People describe anger, depression, and many other emotions as negative or bad, as if they don’t want them in their lives.
They motivate you to change what causes them, generally things in your environments and beliefs.
What causes them is conflict between yourself and others, internal conflict, and wanting the world to change, mainly. As long as conflict exists, which is forever since no one shares your interests exactly, you’re going to feel those emotions. If you think of them as negative or bad, you’re making an inevitable part of life worse for yourself. It’s like you’re kicking yourself when you’re down.
People seem to get that pain, although they don’t enjoy feeling it, helps their lives. They find the source of the pain and use that knowledge to fix the cause, which improves your life.
If only people saw emotions they call negative the same! Finding their causes enables you to fix them and improve your life. People who call them negative seem to try to suppress the emotion or increase their happiness. They’re like someone with a cut eating ice cream to distract them from the pain instead of treating the cut.
Calling emotions you don’t like negative is like calling fire or pain negative. Pain helps. It’s useful. All emotions are useful, not just the ones you enjoy feeling. I recommend not calling them negative.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book