Does everything in life simply boil down to love or fear?
Posted on 5th September 2018 at 07:45
If you think this sounds far too simplistic – not to mention rather hippy’ish (!) – please bear with us. We’d like to give you another one of our different perspectives on life.
There can be little doubt that we each experience a huge range of different emotions during our day to day lives. And in our own unique way.
We all seem to have our own particular range of emotions. Those we tend to express most often and feel more comfortable with. Positive and less so.
And, as a quick aside, the Mr Men – and Little Miss – books many of us enjoyed as children offer brilliant caricatures of some of them. Mr Happy. Mr Grumpy. Mr Worry.
Added to this, there are so many different words to explain the same – or similar – emotion, making it even more difficult to explain exactly what emotions we’re experiencing to another person. It’s little wonder that classifying and explaining them has kept Psychologists busy for decades (!).
But let’s go a little deeper and look at what’s really lurking beneath any particular emotion. In other words, what’s driving it?
If you do this, it quickly becomes obvious that emotions can be split into two broad groups. Positive and negative. Light and dark. Good and bad. And between these two extremes lay a huge range of different emotions which so many struggle to categorise.
The positive end is easy. Love, joy, happiness, fulfilment, optimism. These feelings are instantly recognisable. They’re light and uplifting and empowering. You feel good and have an instant energy boost.
But what about the other extreme?
The word most often used is hate, the opposite of love.
But is this really true?
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a different emotion hiding below hate.
The easy way to pin it down is to ask yourself why you’d ever hate someone or something?
The answer is deceptively simple. You only experience such an intense and negative emotion if the someone or something was a threat to you in some way. In other words, if you were frightened of it and experiencing fear in some way.
By seeing the other extreme in terms of fear, negative emotions become much easier to understand. They’re defensive, aimed at stopping an attack in whatever form that may be. No wonder they feel so bad, draining us of our vitality and energy.
So here’s another radical little ideas to help simplify your life. Rather than getting bogged down trying to classify and understand any particular emotion you may experience, why not just look it in these terms:
Does it feel good? In other words, is it underpinned by love?
Or does it feel bad, underpinned by fear?
And then it’s quite simple.
Focus on those emotions that feel good and are built on love, in whatever form that may be. Do more of the things – or spend more time with the people – that encourage these positive feelings to flow.
If it feels bad, then it’s time to ask yourself why you’re doing something – or spending time with someone – who has such a negative impact on you?
And, remember it’s never the thing or person who is negative, it’s ALWAYS the way you experience them that’s negative. In other words, you need to look inside for the answer, not outside.
It’s ALWAYS about you NOT the other person or thing. Changing your perspective on whatever – or whoever – it is, NOT changing them.
Sometimes it may be that you need to look at your beliefs surrounding them and whether they really are true. That a certain person – or thing is “bad” – whatever that may be. Becoming aware that you’re letting old or outdated beliefs drive your behaviour.
Take the simple example of a small child who’s knocked over by an overly boisterous dog. For them, it was a frightening experience and they grow up being frightened of dogs. In time they start saying that they hate dogs. If one comes up to them, they react to it in a defensive way.
But what if they look at it again with more objective adult eyes? Suddenly their perspective changes and those outdated beliefs fall away. They move from a negative emotion, one that feels “bad” to a more neutral one. Or, perhaps, even a positive one (!).
Or what about one of those perennial favourites, that you hate Maths / French / whatever subject it was at school that was your least favourite? When you do a little digging you may find that, perhaps, you were simply echoing what your friends or family said about it.
Or, perhaps, you didn’t get on with the teacher or the way it was taught. Again, your perspective changes and old beliefs fall away.
Other times it may be accepting that this is how that person – or thing – “is”. That there’s nothing you can do about it and perhaps deciding that they – or it – no longer play a part in your life. In some cases a little distance is the only solution.
Life really can be that simple IF you let it be.
As always, the choice is yours.
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