Once we connect with our emotions, we connect with something universal.
Everyone has times in which they feel angry, sad, joyful, or fearful. The better we get at sensing them, the better we become able to share them and to empathize with others. The emotions you’ve experienced are experienced similarly by others. As Paul Ekman described it, these emotions can also be recognized independently from cultures. It is like colors, we have a label for them that allows us to share them with others. We can also learn to see them happening in others. There might still be nuances, but we recognize them.
It’s a way to see how humans are alike. That we are not different from one another.
What makes people different are all the other things like the context they grew up in, their experience, or moods. Most of the moods we experience result from the way we’ve grown up. They integrate the worldviews we developed and the belief system we have. They are a state we step into that connects closely with the stories we tell ourselves. The longer a mood lasts, the longer we are debating with ourselves if one of these stories has been validated or not. We process something connected with the past or the future that is based on our experience. It all makes moods somehow murky and difficult to describe or identify.
Moods are a very personal experience. Not to be confused with emotions, however, they also may be experienced within a mood. But it takes more work to identify the emotions as the mood will often integrate them into the mix of feelings they consist of.
The complexity of moods makes it difficult to process them as quickly as emotions.
It’s worth it to remember to distinguish both and do the work to identify emotions within moods. It’s a step forward to empathizing with others and to develop emotional intelligence.