What is a Counterfeit Emotion?Sep 06, 2023
Unmasking the Deceptive Feelings that create destructive patterns of disconnection in our lives
Connection is why we’re here; it gives purpose and meaning to our lives.
~ Brene Brown
Counterfeit Emotions are sneaky masquerading emotions that disconnect from life. Every Authentic Emotion has a counterfeit, except for one. Staying in authenticity is key to finding a singular emotion - Peace. Every day we experience a wide array of feelings. We are emotional beings and can't escape these feelings. We were never meant to. These emotions range from happiness and love to anger and sadness. These emotions are an integral part of the human experience, helping us navigate life's twists and turns.
However, not all emotions serve us. Not all are as genuine as they appear. These are the counterfeits we need to root out of our lives to find true peace and joy. We need to eliminate them as surely as we would eliminate a counterfeit $100 bill.
Understanding Counterfeit and Authentic Emotions
Counterfeit emotions wear a mask of authenticity, making it challenging to distinguish them from the real authentic emotions. The reason they are so dangerous is because they are so hard to spot. It is easy to identify an opposite emotion like Love vs. Hate. Because we've been taught opposite emotions our whole lives and they are easy to distinguish, we are not going to discuss them here. Instead, we are going to focus on the tricky emotions that show up in our lives as counterfeits. They often masquerade as genuine feelings but create destructive patterns of disconnection in our lives. Don’t mistake a counterfeit emotion for an opposite emotion. A counterfeit looks, acts, and feels like the original emotion. The opposite emotion is on the other end of the spectrum from the authentic.
To truly understand counterfeit emotions, it's crucial to differentiate between the two. There are four essential criteria to make this distinction:
- Connection: Authentic emotions connect us to ourselves, others, God, and the truth. Counterfeit emotions, on the other hand, disconnect us, creating rifts in our relationships and destablize us mentally.
- Direction: Authentic emotions lead us forward, upward, and bring us together. They propel us toward growth, positivity, and unity. Counterfeit emotions have a singular direction - they loop back to themselves, creating a never-ending cycle of negativity. The counterfeits need more of themselves to survive. For example, shame needs more shame to exist. Misery loves company because without more misery it will die. Lies necessitate more lies. Counterfeit emotions merely feed themselves, relying on more of the same emotion to sustain their existence. The counterfeits are a circular trap, an insidious whirlpool that drags us downward.
- Motivation: Authentic emotions are based in Love and Surrender. Counterfeits are based in Fear and Control. Love and Surrender and Fear and Control are Meta-emotions that run through the other authentic and counterfeit emotions. When our motive is pure we can feel the love and surrender all around us. When it is fearful and controlling it feels constricting and burdensome.
- Valuation: Authentic emotions value ourselves and others as divine. Counterfeit state loudly we are worthless and worth less. Authentic creates an abundance mentality and eliminates comparison because we each share infinite divinity. Counterfeits contrast our value with others saying, "You're not as good as…." These emotions distort our perceptions of our eternal nature, causing us to devalue what's essential and meaningful.
The Sneaky Nature of Counterfeit Emotions
One of the hardest aspects of counterfeit emotions is their sneakiness. They closely mimic authentic emotions, making it challenging to recognize their true nature. They are the ultimate liar and they often require more deception to conceal their falseness fully. Like lies, counterfeit emotions need more of themselves to perpetuate their existence.
These counterfeit emotions often rely on proximity to genuine feelings to go unnoticed. It's like having a wolf in sheep's clothing, where the disguise is so convincing that you may not realize the true nature of the emotion until it's too late.
Types of Counterfeit Emotions:
We have identified over 30 different counterfeit emotions and authentic dyads. Here is a sampling.
- Kind vs. Nice
- Love vs. Lust
- Pain vs. Misery
- Joy vs. Pleasure
- Power vs. Control
- Serving vs. Saving
- Determination vs. Stubborness
- Accomplishment vs. Pride
- Guilt vs. Shame
- +21 more
Counterfeit Illustration: Nice vs. Kind
To better understand the concept of counterfeit and authentic emotions, let's explore a familiar scenario - the difference between being "nice" and being "kind." These two terms may appear interchangeable on the surface, but a closer look reveals a stark contrast.
Nice - The Counterfeit Emotion
Niceness, often perceived as a virtue becomes the counterfeit form of kindness when it's driven by ulterior motives especially fear of conflict. In the pursuit of being perceived as pleasant, they may suppress their true feelings, opinions, and needs. Nice is not honest because nice will never express true feelings in fear of confrontation.
While niceness is typically seen as a positive trait, it turns out that nice is actually the counterfeit of Kind. Nice isn't very nice at all. Being overly "nice" can lead to boundary erosion. It leads to individuals prioritizing avoidance of discomfort over genuine connection. A lack of authenticity, diminished respect, and difficulty in saying no are other side effects of being nice. Being the "Nice Guy" creates a cycle of being walked on and being a doormat. It doesn't speak clearly or directly and will never rock the boat. Kind is willing to have hard conversations in love. Kind is willing to speak truth in love.
Consider a scenario where someone constantly agrees with others, never sharing their honest perspective. They might engage in people-pleasing behaviors, always saying yes, even when they mean no. While this may seem like an act of kindness, it's a counterfeit emotion at play. It disconnects individuals from their true feelings and motivations, hinders personal growth, and often leads to unfulfilling relationships.
Kind - The Authentic Emotion
On the flip side, kindness emerges from a place of authenticity and empathy. Kind individuals express themselves genuinely and directly while considering the well-being of others. They set healthy boundaries, ensuring their actions align with their values and desires. Kindness connects individuals in meaningful ways, fostering trust, respect, and understanding.
When someone is kind, they can provide feedback, express their opinions, and set boundaries without sacrificing their authenticity. Kindness encourages personal growth and strengthens relationships, as it promotes open and honest communication. Kind sees the divinity in others and communicates in honesty inviting others into a place of safety, growth, abundance, and peace…even when it may be difficult.
What we can learn
By applying the four criteria - connection, direction, motivation, and valuation - to this scenario, we can clearly distinguish between the authentic emotion of kindness and the counterfeit nature of being nice. This understanding empowers us to change our behavior, make conscious choices about how we interact with others, and express our emotions genuinely.
Recognizing counterfeit emotions in ourselves and others is a crucial step towards emotional intelligence and healthier relationships. By understanding the four criteria that differentiate authentic from counterfeit emotions, we can unmask these deceptive feelings and make healthier, more conscious choices about how we process our emotions.
Embracing authentic emotions that connect, motivate, lead us in positive directions, and help us value what truly matters, we can lead more fulfilling lives and build deeper, more meaningful relationships. It's a journey toward emotional maturity and healthier connections with ourselves and the world around us.
Join us on this journey of becoming more authentic and less counterfeit.