Which Came First?

On a Radiant magazine blog today, Anna Broadway asks the question, via John Cusack in High Fidelity, “Do we listen to the music because we’re depressed, or are we depressed because we listen to the music?”

Her point relates to a great presentation I heard from formerly honored Rare Rock Barb Wise a few months ago. Barb uses a couple of guys from her audience and a white pedestal to explain her concept of how our emotions are directly related to  our decisions. She puts one guy on the pedestal (a representation of our hearts) and starts telling him how much she has thought about him lately. She bought his favorite candy bars for him and uses his favorite color pen to take all her notes in school. She told all her friends how great he is and put his picture up in her locker so she can see him all the time. Barb turns to the audience and asks, “Right now, are my emotions for this guy going up or going down?”

Then Barb pretends to notice the other guy standing off to the side. She starts to comment about how he’s kind of cute and maybe she’ll start buying him a candy bar once in awhile. And then she finds out his favorite color and starts using it for homework. And so on. She asks the audience, “What is happening to my emotions of this guy on the pedestal? They are going down. And my emotions for the guy standing there? Going up.”

It is a simple example, but the point is clear. We make unconscious decisions everyday that affect our emotions. Unfortunately, in our culture, we are trained to make decisions based on our emotions. One of the most dangerous phrases in our language is the term “falling in love.” Where did this come from? (Seriously, this is a real question if anyone has an answer.)

As a single, I remember being confused by this focus on feelings of love. I would fall for a guy and not understand why our relationship was not working out. Surely, God would not give me emotions of love if we were not supposed to be together, right? I mean, I’ve prayed and prayed that God would take away the emotions if we weren’t meant for each other. Since I still feel “in love” that means God is saying YES, right?

Anyone who is happily married would have told me, Are you crazy!? Feelings are directly related to our personal decisions. I was spending all my time thinking about that guy, dreaming about what our life together would look like. I became interested in his interests. I made decisions for him constantly – of course I was going to develop feelings for him.

So, what do you think? Is it the music? In another post I’ll discuss this feelings/decisions relationship and its power for good, but today I want to know what you think about the problems we face as women, as Rare Rocks, based on this concept.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Which Came First?

  1. I like to think of myself as an advocate for emotions. I believe in them. They can be very real and God both gave them to us, and He uses them. BUT, I totally get this. Movies really mess with women when it comes to the concept of a soul mate, because if you believe the movies – you never know when he is going to come; it might be AFTER you are already basically committed to someone else. I really like to believe in the soul mate idea – I want to believe I’m married to mine! But the happily ever after comes becomes you choose the ever after, not because you stumbled upon the happily in the beginning.

  2. Andrea

    One phrase you made that jumped out to me is in the 5th paragraph where you said, ” I remember being confused by this FOCUS ON FEELING in love.” Perhaps the word focus there says a great deal. In any situation, isn’t it what we choose to focus on that will determine our choices, reactions…..? If you focus on your feelings aren’t they going to be the controling factor in decisions, choices, etc?

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