How to Have More Peace, Love, and Understanding in Your Life
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When we allow negativity into our lives, we only hurt ourselves. Negativity breeds all sorts of harmful traits, like:
- Low Self-Esteem
And many others.
Psychologists say that we are hardwired for negativity.
“We recall insults more than praise and remember traumatic experiences better than negative ones.” — Verywell Mind
It may feel impossible, but we can overcome this negative bias. According to a former monk, Jay Shetty, three values offset a negativity-focused mind. By strengthening these values within our lives, we can cut negativity, be happier, and live a more fulfilling life.
Where many go wrong
If you want to fix a problem, what do you do? You attack the problem.
This emphasis on the obstacle, the negative force, only encourages it in your life. According to the Law of Attraction, you are giving it more power to grow.
What you nurture, grows.
Like weight loss, where many focus on the seemingly insurmountable tire around the waist, the only way to move in the direction you want is not to focus on the problem but the solution.
Three values we all need
In his book, Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day (affiliate link), Jay Shetty outlines three emotional needs — he calls them “values” — that are key to maintaining a life free of the effects of negativity.
Comfortable with the trajectory of our lives, we do not fear what could happen.
With strong, supportive relationships, we do not fear being lonely and unloved.
When others understand and care about what is important to us, we do not fear being disrespected.
I have been blessed to have had these values encouraged by my family, friends, and mentors throughout my life. But I begin to feel anxiety and depression when I become comfortable and apathetic—the key indicator: negative thinking.
Taking care of our values
To become more productive, happier people, we need to take care of our emotional needs.
A solution-focused approach that puts the Law of Attraction on your side focuses not on the symptoms (anxiety, depression, or anger) but on the root causes: threats to your values.
Threats to our peace
As previously mentioned, psychologists say that each of us is biased toward negativity. Likely a survival instinct, this bias keeps us on the lookout for what could go wrong, keeping us fearful, anxious, and safe.
Bad things will happen — there’s no avoiding it.
If knowing is half the battle, then knowing that bad things will happen is half the journey to preventing them from ruining your peace, or at least not living in fear of them.
Bad things will not always happen. When we fear that it’s impossible to have good things happen to us, then our peace is just as ruined as if we fear the bad.
“Life is short and anxious for those who forget the past, ignore the present, and fear the future.” — Seneca
What’s the other half to reducing this fear of bad things happening in our lives? Stop comparing yourself to others.
There’s always a bigger fish, a prettier sunset, or a better-written book. You might be the best UFC fighter today, winning championships left and right, but tomorrow you’ll be older, and the next champion-in-training will take that belt.
By comparing, we produce fear that we either won’t live up to the example or that we will one day stop setting the example. Give up comparing yourself, and you free yourself to enjoy whatever it is you do, not fearing how it will turn out.
Threats to love
You become who you hang with is not a cliche; it’s sound psychology.
If you have unsupportive, uncaring people in your life, not only will you become more selfish — struggling for the happiness you long for — but you will always feel threatened of losing your relationships, terrible as they are.
Negativity in this area is related to our fear of being lonely. Humans are social creatures.
We want to feel loved; we want to belong.
Caring for this emotional need has the most straightforward and most challenging solution: choose your friends carefully.
That can be hard. As we all carry a negativity bias, we also carry a deep-seated need to please those around us. In times past, when being part of a tribe meant having food and shelter, this was a survival instinct — lose status with the tribe, lose the necessities for your survival.
Today, thankfully, our society has moved past the need to please a specific group to get access to food or shelter.
You can, and must, excise negative influences from your life in order to meet your emotional need to belong.
Confusing, isn’t it? You need to cut relationships to find the place where you belong.
Here’s an easy trick for finding the right relationships: watch for complaining from you and others.
The more you complain, the more you focus on things that are not ideal — you become focused on the negative. Cutting this habit for yourself is a great way to reduce negativity, but we are social creatures; the more time we spend with people who complain, the more we will do ourselves.
When you meet someone new, ask them questions that people typically complain about, then watch how they respond. Do they complain, or do they find a silver lining, despite difficulties?
Have you ever been to Vegas in summer? How did you handle the heat?
What’s your favorite sports team?
What do you think of (mutual friend or contentious celebrity)?
Life is yin and yang. It will be impossible to have zero complaints about some subjects. It’s the intention, the willingness to gnaw on a negative thought, that you have to look out for.
Stop complaining, and you’ll become better relationship material; draw close to those who don’t complain, and you’ll have better relationships.
Caring for understanding
The core of the emotional need to be understood is not feeling disrespected. The core of feeling disrespected is entitlement.
Entitled people expect lots of attention and preferential treatment.
“I exist, therefore, I deserve.”
The more you feel entitled to things, the easier it is to threaten your emotions toward them.
You believe that people should always be friendly to you, so when someone has an emotionally off day, you get offended. Some people don’t feel this type of entitlement, which is why we say that some people have “thicker skin” than others.
Entitlement comes from a victim mentality.
If you believe that you deserve something and don’t get it, you feel as though you were treated unfairly. Sometimes, this is valid — if you did work, you should be paid. It’s when you didn’t earn what you expect that you put yourself in danger of threatening this emotional need.
By ridding yourself of a victim mentality, it becomes more difficult to hurt you — you become more resilient.
Here’s a trick to not feeling disrespected so often: understand that life is not fair. People get what they deserve far less often than we expect them to, for good and for bad.
If life is not fair, if you don’t expect to get what you think you deserve, then your mind becomes more solution-focused on ways to get it for yourself.
Practice living with unfairness by examining yourself when you begin judging what you feel to be an injustice. Why do you think that things should have turned out differently? What is the source of that bias?
If you can identify why you feel a certain way, really get to its root history, you can ascertain whether or not it’s legitimate. If it is, then you are justified in feeling indignant.
Again, life is yin and yang. You will have some elements of entitlement; we all do. To avoid threatening your emotional need to be understood is to identify what triggers you to feel like a victim. The more you know these triggers, the more you can respect them and operate your life in avoidance of them.
We all have three “values” or emotional needs — peace, love, and understanding. These are threatened when we fear:
- That bad things will always happen.
- Not being loved by others.
- Being disrespected by others.
Understanding what triggers these fears — what threatens our particular emotional needs — we can avoid them and live happier lives.
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