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Emotional Algebra

Algebra is the branch of mathematics that studies the relationship between the construct of numbers. Numbers are denoted as symbols – so therefore it is not the specific number that determines the result, but the operations involved. It allows analysis of the formulaic functional relationships.

So what if you were to replace the integers and symbols with emotions, to try and understand the formulaic structure of feeling. Now, I am no mathematician, nor a psychologist. But having experienced and witnessed a spectrum of strong emotions over my lifetime, I think I can conclude some of the following emotional equations.

Forgiveness = (100% heart) – pride / time

Forgiveness is to exonerate someone from guilt or blame. It is highly strong emotion as it often results in a freedom, liberation, even absolution. But I know also, it is something that I am not very good at. I still don’t forgive Evil Alistair for pushing me off the stage during my debut at the school play, aged 4 years old. I still don’t forgive my 5th Form Teacher at Aylesbury High School, who declared I was not particularly talented at anything and thus unlikely to make it to university. I still don’t forgive my ex-husband, who forgot to mention me on our wedding day in his speech titled “the 5 things that are most important to me” – of which I wasn’t one of them. The hurt and disappointment one feels can be excruciating, but time can heal and the heart will repair. Yet it is often the pride (rooted in strong moral principle) that stands in the way of the complete forgiveness. Therefore I conclude that forgiveness is the repair of the whole heart minus the pride, that comes with time.

Success = (talent + determination) x luck.

Surely if one were to define the formula for success, everyone could achieve it. However, my belief is that success requires talent + determination, but it is ultimately magnified by luck. But success doesn’t always crown the best individuals. Some of the world’s most talented people have never had the opportunity to fulfil their dream. Luck plays a role at the intersection between talent and determination. Oprah Winfrey famously acknowledged that “luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.

Distrust = (doubt + experience) / probability

Distrust is an unpleasant equation. It is the combination of all the worst emotions. Doubt is an intuitive suspicion, which coupled with a bad experience can make for very restless mind. If you incorporate the probability factor of reoccurrence, the levels of distrust will increase furthermore. If anyone has experienced an unfaithful partner, a disloyal friend or a conceited colleague, they will confirm that regaining the trust is such a hard hill to climb.

Love = (enchantment + hope) x passion. – (logic) / vulnerability

The equation for love is the happiest combination of all. The all-encompassing enchantment you feel when in their company - and the pining when you are not. Their every word, or story, movement and action captivates you. Add some hope to that emotion, as you find yourself naturally imagining your long-term future together. And then multiply it with layers and layers of passion. The emotion that you figuratively “lose” when you are in love, is logic. Nothing is insurmountable and anything is possible. But all of this is underpinned by a sweet vulnerability. This is not a negative kind of weakness – but pure and honest exposure of being in love.

And then consider a mathematical spectrum that would demonstrate the polar opposite of love. Most would spontaneously say it is hate. But hate requires the critical component of passion. Passion is intense and vivid – and whether negative or positive, the feeling of passion will occupy your heart. So therefore, the truer opposite of love is apathy; which is derivative of boredom and indifference with the ultimate removal of hope: Therefore, Apathy = (boredom + indifference) – hope

So whilst calculus won’t define a person’s emotional makeup, our emotions do have their own formulaic structure. So let’s conclude with what I feel is one of the most beautiful emotional recipe; loyalty

Loyalty = promise + conviction / anything

Loyalty is bound in both promise and conviction. It is a vow of permanence, a guarantee, an emotional contract that will stand the test of time, and stay strong over anything.