As you may already know, there are 6 Primary Emotions, 3 Bitter and 3 Sweet. The Bitter Primary Emotions are Anger, Sadness and Fear. The Sweet Primary Emotions are Love, Joy and Surprise. Underlying the Primary Emotions are Secondary and Tertiary Emotions with each tier bringing a greater level of granularity. As we go deeper into our expression of Emotions, we realize our feelings are often more complicated than what we express on the surface, the surface being our Primary Emotions. For example, I am sure many of you have been on one side or another of the conversation “Do you love me?” Love is the Primary Emotion, and thus very broad. Saying “I love you” can mean many things depending on the context and the people in the relationship. It can mean lust when your love is about sexual passion. It can mean affection when you are talking to your younger sibling. It can mean longing as in missing your partner in a romantic relationship. As you see these layers more narrowly, “Do you love me?” can become a tricky question to navigate, especially if you are not sure of your deeper Emotions.
The scenario explained does not just apply to Love. It applies to all the Emotions. Joy can be comprised of Pride just as easily as it can be comprised of Relief, Delight or Hope. Surprise can be comprised of Amazement or Astonishment. All very different feelings, when you get down to it, and all part of a respective single Primary Emotion.
If they are so granular, why not stick to Tertiary Emotions?
Well… to start, I don’t think “I care for you” or “I am infatuated with you” has the same potency as saying “I love you”. Try it on your significant other and see how that goes.
As individuals, we have developed a short-cut by using Primary Emotions when sharing how we feel with others. We do this because most of us are not aware of how our Emotions are arranged. Our Tertiary Emotions tend to all jumble together and not stick out as clearly as our Primary Emotions because we often experience multiple Tertiary Emotions at once. When we tell our significant other we love them, it means lust, passion, caring, compassion and tenderness all at the same time! But when was the last time you broke your feelings down to that level? Unless you are actively in therapy, you most likely haven’t – ever!
Thinking about feelings and emotions at a granular level can create a traffic jam effecting you physically and mentally. If you are feeling so many things at once, it makes it hard to communicate and hard to understand what you are truly feeling. So, instead of answering the question, “Do you love me?” by saying, “Well, I care for you, long for you when you are away and feel tremendous passion for you,” usually we say something closer to “Yes, I love you!” and it all works out.
By understanding our Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Emotions, we create a more sophisticated way of relating to ourselves and those around us. By using The BitterSweet Score Assessment Tool, you can learn how to unravel the complexity of your feelings and how they relate to your Primary Emotions. By understanding what Primary Emotion is dominating your feelings, you can learn how to use its power to make better decisions.
Tell us about your traffic jams and the sticky situations you have landed in. We’d love to hear your stories!