Emotions? What are Those?

In recent months I have learnt something not as interesting about myself as a person. Through my associations; family, friendships and to a larger extend my relationships; I have on more than enough occasions come through as a very emotionless person, especially in situations when I am required to just sit, listen and offer that thing they call moral support… sympathy or something like that… Most of the time when someone has gone through something troubling and just wanted me to listen or just be there I have always taken a very practical and logical approach to offering help… solution. 

The most reasonable approach to issues at hand has always been offering logistical support, financial at times when I can and thought out scenarios of how to get past something that’s happened or failed to in my school of thought, and operations. As such I attach almost zero emotional engagement in issues to levels that people expect me to. 

Sometime back in May, of course after another failed attempt to offer solution to an issue that mattered to a friend, I decided to take keen interest in why my natural sense of solution is from the mind and not the heart. At about the same time of the said realization, my workplace had arranged for a team building session that was focused heavily on understanding colleagues’ temperaments and personality types. We did several exercises and eventually did a test whose results came to group all employees in four different personality types. I found myself in the Perfect Choleric personality type, which helped explain many things with regards to the way I approach issues. As usual, my ever inquisitive mind didn’t settle for long before that theory from the good team building stopped making sense. 

On Friday night, I met a very interesting and engaging Sri Lankan lady through my heart throb over dinner. In the usual pleasantries and my many ‘Allan Shore moments (endless speeches)’ talking about Economics and Politics in Sri Lanka, India and the larger Asia in comparison to Kenya and Africa, we somehow landed on temperaments and sympathy, or is it empathy? One of those things, I am not good with understanding feelings as you may have gathered so far…   

A very interesting revelation came through that I have not managed to shake off yet. I now believe that the way I react to things and situations in my life has everything to do with being taken to boarding school in class one. Yes it does. Let’s look back at some of the things I have had problems with all along;


 Boarding School; in my school, spotting a teacher was as good as spotting a whip. You were never going to hug a teacher, never ever. You were never going to hug a girl either, much as it was a mixed school, I am pretty sure I remember some character called Julian from my class being suspended for hugging a girl… back then it was said he had sex with a girl… I am not kidding… 

School was always survival. Weather a standard one kid was waking up at 4AM to queue for water from taps that ran dry at 6AM, to trying to hold your ‘box’ together from mean kids who did a butterfly opening to pick out goodies such as biscuits… to learning to look perfect for the sanitary inspection even when your shirt hadn’t seen water for more that three days… The orientation was squarely for survival, finding logical means to an end. 

Parenthood; as said in this post; I don’t even remember hugging my parents. The other day we passed by an aunt’s place with the Mrs to visit a close sick relative… I stood there and offered mum the usual businesslike handshake, as my girlfriend moved in for a hug! How now? As in you just move in he heee… Well, she is a touchy person… but still, my orientation never made that a necessity.  

Performance; I am pretty sure if Performance contracting was as alive as is today when I was growing up, Dad would have arranged for PowerPoint presentations at home with clear roadmaps towards getting ‘A’s’ and excelling in school. I grew up in an environment so academic oriented, everything was a process towards a greater goal. The last I remember of an emotional activity with my father was playing a tennis match at the backyard, which he let me win just coz he had kicked my behind in over 4 sets. 

Anyway, the small talk with the good Sri Lankan lady dwelled on global issues but deep down it invoked a thought that I have had in mind several days now. I am not such an emotional being as many would expect that I be heavily because of my upbringing and more so the personality I have embraced through. I am still the guy who is going to worry about people’s feeding, sitting and sleeping arrangements when everyone else is comforting the bereaved… I am the guy who will be making sure the music is right, the drinks are flowing and the bites are yummy at a party… Unless I am seriously knocking myself out with some Heineken and being the party, I will probably be drawing my enjoyment from seeing people themselves…I fix stuff, I don’t express how I feel mostly… 

So, I am I going to change anything? Well, I wouldn’t really bother but I also care, somehow, so for situations that matter, I am always someone to make effort. I hope I can manage to walk past thinking emotional engagement is an admission of weakness… It’s what I have always known… Or is it? Oh, and I know, I am never taking my kids to boarding school at the age I was taken… and I will eeeh, hopefully marry someone emotional, for the sake of the kids ha haaaa! Ok, this wasn’t a serious post 🙂


2 thoughts on “Emotions? What are Those?

  1. I came in it was green, while commenting it turned gray on me. Coming from a family that believes in the proverbial 11 hugs for overall happiness, I find it shocking that you would meet your Mom and not feel the need to hug them. But then, the other day a friend asked me what a good hug should feel like, so you’re not too bad after all.

    Expression of emotion to some extent is an admission of dependence, and I find that people who had to be independent very young will have issues with that, coupled with the ‘African’ orientation that men are supposed to be strong.

    You’re right in not sending your children to boarding school (IMO at all), because it’s good when a parent regulates the amount of dependence a child has on them, as opposed to where they’re let out into the wild and have to fend for themselves.

    Next time please hug your mother, don’t make your girlfriend look bad 🙂

  2. The first time I hugged my mom was two months ago. I moved out of town, hadn’t seen her in months. Even then, it’s because it was at a childhood friend of mine’s wedding, and all my friends hugged her so it would be weird if I didn’t hug her. It was much more weird to hug her. I understand you.

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