I was toxic to some and a blessing to others. I admit that I was not always right. This has changed my life. Check yourself. Sometimes you are the toxic person. Sometimes you are the mean, negative person you’re looking to push away. Sometimes the problem is you. And that doesn’t make you less worthy. Keep on growing. Keep on checking yourself. Keep on motivating yourself. Mistakes are opportunities. Look at them, own them, grow from them and move on. Do better, be better. You’re human. It’s okay.
One of those random long WhatsApp texts from strangers sparked my curiosity to research on meta-emotions. This is on of the best choices I have made in life. It has helped me reconcile the good, the bad and the ugly emotions I had harbored in my heart. Consequently, it impacted my spiritual, social and professional life.
Much of the social strife that we’re experiencing today is the result of these meta-emotions. These are part of the stories we tell ourselves about our feelings. They make us feel justified in our jealousy, applaud us for our pride and shove our faces in our own pain:
- Feeling Bad About Feeling Bad (Self-Loathing)
This is characterized by excessive self-criticism, being anxious, having neurotic behavior, suppressing emotions, engaging in a lot of fake niceness/politeness or constantly feeling as though something is wrong with you.
These “positive thinkers” will live in fear that any amount of suffering indicates that something must be sorely wrong with them. This is the Feedback Loop from Hell that many of us are thrust into by our culture, our family and the self-help industry at large.
- Feeling Bad About Feeling Good (Guilt)
This is characterized by chronic guilt and feeling as though you don’t deserve happiness, constant comparison of yourself to others, feeling as though something should be wrong, even if everything is great, unnecessary criticism and negativity.
If feeling good makes you feel bad about yourself, then you’ll become this walking, talking pile of guilt and shame, feeling as though you deserve nothing, have earned nothing, and have nothing of value to offer to the people or the world around you.
- Feeling Good About Feeling Good (Ego/Narcissism)
This is characterized by self-congratulatory, chronically overestimating yourself; a delusionally-positive self-perception, inability to handle failure or rejection, avoiding confrontation or discomfort and having a constant state of self-absorption.
If you always feel good about feeling good, you will become self-absorbed and feel entitled to those around you.
- Feeling Good About Feeling Bad (Self-Righteousness)
This is characterized by moral indignation, condescension towards others, feeling as though you deserve something others don’t and seeking out a constant sense of powerlessness and victimization.
Perhaps this is the worst meta-feeling. It is increasingly the most common: feeling good about feeling bad. People who feel good about feeling bad get to enjoy a certain righteous indignation. They feel morally superior in their suffering, that they are somehow martyrs in a cruel world. These self-aggrandizing victimhood trend-followers are the ones who want to poke holes on someone’s life on the internet, who want to march and throw dirt at politicians or businessmen or celebrities who are merely doing their best in a hard, complex world.
There are very high chances that everything that is amiss in your life got that way because you were too beholden to your feelings. You were too impulsive. Or too self-righteous and thought yourself the center of the universe. We hate hearing this because we grew up with parents who worshipped our feelings as children, and protected them. They did anything necessary to make sure those feelings were nice and fuzzy and protected at all times.
As a result, our first response to things going wrong is blaming others. This is because it is an excellent defence mechanism. Whether you call it projection, denial, or displacement, blame helps us preserve our sense of self-esteem by avoiding awareness of our own flaws or failings. We use it as a tool to absolve ourselves off responsibility forgetting that it is a destructive method of conflict resolution.
Unlike other games, the more often you play the blame game, the more you lose. Learning to tell when you need to own up to your role in a bad situation will help you grow from your experiences, and ultimately help you achieve more fulfilling relationships.
Acting based on our feelings is easy. You feel it. Then you do it. It’s like scratching an itch. There’s a sense of relief and cessation that comes along with it. It’s a quick satisfaction. But then that satisfaction is gone just as quickly as it came. To act based on what’s good or right is difficult. To begin with, knowing what is good or right is not always clear, we often have to sit down and think hard about it. Often we have to feel ambivalent about our conclusions or fight through our lower impulses.
When we do what’s right, the positive effects last much longer. We feel pride remembering it years later. We tell our friends and family about it and give ourselves cute little awards and hand them on our office walls to proclaim, “Hey I did that!” Because at the end of the day, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not our competence, but our character; and not our success but our significance. Live a Life of Love.
Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-toxic-some-blessing-others-danstan-m-wasobokha-wanyonyi To read more posts by Danstan, click HERE