“It’s easy to stay in faith and focus on the positive when life is going well. It’s when we get ‘upset’ conditions it becomes more challenging” Elaine J A Wood
It’s quite amazing how focused and positive we human beings can be when everything in our lives seems to be flowing smoothly. When life storms come though it can take a determined, conscious effort to remain on that positive train of thought and not be pulled to the dark side. The ‘what ifs’ go round and round in our minds like turkey buzzards circling their prey. It can be so easy to be sucked into fear.
Ever noticed how effortless it is to let your mind wander and meander down that dark negative path, whereas it seems to require supreme effort to continue to see the positive when faced with any adversity. It happens to us all at some time or another and I guess it is what makes us human. Without feelings to guide us we would be like empty vessels. Of course many would attest that their faith and belief in a Divine Power is steadfast and sees them through many of life’s storms. Even then I would suggest we can all experience times of despair as we try to make sense of the many situations in which we can find ourselves.
In times of difficulty our emotions often seem to become overwhelming, much as if they have a will of their own, over which we have no control. In our modern, social media driven world, it is now common place to use emoticons to describe how we are feeling. We have the smiley face emoji, the hurt face, the angry face, the shocked faced etc., the list seems endless. Some of us are brought up to express our feelings, others to suppress them at all costs. In expressing our feelings we are called on to do this ‘appropriately’ and that can be a challenge for many of us. Definitions of the word ‘appropriately’ can vary wildly but generally there is an expectation that we remain calm and politely state our case. In contrast, suppressing and hiding our feelings only leads to build up and much like a pressure cooker the individual eventually blows at something that appears so trivial we are left bewildered and shocked in trying to make sense of it. It’s usually not the severity of that individual event that has made them vent their anger. The pot has been simmering for some time, much like milk on to boil where it simmers happily for some time then when you’re not watching, it slowly climbs up the side of the pot until it eventually reaches the top and spews forth. The ‘peace at any price’ brigade have a powder keg waiting to explode.
The eminent Swiss-American psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross first pointed out that there really are only two emotions – that of love or fear. The concept of only two emotions is an interesting idea to explore. Think about it only two root emotions – love or fear. That would mean that in all we do we are either coming from a place of love or fear for we cannot experience them both simultaneously. Only two emotions, really! What about anger or hate or jealousy for that matter! I guess if you think about it at the root of all these emotions is fear.
We have all encountered people who may be jealous of us. I know I have and have often puzzled about what they feel they actually have to be jealous about. So looking at it from the whole love or fear perspective I can only think the jealousy stems from their own fear that somehow they are not good enough, their underlying fear is that they are unworthy. When we feel betrayed by someone, I often think their actions communicate that we are uncared for and trigger our fear that we are unloved. Our anger directed towards them then is a product of our own feelings of fear. Many of us suffer from anxiety if we are starting a new job. Our anxiety is really a reflection of our fear. Usually our fear of something new or our fear of failure. So fear is indeed the root of it again. We must never forget also the effect of these negative emotions on our bodies. Long-term negativity and stress triggers the hormone Cortisol which eventually manifests in illness and disease. From a place of love, oxytocin is released which has been described by many as the love hormone. It is calming, lowers blood pressure and is a wonderful protector against disease.
So how do we turn things around and come from a place of love? Well think about how you look at situations. What is your attitude to what is happening to you and around you? This whole idea of the importance in your attitude if you want to come from a place of love is beautifully illustrated by Albert Einstein in his famous quote “The single most important decision any of us will ever make is whether or not to believe the universe is friendly” We have all met the people who seemed to go around as if the world owes them, they always appear to get the bad breaks etc. and continually grumble about the unfairness of life. It’s as if there is some unseen force dishing out their misfortune when in reality it is more related to how they view the world. They then end up treating others badly because they are viewing life from a place of fear. In their need to feel better about themselves, they act selfishly without any regard for the wellbeing of others and how their actions might affect them.
We need to be mindful of the self-talk and words we use to describe events in our world. A number of years ago I worked hard to get additional qualifications and hoped to get a job locally. I didn’t get the job, someone else did. I remember stating ‘I’m gutted!!’ No, in reality I was disappointed but determined to go on. It’s all about how you look at the situation that can take you from that place of fear to a place of love. It’s how you respond to things that happen in your life that can take you from a place of fear or love. It’s about being mindful of your own attitudes and responses and working consciously to shift your perspective. I grant you it’s not always easy, but I think once you have an awareness of what’s happening you can then actively work to come from that place of love. You are free from the bonds of whatever he/she did to you. They no longer hold any power over you or have any place in your life. You are at peace within yourself.