Reaction Proportioned To Stimuli
In the normal mind the emotional or feeling accompaniment of thought and
action is proportionate and adequate to the circumstances, i. e.,
there is a certain feeling, of a certain strength, natural to every
thought and act; and when only that strength, not more or less,
accompanies the thought or the act, we say, "That man is emotionally
stable. His mind is normally balanced."
Joy naturally follows some stimuli; sorrow others. Disappointment or
loss, shock, failure, death of loved ones, illness in ourselves or
others, do not normally bring joy. A keen sense of suffering,
temporarily, perhaps, of numbness; the inability to grasp the calamity;
or flowing tears, an aching heart, or the stress of willed endurance,
are natural, and normal reactions to such stimuli.
A developed will may refuse indulgence in the outward expression of the
normal feeling of shock, grief, and loss; and this may be normal. But
normal volition does not force us to laugh and dance and be wildly merry
in the face of grief and loss and pain. It only suggests the adequate,
reasonable acceptance of the facts that cannot be changed--the
acceptance of love, faith, and hope that sees in present suffering a
means of consecration to service; it does not convert the emotion of
sorrow and loss into a pleasurable one. Normal reason does not suggest
that will force the reactions to loss and suffering that belong by
nature to attainment and success.
Nor does reason suggest the long face, the bitter tears, a storm of
anger, in response to comedy and farce, in the face of a good joke, or
to meet success; and normal will puts reason's counsel into effect.
Next: Normal Emotional Reactions