love enough, didn’t give or show enough love
When love flows freely the feeling is good. When we give love and it is accepted and when we feel that we are loved and are able to accept it. When we don’t feel love being given and we want it, we feel it as pain.
So, how do you stop the pain?
Most people try to stop the pain by changing the outside, in other words they try to get others to change. Sometimes they even change the actual person.
The problem with this is that if you still have an underlying need for love, you will likely repeat the same pattern with different people. However if you change the inside, i.e. you alter your need to be shown or given love in a particular way, then the tension is gone.
Of course, you can still choose to accept love, and enjoy being loved, without it being a need. Without the tension of that unmet need, and the accompanying painful emotions, it makes it much easier for people to love you.
Think how much easier it is to feel love towards happy, cheerful people, and how much harder it is to care for people who are resentful, needy or demanding, or who are gloomy.
Thus, once it’s no longer a need, paradoxically, you’re more likely to get it. You show more love more willingly and you receive more love
M I Ro