When we are young, we are very trusting.
This is a beautiful thing – children are so humble and open to what the world has to offer.
Where this can trip us up is that because our minds are so open, we begin forming beliefs about the world based on the extremely limited ‘data’ that surrounds us.
We aren’t surrounded by billions of opinions.
We are surrounded by a few.
We’re not surrounded by billions of ideas about what is good and bad, what love can look like, or about what our role is and what is good about us.
We are surrounded by a microscopic fraction of all of humanity’s perceptions.
From that microscopic dot, we form our beliefs.
Beliefs – by the way – are simply pathways formed in our brain as it tries to conserve energy and overgeneralizes basically everything into only two categories:
Threat to our life or not a threat to our life.
(fear or love)
According to our primal wiring, there’s no room for a grey area. Everything is either a threat to our life or not. We’re either in a state of love or fear.
So…. based on a microscopic dot of opinions and beliefs about who is ‘good’, about if we are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, valuable or disposable, disgusting or beautiful…
– we divide the world in two.
And then we become afraid of everything that our brain throws into the ‘threat’ category, including parts of ourselves – qualities and feelings that we think are ‘wrong’.
And we start to become afraid.
We become afraid of our own feelings.
And we become afraid of parts of ourselves, of our ‘bad emotions’, our ‘bad’ qualities.
We get scared that because we have angry, irritated, even aggressive thoughts – that somehow that makes us who we are.
We say to “have a feeling”, but then when we describe it we say “I am angry” – as though the feeling describes our entire being – rather than just an element of our wholeness.
How can we be brave when we are so afraid of our own feelings?
Not by trying to eliminate or remove these feelings from existence… but by figuring out how to integrate them all.
Anger is a beautiful emotion that fuels the fight against injustice.
It gives us a sense of boundary that preserves our dignity when someone treads on us.
Rejection, failure and sadness opens our heart to understand another’s pain and to detach temporarily from our ego.
What I am proposing is for us to not be so afraid of talking about the things we are afraid of.
I am proposing to not be so afraid of the ‘bad emotions’ and the ‘bad guys’, and the ‘bad events’ like failure and rejection…
…to look at them more deeply, and to look at how those ‘bad things’ can also be fuel for our growth and deep empathy.
Let’s keep talking about fear and disgust and hatred and rage and anger.
Let’s admit that we have felt fear, hatred, rage and anger. (I know I have.)
(and I believe that when we don’t acknowledge this, those feelings bubble under the surface, and come out as resentment, violence, and illness).
Let’s look at how our small irritations at others are ways for us disguise our own fears and hurts…
AND THEN… instead of shaming ourselves, let’s allow ourselves to see that even when we feel irritated and impatient and angry and afraid and humiliated and aggressive, it doesn’t make us a ‘bad’ person.
Because when we do that, we may have a better chance of loving the parts of ourselves we have disowned.
And when we do that, we have a better chance of showing others how to do this for themselves so that they can channel all the ‘bad’ feelings into passion and warriorship that stands up for truth and brave love.
I’d love to hear if you have ever experienced one of your ‘negative’ qualities as a gift? Or have seen this in someone else? Post your thoughts on the comments section here!