Courtney Kidd LMSW

Courtney Kidd LMSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
TwitterFacebook Google web

Expressing Ourselves: Evolutions Of Emotions

Can we create new emotions? No, but we can become better at identifying them with the help of a design student who has created a map of complex and emotional states. Combining words and expressions from other countries, Pei-Ying Lin’s project Unspeakableness puts a visual on what we usually only talk about. Most of us are well versed with; happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited ,and a small number of others. Maybe on a good day we can recall; melancholic, morose, indignant or content, but it is a small spectrum that we usually draw from. Most of the time I can’t identity my feelings, they don’t fall into one blanket statement of “today I am happy” which switches after a stressful day to “now I am not sad.”

Feelings and emotions are too muddled for that. And our language doesn’t always reflect the complexity. Take “Gezelligheid,” a Dutch word on the map that identifies the “comfort and coziness of being at home, with friends, with loved ones, or general togetherness.” Then there is “Saudade” the “somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness. Longing for something that might never return. Yearning.” It is why our evolution must not forget to include the evolution of our language. This does not include a debasement of language, such as allowing lol, omg and other text/internet language to develop into acceptable formality, but the evolution that there are some things we try to say that are difficult to express in the words we are given.

Advertisement

A person who comes into our office, complaining that they’re not happy, might not be depressed, in the general sense, but feeling “Tocka.” A Russian belief of spiritual anguish, often without any cause. Ache of soul, a longing with nothing to long for.” Or the Japanese equivalent of “missing something. The sense of longing, being nostalgic for something, someone, or somewhere.” People don’t fit into boxes, and neither do emotions. How often must we describe our mood as “just off” because happy, sad, or the norm just won’t cut it?

I used to joke that sound effects were the better communicating factor of what emotion you are feeling than any word could. You hear a sigh of disappointment and not only can you recognize the emotion, but you empathize it more than hearing them say “I am disappointed.” A sharp intake of breath, or it’s hissing release through teeth all accompany a different complex emotional reaction to something, even without the word to speak it. Describing the effects of feelings can sometimes give a better idea. Ask someone what they are feeling and you might get one of the accepted words off the list or an non-descript version of “not so good.” Ask a person to describe a feeling, and suddenly imagery does the rest. “Why I feel as though an elephant is sitting on my chest, while my small gnomes play the drums on my heart and I can’t even grip my phone because I’m sweating so much.” Ah…so much clearer, you might be extremely anxious, or the Chinese word for “A mixture of uneasiness and worry, as if you can feel your own heart beat.”

And to close, quoting The Dead Poet’s Society- N.H. Kleinbaum
“Avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys- to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.”

By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer

Sources:

motivation by Jtneill

Advertisement

Latest Posts

offended
“I’m offended” is probably the most overused sentiment that I have come across in recent years. Of course, the underlying statement is really “I’m entitled,” and has little to do
Read More
15867683575_670a1ec196_children
I appreciated reading this blog post in the Huffington Post written by Mirah Riben, who has researched and written extensively about adoption for many years. All too often, adopted people are seen as “lucky” or “chosen.” Sometimes these comments are genuinely felt (if misguided) by the one bestowing said comment (who was probably not adopted), and sometimes they were an attempt to sugarcoat the realities of what it’s like to be adopted. Some people would tell me how lucky my daughter Casey was to be spirited out of a Polish orphanage to live a privileged life in Marin County, CA. I’d recoil at their suggestion. But I was certainly guilty of the later, trying to make Casey feel included without realizing how...
Read More
3989561028_025ce84e8f_adoption
It’s somehow fitting that this story – about the pending deportation of yet another American who was adopted into his family – is occurring during the 50th Anniversary of the Selma march. I’m not suggesting the two are exactly analogous. I am pointing out that there are many ...
Read More
5d7e8c449fd198a2_640_unity
Mildred “Mit” Joyner has thrown her hat into the ring seeking the vice presidency of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  The former president and board chair of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) recently retired from academia after a distinguished 25-year career at West Chester University in ...
Read More
13904683539_436db91849_house
"Dr. Crowley described the severity of the affordable housing shortage in America. She stated that nationally there are 10.3 million extremely low income renter households"
Read More
wounds of the father
Girls with childhoods like mine don’t live long and they don’t grow up to become doctors. They die young and if they happen to stay alive, they end up in
Read More
867e39207efb7206_640_new-york-city
Candice Odgers, Duke University One of New York City’s newest luxury apartment buildings recently started accepting applications for low-income renters who will use a controversial “poor door”
Read More
15534992149_ace2fce8cf_PTSD
David J. Morris, a former Marine infantry officer and a reporter in some of the most violent regions of the Iraq war, blacked out while watching a movie and ran out of the theater, only to regain awareness of himself in the lobby as he anxiously scanned other patrons for ...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *