Do Emotions Have Purpose?

Emotions Have Purpose

Emotion warns us about what is happening in our world, both good and bad. Emotions flag us that we are in danger or in love. Dr. Robert C. Solomon has written at length of emotions being intelligent engagements with the world. I would add, engagements with the world inside us as well as outside ourselves. Therefore, if you train yourself and your child to react constructively to the world inside as well as the world outside, you and they are gaining an understanding of emotion that will lead to intelligent emotional choices. Therefore, emotions have purpose.

What Purposes Do Emotions Serve?

Now that we have established that emotions have purpose, let’s examine some of those purposes.

First, Emotions Have Purpose in Developing Our Strengths

Each temperament is made up of different strengths.  And those strengths are driven by different emotions.  If we want the best results, we must use our emotions for the purpose of developing our strengths.

Emotions Have Purpose to Reinforce Our Values

All of our values have emotional content or they wouldn’t become our values. Importance, worth, usefulness, and accuracy are four of the standards that turn beliefs into values. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the value is to us.

Emotions Have Purpose to Motivate

Motivating us and helping us motivate others is one of emotion’s great services. Motivation is essential to both personal and social life. The most effective motivation is achieved when an intense emotion is cultivated to reinforce our strength. and we feel doubly energized.

Emotions Have Purpose in Creating Pleasure or Pain

Emotion creates a sense of pleasure or pain.  Pleasure is for the joy we need.  And pain’s purpose is to educate and shape us. Admittedly, both pleasure and pain can become excessive and damaging.  But what would life look like without them?

Emotions Have Purpose in Giving Vitality and Meaning to Our Lives

Emotion fuels all of our actions or thoughts to give them vitality and meaning.

Albert Camus, a French philosopher who wrote the famous novel L’Etranger (which describes life as having no sense, useless, and meaningless — a very depressive, existentialist, nihilistic view) surprisingly sees emotion as one of the redeeming factors of human life, making us truly and authentically human. However, he contradicts himself because emotion has meaning and life can never be meaningless with it. At least he makes the point that even if we see no meaning in life, emotion can awaken it. Emotions may drive us to depression, but they can also lift us out.

Yes, emotions have purpose — extraordinary purpose in our lives.  Without them, our lives would have no meaning and we could not define the worth of anything.  For those who fear, suppress, or try to avoid their emotions and for those who do not respect emotion, let that sink in.  Emotions make our lives rich!


Intelligently Emotional Book CoverMy hope is that this book will lead you, as its content has led many others, to be intelligently emotional. If it helps you to develop the intelligent use of your emotions and a rewarding lifestyle, my labor will not have been in vain.  You can access it HERE.  If you are subscribed to our weekly updates, our next issue will provide a link to purchase it with a 15% discount and free shipping.




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