I was having an interesting conversation, the other day, with ‘that boy whom I’m totally smitten with’. We were talking about money; specifically, the conversation was around finances and investments.
He told me that people react much more strongly (in a negative way) when they lose on an investment than they do in a positive way – when they gain.
I thought about this for a few seconds and then realized that people do this for pretty much everything. What I mean is: our negative reactions to something that happens to us seem to be greater than and have more weight than the positive reactions we have towards something that happens to us.
To backtrack just a bit, I am thoroughly convinced we are in charge of our own emotions. This means that I believe we are able to choose ‘how we feel’ and ‘to what capacity we decide to feel it’. I’m not saying this is easy, far from it. In fact, it’s much simpler just to let our emotions get away with us and do what they want. It’s also much wiser to know ‘you’ are always and forever in control of YOU.
How many times have we endlessly stressed out and worried ourselves (sometimes sick) over shit that is not in our control? I would say – countless. Did it do any good? I will honestly confess that not once was I happy or glad about the experiences I’ve had (and far too many sleepless nights) needlessly worrying about stuff I had no control over.
Where is she going with this…? You may ask.
Let me ask you a basic question: Which feeling would you want to experience with the most intensity, love or fear?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that EVERYone will say: Well, Love, of course!!
Bearing in mind that there are really only two basic emotions (Love and Fear) and everything else branches out from those two. For example: I invest $1000 into a stock and in a few years I have a 20% gain on my investment; this would elicit a happy response. Now if the following year, I lost 30% on this investment, I’d (in theory) be extremely upset and would feel this emotion more strongly than the happy response I’d get from the gain.
I don’t think that we feel fear any greater than we feel love. In fact, I think we are capable of experiencing them in equal measures. Why then, do we choose to feel a fear-based emotion much stronger than a love-based one?
Let’s look at another example: My reaction to falling in love with someone would not be experienced as greatly as when someone I loved ended the relationship.
Falling in love is fantastic! You all know it is; it’s amazing, dreamy and blissful. But when that is taken away from us… (ah, now we’re starting to make sense) our reaction is much stronger.
We’ve all been there.
It’s like comparing a birth to a death. The birth of a new child is great! The death of one is beyond terrible.
See what I’m getting at? Are ya still with me?
It could very well be that losing that love-based feeling of euphoria is far worse than gaining it. At least, that is how we seem to choose to experience it. We allow fear to rule us, some of us more than others. I’ll give you, yet, another example, because we ALL do it.
I’m in a new relationship. Instead of simply enjoying the experience of getting to know this wonderful man and living in the moment of all of the positive and fun times we’ve had together over the past month…I worry about stupid stuff. Stuff that has nothing to do with him. It’s my fear, fear of rejection, fear of not being understood, and fear of not being good enough. I could go on and on.
And he’s doing it, too! At least to some degree. His fears are not the same as mine and are based on his own experiences but the result is the same. We are both being affected by that one emotion more than the emotions that really count. The love-based emotions.
People decide to experience one emotion over the other and I really think we all do it. Perhaps it’s because we covet the love-based emotion so much that we lose sight of it, entirely, whilst trying to protect it and keep it for as long as we can.
What if we just let go? What if we consciously decide to live in our moments and experience the positive more intensely than we do the negative? What if we decided to stop worrying about things that we cannot control and focus on positively putting effort into the things that we can?
I daresay…the human race would be a much happier bunch.
So I challenge you to start. Start being happy in the ‘now’ and enjoy that happiness to the ultimate fullest. When it’s over and something negative takes its place, do whatever you can to ‘feel’ it but with less intensity.
Don’t listen to him. All of the emotions that we have in any given moment, pass and are gone like a fart in a windstorm. They pass and are replaced by another. It could be similar or completely opposite. It doesn’t matter, we move on. Sometimes it seems they circle ’round, but rest assured that they are different because you’re living in a different moment, it’s called the present. Never confuse it with the past or future. Your past is that fart in that windstorm and the future is unwritten.
Although I have a long way to go, I’m getting better at this. I no longer worry so much about money. I know full well how to bring more of it into my life. To worry about it is pointless. To focus on how/what/when I will accomplish this in the love-based emotion is profoundly better. And it works!
If tomorrow I suddenly found myself single, again? Yeah, I’d have a tougher time dealing with that, but I do know the feeling of sadness will, too, pass. It always has before and all it would mean is that I would have to start from square one, again. Albeit I’d take some wonderful memories and awesome things I’ve, thus far, learned, with me on my life journey. Yet, I remain positive! This is just an example. Really, things are going well.
So! This is what I will choose to do, going forward. I am going to do my best to choose to enjoy the incredible love-based emotions more fully and relish in them in my day-to-day life.
Not because I fear that they will go away as it’s pointless to do so. But because I know I’ll be happier immersing myself in ‘happy thoughts’ rather than dwelling on unhappy ones.
Which emotion will you choose to focus on, today?