Emotions: To Trust or Not to Trust?

Emotions. Can we trust them or not trust them? That seems to be a relevant question today where we are becoming more in touch with the world of our emotions, particularly through the rise of mental health awareness.

I know what Christians have typically taught regarding this question. You cannot trust your emotions. They are too fickle, too much of the flesh, of the soul. We need to be spirit-people. Things of that nature. And these are statements I have encountered myself.

But here’s the problem, one from the very start: The use of the word trust found within the statement, “You cannot trust your feelings.”

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The Voice of the Heart

Chip Dodd is a trained counselor who founded The Center for Professional Excellence and Sage Hill: A Social Impact Organization (the latter essentially a counseling center). As his website bio states, Dodd helps professionals in all walks of life gain recovery from addiction, depression, anxiety and other behavioral disorders.

Out of this focus, Chip Dodd has given us his most known work, The Voice of the Heart: A Call to Full Living. In it he explores what he (and others) identifies as the eight core feelings: hurt, lonely, sad, anger, fear, shame, guilt, and glad. As he states in the preface:

“These eight core feelings are the beginning of the expression of all human emotional experience. From these core feelings we can expand the expression to name conditions of the heart such as awe, grief, envy, anxiousness, depression, revenge, delight, and boredom.” (XI)

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