Fear is a signal to be cautious.We are programmed to avoid pain and fear signals the possibility pain will visit. Some theorists think all behavior stems from pleasure, pain, or fear of pain.
Unmet expectations create pain. Being more realistic about what we expect of life or others reduces both hurt and fear of hurt. Here is a list of the most common false expectations.
- Everything happens for a purpose.
- Life is fair.
- Life will reward us for being good.
- We the people are in control
- If we work hard we will get where we want to go.
- Other people are fair.
- Other people are kind.
- Following your heart is best.
- People who love you will not betray you.
- Love conquers all.
There is some truth in each of the above. Some hold more truth than others. Start with: things usually have a purpose. True, but not always for individuals. Lewis Thomas, the poet-philosopher of medicine, in his book The Lives of a Cell, notes that randomness is built into DNA and necessary for life as we know it. Without the mutations or randomness of DNA he claims we would still be green sludge. The randomness of DNA creates problems as well as pluses; less than human mutants as well as functioning human beings. There is an overall purpose, but not always one that applies to individuals.
Getting more realistic about the remaining expectations: Life is sometimes fair, not always. Being good is rewarding, just not always. We control somethings, but not all things. Hard work is necessary for getting ahead, but generally one also needs a bit of luck. People strive to be fair, but mostly to those they see as their clan or their tribe; same goes for people being kind. Following your heart is sometimes dangerous. People who love you betray you. Love conquers much, but not all.
Emotional Fitness Tips
Tip one: Be clear about what you do not control. We do not control the weather, the gifts or deficits bestowed upon us by our genes, the culture that surrounds us, the traumas that come our way, or other people.
Tip two: Own what you do control. Mostly we control our behavior. Note the word mostly, because when we do not control our behavior it is usually a sign of immaturity – children have temper tantrums, adults should not; or mental illness.
We can control our attitudes, but doing so takes will and effort.Emotional Fitness Training is about controlling your attitude and behaviors.
Tip three: Improve your self-soothing skills. Why? Taking a moment to calm your thoughts always helps you think more realistically. Do think about buying my eBook Self-Soothing to Create Calm In Your Life As with all my eBooks, this coasts less than a latte.
Tip four: When fear enters your feelings, stop, take a moment to self-sooth, then rate the fear. One: totally false; two a maybe fear; three; sometimes worth worrying about; four: take care; five: call 911.
Tip five: Do all you can to take care of you. Laugh. Play Create stuff. Be Grateful, Practice Kindness, Forgive all.
Tip six: Practice Radical Acceptance. Make one of your mantras “It is what it is.”
Tip seven: If your behavior finds you doing things you regret, gets you into trouble with the law, or hurting yourself or others, get help
Tip eight: Remember what matters.
This post related to this Word Press Daily Post Prompt Grit.
LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
Even the most learned researchers and therapists quarrel about much. Take their advice and mine carefully. Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart. Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others. As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.
Disclaimer two: Forgive my grammatical errors
If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here; I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what like me. Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability, Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense. If you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, stop reading, I will understand.