The Human’s Obsession with Logic and Rationalization
In today’s world, we, human beings, are taught to rationalize everything. In many ways, logic has become beneficial to developing new ideas, encouraging critical thinking, and understanding the world a little better. However, we’ve become obsessed with using logic and reason to make sense about our feelings and emotions. We’ve forgotten how to listen to our instincts and accept our feelings for what they are.
Rationalization has become one of the most important pillars of how things should be. While logic plays an important role in distinguishing what is and isn’t moral, it also creates unhealthy expectations, norms, and cultures. Why do you think there are so many people who are ashamed of admitting they are lonely? There’s technology and social media that can connect us constantly, yet why do we feel so empty and alone? Why do you think so many people are afraid and ashamed of admitting that they are depressed and have considered committing suicide? Why do you think there are so many people afraid of intimacy, of commitment, of expressing how they truly feel, of saying, “I love you, I miss you”?
Because they believe these feelings are wrong.
Logically speaking, we should not express how we really feel if it deviates from what we see every day: posting happy pictures and status updates on Facebook and newly acquired job positions on LinkedIn. Even though it’s not explicitly said, there is a hidden rule that unhappy, negative feelings are unwelcomed, bad, and even wrong to feel and express.
Being vulnerable–for the longest time–has been seen as a weakness. While we are becoming more aware that vulnerability is actually a strength, we, human beings, are habitual beings. We form routines, habits, and repetitive behaviors because it’s what we’re taught and how we’re wired–whether intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously. It’s difficult to break these habits. It takes months, years, decades, and maybe even centuries to break these toxic habits. But weakness is not wrong. In fact, being true to how you really feel and being able to express it is strength. It takes courage in this world, a world so obsessed with categorizing what is right or wrong, to say, “This is how I really feel.”
In a way, we’ve become brainwashed to automatically rationalize our emotions. We constantly start our sentences with, “Maybe if . . . ” or “I shouldn’t be . . . ” instead of listening to our initial gut reaction and simply accepting how we feel. We’re constantly ashamed, and even afraid, to tap into our true emotions–which are usually our darkest emotions. We’re obsessed about doing what’s right in a universal aspect, rather than doing what’s right for you–for us–as human beings. And as human beings, we are full of emotions that we should acknowledge, welcome, and accept no matter what.
Are you a jealous girlfriend or boyfriend and ashamed of admitting that?
Are you refraining yourself from falling in love because you’re afraid of losing control over yourself, of really experiencing what it’s like to fall in love?
Are you afraid of feeling pure, true happiness, because maybe you never thought it existed?
Are you ashamed of admitting that you’re depressed, that you feel isolated, and you’ve wanted to kill yourself before–because depression has been so stigmatized, because it’s been rationalized as a disease, that something might be wrong with you?
Are you afraid of being true to yourself because you’re afraid it’s wrong to be who you are and how you feel?
Have you ever told yourself, “I shouldn’t feel this way”?
We as human beings need to stop obsessing over what should and shouldn’t be, how we should and shouldn’t feel, what is right or wrong to feel. Emotions are nuanced for that very reason–it cannot be argued against, it cannot be categorized as good or bad. Emotions just are. We just feel. Nothing more.
I understand the value of logic, how it can help us guide to ethics, to decisions, and to creating new inventions that can benefit humanity. In fact, logic comforts us. It fills in the gaps of uncertainty and mystery. It simplifies life. However, it should only be used as just a guide. If we constantly rationalize our feelings, we are not truly accepting how we feel. And if we don’t accept how we truly feel, then we are ultimately not accepting ourselves.
For those of you who are reading this and what I wrote resonates with you, stop fighting your emotions and stop rationalizing and judging how you feel and what you shouldn’t do. No matter how “wrong” it could feel, tell the person you’ve always wanted to tell them you love them that you do. If you’ve been feeling isolated and depressed, tell your friends and family members that this is how you’ve been feeling. If you know you made a mistake and want to apologize, then apologize. If you’ve been fighting against your own emotions, stop fighting. Let yourself feel and try to not reason with it. Just accept that you feel this way without judging yourself, without rationalizing what is right or wrong.
Overall, I believe we need to be better at listening to our gut instincts and not judging them and rationalizing them at all.
Allow yourself to just feel. Allow yourself to accept how you feel. Ultimately, allow yourself to be true to yourself. Let go of all rationalization, expectations, and judgments. Maybe then we’ll be able to fully and unapologetically be ourselves, be present with our emotions, and really understand what is right for you instead of feeling pressured to do what everyone else thinks is right.
*Note: I know I’ve generalized a lot by saying “human beings” and “we,” but I only speak from my experience with the majority of people I know. I understand that everyone is different and might not feel that they are part of the “we” I am talking about.*