The Effect of Emotion on Language

“My emotions got the best of me.”

If that isn’t a ludicrous shifting of blame to an unassailable, non-existent entity, I don’t know what it is. The statement suggests emotions are entirely separate from the person experiencing them. Yet it’s frequently used as an excuse.

A more honest statement might be, “I gave myself permission to behave without restraint and without regard to the consequences of my behavior or its impact on others.” Admittedly, it’s a more difficult sentence and doesn’t so readily shed personal blame, but it’s more true to reality, I think. It’s something like, “My dog at my homework,” but with the addition of, “after I steeped it in beef broth and put it on top of the kibble in his bowl.”

Perhaps the difference between accepting responsibility and accepting blame is akin to admitting to negligent homicide versus copping to premeditated murder. In my admittedly jaundiced view of the world, accepting responsibility implies honor in admitting a mistake; accepting blame suggests disgrace in admitting the discovery of malicious intent.

And these are the topics on my mind this morning, subjects that may find their way into my writing in some form or fashion when I write something of substance.  I entitled this post “The Effect of Emotion on Language.” That title suggests something altogether different from what I wrote, doesn’t it?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to The Effect of Emotion on Language

  1. Millie says:

    I love your straight-from-the-gut honesty. Makes your writing powerful. You are Rambo with a pen.

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