Building Our Lives One Emotion At A Time - Let's Start With Envy

Our emotions build from infancy. Our socialization and outward emotional predispositions begin in the first few months, and continue to develop throughout our lives. This is where our strategies for regulating and expressing emotion are out of beta testing and our lives are built one emotion at a time. 

We usually talk about the exploration of travel as a tool to chase your adventure. What we don't often dive into is emotion. But anyone who has ever traveled, knows it can be a practice of emotional control. University of Glasgow scientists suggest we only have six emotions; happy, surprise, afraid, disgusted, angry and sad. Travelers and playful linguists make their own emotional vocabulary for life on the road. A few of our favorites.

  • Voy·a·ggro – The dread we feel knowing we have to endure hours of indignity and boredom before we can finally get to our destination.
  • Mun·dan·a·morph·o·sis – That moment on the last day of vacation when your mind slips out of relaxation mode and starts thinking about what awaits you back home.
  • Grat·i·ca·tion – That feeling of satisfaction you get when you arrive home after a long trip and realize that it was entirely worth it and want to start planning your next adventure.

We both love and fear emotion. They take us around the world, from humor and infatuation, to isolation and anxiety. Babies show interest, distress, disgust, and happiness from birth. They are also able to read and recognize emotion from us. With time we tend to mute some of those emotions to live more "comfortably". And as we get older negative emotions can take hold, like envy. NPR's recent Hidden Brain Podcast describes this invasive and transitional emotion like this, "Envy: it's an unflattering, miserable emotion. And it's universal. All of us, at some time or another, will experience that feeling of wanting what someone else has, and resenting them for having it."

As the podcast's host Shankar Vedantam says, this particular emotion goes even deeper into what is called, scha·den·freu·de, a pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune. Because human emotions are universal, we try to define and understand them. 

I invite you to listen to the full podcast on envy, "Counting Other People's Blessings" and dive into your emotional development. Here at the Wild, we focus on personal and professional development through various outlets of holistic healing. Creating an overall sense of well-being and breaking negative cycles benefits the individual and the societies we live in. Tackling uncomfortable and normal emotions like envy, is a great start. We can define our emotions and our purpose.