Lehi, Utah, June 10, 2024

Continuing our mental health series curated by Promise2Live, in partnership with Silicon Slopes, and with emphasis on June as Men's Mental Health Month, in the article below Curtis Morely presents his work on authentic versus counterfeit emotions.

See Brandy Vega's inaugural article of the seriesthe profile story about Promise2Live.

The second article in this series—an introduction to Tom Telford's BrainStoke podcastcan be found here

The third article in the series was written by Richard Godfrey, Co-founder and CEO of Avec Me, and discusses fitting prosthetic limbs for elephants that have been injured by landmines in Cambodia. It can be found here.

The fourth article in the series is on how to help those who are struggling, authored by Cameron McBride, CEO of Blomquist Hale Solutions, a Salt Lake City-based company specializing in mental health solutions. Click here to read it.

The fifth article in the series featured Carrie Hill, a board member of Promise2Live and public relations professional; it discusses how she navigated unaddressed mental health issues within her own family.

The sixth article in the series introduces Joe Tuia'ana who discusses the i love you, bro PROJECT, a suicide prevention program for men.

Curtis Morley, Author and CEO of Counterfeit Emotions, will participate in a Silicon Slopes/Promise2Live Mental Health Town Hall on Thursday, June 13 at Silicon Slopes HQ in Lehi, with a focus on men, reflecting the status of June as Men's Mental Health Month. 

Other panelists of the June 13th panel include:

  • Dr. Dave Morgan, Licensed Psychologist and Director of Mental Health Awareness for Silicon Slopes
  • Brandy Vega, Founder of Promise2Live
  • Carrie Hill, a board member of Promise2Live and public relations professional and founder of CHILL consulting agency
  • Brandon Sunday, Owner at Pando Development
  • Joe Tuia'ana, Founder of the i love you, bro PROJECT.

For more information about the June 13th Town Hall or to register, click here.

Authentic vs. Counterfeit Emotions

Men's mental health is one of the most neglected areas of mental health today. This is troubling because men are 3.85x more likely to commit suicide than women. Even more troubling is that today we have the highest rate of suicide ever recorded in history.

The surgeon general has declared we are in an "Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation" Men hold on to emotions instead of expressing them. Men repress emotions instead of feeling them. Because of this, us men are not well practiced in feeling emotions.

Most men have trouble identifying emotions. Brene Brown did a research study that revealed most of us can only identify three emotions—mad, sad, and glad. It doesn't have to be this way. Understanding our emotions is critical for living a healthy and happy life. All emotions have a purpose but not all emotions serve us— especially long term. On the emotional spectrum there are emotions that are authentic and some that are counterfeit.

A counterfeit emotion is an emotion that looks, acts, and feels like an authentic emotion but creates destructive patterns of disconnection in our lives.

Connection is a basic human need.

An easy to understand example is Guilt vs. Shame. Guilt says, "I did something wrong." Shame says "I am wrong." Guilt talks about an action. Shame labels our characters. Guilt is an important beautiful emotion that connects us to others and moves us to repair and redeem. Understanding the difference between Authentic Emotions that lead us to where we want to go and those that create these destructive cycles is vital to living our most authentic lives and finding the one emotion that has no counterfeit—Peace.

There are 36 pairs or dyads of authentic vs. counterfeit emotions. Some are obvious pairs like Love vs. Lust, Pain vs. Misery, and Empathy vs. Sympathy. Other emotions need to be entirely re-examined and reframed.

For example, Misery is the counterfeit of Pain. Shame is the counterfeit to Guilt. Nice is the counterfeit of Kind. Resignation is the counterfeit to Surrender, Fear is the counterfeit to Faith, and Control is the counterfeit of Power, to name a few of the authentic-counterfeit dyads.

There are four criteria to identify counterfeit emotions—Connection, Direction, Motivation, and Valuation. Using these criteria we can identify whether we are living our most authentic life or whether we are spinning in the counterfeits. 

Gathering of men at Gerald Thomas Williamson Celebration of Life, September 2021

A couple years ago, I lost my friend Jerry Williamson to suicide. If he would have understood the difference between just two of these pairs, Pain vs. Misery and Guilt vs. Shame, he would still be with us.

Morely with friends at Gerald Thomas Williamson Celebration of Life, September 2021

If you are feeling the loneliness and isolation the surgeon general spoke of please sign the Promise2Live.org and call a friend to talk through the feelings you are experiencing right now.

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