There are no “good” or “bad” emotions. Let’s start there.
While it might seem a little hard to digest at first, it’s something that turns out to be true time and time again. It is only when you accept mistakes and failures as the building blocks of success that you realize how much of a blessing negative emotions can be.
Until you truly immerse yourself in the positive emotions in life, you will not be able to reap the rewards of embracing this mindset. It’s really about how you productively deal with your negative and positive emotions. This is what emotionally intelligent people do well to live rewarding lives and careers.
Throughout my career, I have been inspired by the incredible real story of the incredible JK Rowling.
Before writing the first Harry Potter novel, JK Rowling lived with enormous stress, often questioning himself. She almost let the fear, disappointment, angst and anger consume her. She suffered terrible physical and psychological violence from her ex-husband.
She considered herself a failure. Both personally and professionally, it was a bitter downfall for a woman who had high expectations of herself. She knew she loved to write – and certainly had a knack for writing – but she struggled with internal demons.
How bad has his situation become? She was clinically diagnosed with depression and even considered taking the most serious action possible: kill herself.
Yet unbelievably, her dramatic circumstances caused her to write more and more. She came out of the depths of depression and used these negative emotions to her advantage.
One of the biggest revelations that we will find in our life is the recognition that we can use both positive and negative emotions to propel us towards fulfillment and success in life. Anger can be used to our advantage. The same is true of fear, gratitude, and pride, as well as sadness and guilt. Great successes are built on frustration, anger, fear, and pain, as well as wonder, faith, and inspiration.
Likewise, hope and joy can catalyze us and lift us to new heights.
Here I’m going to focus on four common negative emotions that we can use and come up with ways to recognize them through self-awareness and emotional intelligence:
The music of my youth reminds me that Zac de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine was right: “Anger is a gift. It is a very difficult lesson to learn in life, but I have found it to be true. While anger can cut through and hurt us, it can also be a remarkable base that we can use to our advantage. The key here is to never actively want to live in an angry state of mind.
Anger is more of an emotion that we are forced to react to, usually due to circumstances that happen to us. A good example of this would be someone telling us that we are not good enough. Not getting the executive promotion we want. Having our startup idea rejected.
When these things happen, there are a number of ways we can do it. When we come to terms with this anger, we can use it as a powerful fuel to motivate and inspire us. If we have a clear direction in what we know we need to do next, anger can be the force that pushes us forward. If you have an opportunistic mindset, anger can really be a gift.
First of all, I ask you, what are you afraid of? What do you really fear deep down in your subconscious thoughts? The longer I lived, the more I realized that fear is most definitely a mislabeled emotion.
This Harvard Business Review article, by Matt Brubaker and Foster Mobley, considers four great ways to fight fear. This is a great step-by-step process for integrating emotional intelligence and breaking down four parts of fear and how this cycle manifests in our lives:
“Step 1: Recognize the fear
Step 2: Question the fear to better understand it
Step 3: Choose another course of action
Step 4: Act on that choice – in a way that matches your values ”
Attributes like recognition, confrontation, and choice of action and engagement are essential in dealing with fear. It brings out our self-awareness, empathy, self-care, and the courage to fight fear. Absolutely essential to live life on our terms.
What is it that leaves you in awe? Think about it!
I think of the remarkable places I have been. The experiences of seeing my three children for the first time and continuing to live my dream of supporting my family through my entrepreneurial efforts. Think about the music, the romance with your partner, the events, family moments, accomplishments and more that have impressed you.
Summon the magic of these moments and let them fill you with warmth, love, peace of mind and excitement. This visualization can empower, motivate, and inspire you to achieve your goals every day. They can also bring your relationships to life.
I’m talking about the right kind of pride here – one that gives you a sense of contentment, conviction, and self-respect. Pride can reassure us that we are creating and doing things that align with what we value. Do a kind deed for someone else. I always think of it when I dedicate each day as a tribute to my family whom I love deeply.
What are you proud of? It could be people, achievement, activity or hobby. Embrace it.
And embrace all your emotions so you can use them to your advantage.
This item is Medium.