Let’s admit it – emotions guide our lives, either positively or negatively. Having a negative emotion doesn’t necessarily mean bad though. We need negative emotions to balance with our positive ones.
Throughout your life, whether or not you like it, you will have to face a lot of negative emotions. So instead of fearing your emotions, why not deal with them properly?
In this article, I would like to emphasize two specific negative emotions that can put your life upside-down.
Topics we’ll be discussing:
We all fear of many things in our life. A few common fears are the fear of death, fear of public speaking, fear of poverty, fear of sickness, and so on. You can keep on adding many fears in this list.
One of the best-selling books, Think and Grow Rich has discussed that fear is the worst negative emotion out of all.
We fear because our brain perceives that activity or situation to be dangerous and uncertain. We fear death because we don’t know what’s there after death? Where will we go after we die?
As per Forbes, the fear of public speaking is our number 1 biggest fear. The number 2 is death. It means that we would prefer to be in the coffin than be reading the eulogy.
Our mind thinks public speaking as a state of “fight or flight”. Our body then releases stress hormones to remind how dangerous public speaking is for us (is it really that dangerous though?)
How to overcome fear?
What do you fear most about? Think about it for a moment. Do you face your fear, or run away from it? If you are like most people, then I presume you try to run away from your fear. While running away temporarily keeps you away from the fear, but in the long run, it induces even more fear.
So the best-proven method is to face your fear. It’s a cliche, but it’s also true. When you face your fear repeatedly, your mind goes like, “Wait a minute, this is not that dangerous as I thought it would be. Maybe there’s nothing to fear over this”. Once you start facing your fear many times, then it no longer remains as your fear. Bingo! You just turned your fear into your friend.
My personal experience in dealing with the fear of heights
I used to fear heights a lot. I could not even see down from my own balcony. I preferred walking ten floors instead of using a lift. What if the lift falls down suddenly? What if the lift keeps going up without stopping? These questions used to clog my mind back then.
One day, I happened to Google for the solution of fear of heights – specifically lifts. Apparently, a person dying in the lift has a possibility of 0.00000015% per trip. It means that even if I use lift daily for the rest of my life, the probability of me dying in the lift is less than 0.005%.
Knowing the statistics in my mind, I thought it won’t be bad. So I got in the lift, still skeptical though. I got dropped to my floor in less than 15 seconds. Walking takes around a minute. Wow! Slowly, I got in the lift more often. Before I knew, my fear of lifts disappeared, so did my fear of heights (to some extent).
My fear of heights would have only grown had I not got in the lift in the first place. Also, thanks to Google for helping me, as always.
P.S. Watch a movie that portrays how a young boy is able to overcome the fear that had been haunting his whole life – Taare Zameen Par
Another subtle, but powerful emotion. Unlike the emotion of fear, jealousy can be hard to spot at times. You might not know whether you are jealous or you just want something badly (without being jealous).
Jealousy has led to some catastrophic consequences throughout world history. Talk about a king’s brother who kills the king to become the king. Talk about a politician badmouthing his counterpart because he couldn’t win the election. There are plenty of similar examples we could discuss.
One of the root causes of jealousy is low self-esteem. We start evaluating ourselves as unworthy. We start seeing other people succeeding with their dreams. We wish we could swap our life with their life. We start getting angry with those who are doing something with their life, only because we haven’t started doing so ourselves.
Jealousy can especially turn ugly if we start getting jealous of our own friends and family. This is especially challenging if you are a millennial.
How to overcome jealousy?
As jealously is hard to spot many times, the first step for you to overcome jealousy would be to recognize that you have a problem. I know this is going to be hard because you have to downgrade yourself to see the problem. No one wants to admit that they have an issue. But this is crucial if you would like to change yourself for the best.
Then, try to improve on what you do and who you are. Keep yourself busy by following your hobbies. Remind yourself of how fortunate you are to have such a caring family and friends. Be proud that the independent person you become is to cater to your better future. You will slowly start seeing yourself enjoying them, and your jealousy disappearing.
My personal experience with jealousy
As a good student, I always wanted to be in the top position of my class. I was able to achieve it for a brief moment of time. Right then, one new guy joined my class. No prize for guessing – he started topping the class, again and again.
I got so jealous of his accomplishment that I started criticizing him whenever I was with my other classmates. The jealousy created further negative emotions, such as anger and hatred. So I used to leave notes on his desk saying how bad he was. In fact, one time, I put a pin on his chair so that he would get hurt physically when he sits down…
After all these actions, there had to come to a realization later on. Yup, when that moment arrived, it struck me. I could not spot that I was doing all these not because he did something bad, rather because I was jealous of him. Realizing how terrible I had been to him was one of the worst situations in my life. But it was one of the best learning opportunities for me. It was at that moment when I realized how fortunate I was to have so many opportunities. I was getting proper food to eat, I was able to play games whenever I wanted to, I was able to sleep on my own bed. I had all that really mattered to me. Suddenly, topping the class did not seem important to me. I am glad to have such a dreadful yet learning experience early on in my life.
Since then, every time I caught myself becoming jealous of someone, I have been reminding myself of my past experience. About how fortunate I am to have my family and friends in my life, how lucky I was to have the freedom to do anything I wanted to. Thus, I was able to deal with my “jealousy” emotion properly.
Fear and jealousy can rip off your life. But if managed properly, it can improve your life dramatically. Having said so, there are plenty of other negative emotions that you would be facing every day. If you are able to manage your emotion of fear and jealousy, then you would be able to manage most of your other negative emotions easily.