We have all experienced situations in which our feelings were confused as they went one way but also another.
These are the feelings. We will try to better understand what this phenomenon consists of, by reviewing some examples and everyday situations. We will also learn some of the psychological mechanisms behind it and how to deal with them.
What are the feelings?
We speak of opposing feelings when a person experiences ambivalent emotions when faced with a stimulus, be it a situation, a person, an animal or an object. This element would generate in this individual a multiple emotivity, thus making him feel sensations which seem to go in different directions and sometimes even seem completely opposite, like love and hate.
Faced with such a situation, the person feels confused because the feelings generate instability because the individual loses the advice that the emotions normally provide him. In these cases, he does not know how to act according to the emotion they are feeling, because it is not one, but they are two and sometimes even more or they are so diffuse that he is unable to l ‘identify.
To experience opposite feelings is therefore to go through an emotional maze that tires the mind of what you are going through because you have to live with very different feelings around an element of your life. Some encourage him to approach while others order him to do the opposite. Faced with such a situation, it is logical that the person feels this disorientation.
Why does this psychological phenomenon occur?
But how can such a paradoxical situation, that of feelings, occur in a rational being like humans? The answer is simple. As rational as we are, we also continue to be emotional beings. Reason is governed by logical laws, but emotions are not. Although we can modulate – (precisely by reason), sometimes it is very difficult to control the appearance of a particular emotion.
Life is extremely complex. There are so many variables that affect each stimulus that it often happens that certain parts related to that particular element are pleasing to us and therefore push us to approach it, while at the same time there are dimensions of it. . aversive towards us, causing rejection.
What happens then? Does the person get carried away by one emotion or another? He will usually win the most intense, unless reason has something to say about it.. This is where our rational part comes in. It is easier for this to happen the less the emotion we are trying to “beat” has strength, for if it increases in both intensity and overflow, even the emotion that we are trying to ‘beat’ has strength. reason could be compromised.
The feelings occur a lot more times than we realize, but in most cases one of the emotions is significantly more intense than the other, so the weaker ones will be eclipsed and sometimes we don’t even detect it. not.
What to do about feelings
We have already seen what it means to have feelings and the discomfort that can sometimes be generated by the person experiencing them. What could a person in this situation do to feel better? First, it would be positive for the person to spend time doing an introspection exercise that would allow them to identify all the emotions you are experiencing.
Now is not the time to judge whether each of these emotions is inherently good or bad. Once we have completed the list, we can repeat the exercise, this time thinking of a specific situation in which this stimulus has been present. Now is the time to explore the feelings further and assess whether each of these emotions was triggered by the stimulus or by the situation itself.
We will continue to investigate to find out exactly what made us feel the way we identified. To do this, we can write in another column what we think is the origin of each of these sensations, so that we can see exactly where it is coming from and verify that we have not automatically attributed any to the stimulus d. ‘origin.
At this point, we may realize that a certain emotion that caused us discomfort was not directly from the element we believed in, but had been generated by a contextual situation and we automatically associated it with the stimulus.
In the case of people and feelings towards them, we can fall into the so-called transference process, which involves ascribing emotions that were actually brought on by another person, just because they remind us of them. In these cases, it also helps to do that soul-searching that we were talking about and check whether the feelings are genuine for that individual or are actually generated by a third party.
After exploring the origins of the feelings found, it’s time to try to find a solution.. If we have identified an emotion that is unpleasant to us, we can go to the source to try to transform it into one that is more positive for us. For example, if a negative feeling comes from a specific comment that a person has made to us at some point, we can try to talk to that person about it.
Another good exercise is to make assumptions about scenarios where we explore the pros and cons of each solution that comes to mind. For example, we can assess the consequences of telling the person who offended us what made us feel, the consequences of talking to a third party, the consequences of doing nothing, etc.
This way we will have all the information on the table to be able to make an informed decision. So we can choose the path that convinces us the most, and we will even have the other options ready in case the first election did not prosper and we still have unresolved feelings.
The work of soul-searching is very powerful and productive, but sometimes we may need the help of someone outside of this whole situation to find new perspectives that may elude us. That is why we must not exclude the seek objectivity given by an outside individual if we believe that the work we are doing is not producing the good results we expect.
In cases where the situation causes great discomfort and we cannot find this improvement, the counselor we seek cannot be other than a psychotherapist. No doubt that with the tools that this professional will provide you, the person will find the relief they need.
The case of cognitive dissonance
We have toured the different facets of opposing feelings as well as the methodology to be able to resolve them as satisfactorily as possible. Now let’s move on to the case of cognitive dissonance, a phenomenon which, although having different nuances, has a lot to do with opposing feelings, so it deserves a separate mention.
Cognitive dissonance also involves discomfort in the individual, but in this case it is generated by the tension between two or more conflicting thoughts or beliefs in relation to a given situation or stimulus. We can therefore see its resemblance to the subject of this article.
It is a concept invented by Leon Festinger and refers to the need for consistency that human beings have between what they feel, what they think and what they do, that is to say between the beliefs, thoughts and behaviors. When this consistency is compromised, for example because we are forced to perform a task that goes against what we think, it is when cognitive dissonance arises.
this dissonance this can lead the person to try to be wrong, into believing that the behavior they are adopting actually feels right to them., Because their beliefs were wrong. He tries to put the pieces together in a way that reduces the discomfort he suffers from, which is why one of the ways he uses it is by lying, by deception.
Therefore, cognitive dissonance would be an independent psychological phenomenon but would have some relation to the feelings found, although these would differ fundamentally in that, as the name suggests, they refer only to feelings or emotions.
- Aronson, E. (1969). Cognitive Dissonance Theory: A Current Perspective. Advances in experimental social psychology.
- Carrera, P., Caballero, A., Sánchez, F., Blanco, A. (2005). Mixed emotions and risky behavior. Latin American Journal of Psychology. Foundation of Konrad Lorenz University.
- Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford University Press.
- Garrido-Rojas, L. (2006). Affection, emotion and emotional regulation. Health implications. Latin American Journal of Psychology. Foundation of Konrad Lorenz University.
- Schneider, IK, Schwarz, N. (2017). Mixed feelings: the case of ambivalence. Current opinion in behavioral science. Elsevier.