Throughout my life, I have always lived by a set of rules that governed my choices. Some may suggest that my decisions were motivated by my principles, values and my own belief systems. Others may suggest that my decisions were based off of my urges, pleasures and my need to please my desires. The difference between the two ideas are that principles and values are fundamental truths that serves as the foundation for a system of behavior for a chain of reasoning. While decisions based on urges are decisions based on impulse and desires. As in, "I want my money and I want it now." I often tell people that I do not rely on my emotions and my feelings. It is not that I do not trust my emotions and my feelings, it is more so the inability to stop and think rationally when experiencing an emotion that makes my emotions (at that time) unreliable.
Now here is an example. A few years ago I met this man. This man was , handsome, intelligent, a very good consult and mentor. It was at that same time, I was undergoing a transition in my life and he was always there for me. The more issues that presented, the closer we became. This man later grew to be my best friend. I loved him as a brother and he loved me as a sister. Not surprisingly, I started having romantic feelings for him. I started to desire him outside of our friendship and I did not know what to do. I struggled with my emotions for him and would on occasion get so emotional that i gave my self a deadline to express to him how I felt. When others would ask me, why have you not I told him how you feel? I would reply, my feelings are not reliable so I have to wait until I am thinking more rational to determine my next best step. What I did not realize was that as I was trying to figure out my emotions for this man, my actions and my behaviors changed with him. The once solid friendship became an inconsistent and emotional experience for not only me but him as well. A man that grew to know me so well, reached a point where he no longer knew me because I was fighting an emotion that I deemed unreliable. I became someone different trying to mask my emotions for him.
Now you may ask what does this have to do with values and principles? If values and principles govern my decisions, what is it about this man that made emotions for him unreliable? It is easy to explains an impulsive act of emotion with anger, pride, jealousy but what happens when it is an emotional decision that may cost you a reliable relationship? Is a friendship more important than pursuing a romantic relationship? Can you rely on your feelings when it is a person that is supporting you through a difficult season? Often times this dilemma may present in a multiple relationship dynamics. However it is our values, principles and beliefs that creates that boundary that governs our decisions to not only identify and process the emotion but to also rationally move forward with the emotion.