Some say they’re a fad, popular among millennials and hipsters. Others that they’ve been around for centuries. But love ‘em, or hate ‘em, you can’t deny that emotions are more popular than ever.
I myself can think of three, without research, right off the top of my head.
Experts suggest there may be as many as four or five more.
This rise in popularity of human emotion is thought to be linked to an increased propensity for people to behave like utter bastards, and crucially, in a very visible way.
It’s the fault of social media, is what I’m saying.
When you’re very angry, and also rendered speechless by some dick being a dick, it can sometimes be tricky to compose yourself long enough to select the appropriate emotion in response. So someone in Silicon Valley saw the gap in the market, invented emojis, and the rest is history.
Emojis rendered all our emotions pictorial – branded them, essentially – and they caught on like wildfire. Because we’re a very visual generation, and our emotions are now available in a format we’re comfortable with, we’re ready to emote at the drop of a smart phone onto a tiled floor.
As a dad, of course, I had the world of emotion thrust upon me some years ago.
I’d been happily bumbling along for years, largely dismissing emotions in favour of a stiff upper lip and poor mental health. And then kids came along, and life became an assault course of emotional highs and lows.
Thank goodness I’ve got emojis to do the admin for me.
In fact, thinking about it, my kids came along at about the time when emojis entered our general consciousness; frankly, it’s impossible to know whether my kids, or the emojis, opened the floodgates.
I guess we’ll never know for sure.
What I do know, is that although parenting involves a lot of feeling of emotions, it involves plenty of suppressing them too.
Not the big ones, of course – there’s no need to suppress things like love, and happiness. I’m thinking about the mundane, day to day emotions.
Like when I have a ten minute Mexican stand-off with my seven-year-old about the fact that they’re sure to like (insert suitably exotic food here) if they’ll just try it. Because what’s not to like. And I spent ages cooking it, etc, etc.
Then they try it, and like it, and I’m somehow supposed to not be smug*.
Apparently being smug does not constitute ‘good parenting.’
I’m told that jumping up from the dinner table, performing a victory dance around your belligerent child, and chanting “in your FACE, tiny human!” doesn’t feature in any of the parenting books sitting unopened on my bedside table.
So I suppress it.
I bury it deep inside my soul, where it ferments and stews, for eventual slow-release in the form of a variety of unresolved father-son issues.
It’s all well and good raising children with high levels of emotional intelligence, but what about mine? Who is going to tell me they understand my pent-up issues and talk me down from the brink of an embolism?
In the end, all we can conclude for sure is that both emojis, and having kids, leads to more emotion: good emotion; bad emotion; expressed emotion; suppressed emotion; fake emotion; pent-up emotion.
And on balance, that’s (probably) a good thing.
* Is ‘smug’ an emotion? I suppose it comes down to whether it has been expressed in the form of the emoji – the true, definitive catalogue of human feeling. For the purposes of this piece I’m gonna say yes…it is definitely an emotion.
(Images: via pixabay.com)