Do We Only Have 2 Emotions?

I was listening to a podcast one afternoon where the guest said that Oprah believes humans have two emotions: love and fear. I’m not sure whether or not Oprah actually said that, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve latched onto this thesis ever since. Why? Simplicity. I like knowing that every feeling we have is a derivative of two emotions: love an fear.

It’s true too. For example, anxiety, stress, lack of confidence, and nervousness are all representations of fear. On the contrary, excitement, enthusiasm, and positivity are all fronts for love. Of course, the aforementioned are just a few examples, but I’ve yet to find a feeling that doesn’t fit into either the love or fear bucket.

As I write this on a Monday morning flying back to San Francisco, I don’t know what craziness the week will bring, and no doubt there will be feelings of “stress” or “frustration.” But, knowing that those two feelings are derivatives of one emotion — fear — helps me pinpoint the root cause, reflect on the situation, and course correct.

If Oprah is wrong, and there is a third emotion that humans experience, what is it?

Thanks for reading. If you want more content, check out a podcast I recently published with Tom Alaimo — TR Talk. We interview leaders in their fields to learn how millennia’s can differentiate themselves in the workforce.