Does Gratitude mean no negative emotions and no wants?
The Part 3 of “The How To’s of Daily Gratitude” clarifies another common Gratitude misconception.
Misconception 5. With Gratitude, I will never feel negative, anxious, sad etc and have no wants.
Actual: We all are human, not machines. Having deep Gratitude means a substantial reduction in negativity, fear, anxiety, sadness etc and fewer unreasonable wants (excluding physiological change). The negative emotions may be still present, albeit in smaller and manageable amounts.
The Effect of Focus. The reason for reduced negativity is when we focus our attention on things we are grateful for, we focus less on negative emotions Focusing on amplifies feelings, focusing away reduces feelings.
Girl Taking Vaccination Jabs at Age Three!
The Benefits of Good Experiences. Just like when we take a measles etc jab when we were kids, the medical staff will get us to focus away momentarily to allay our fears, preventing us from jerking away and causing more (real) pain etc. Some of us did not even know that the immunization was done, due to the focus away. With that (good) experience, the next time we go for a jab, we tend to have much less fear, hence can manage better.
Reaonable Emotional Experiences in Adverse Situations. Similarly, if a kid had a bad emotional experience with a immunization procedure, he or she will probably be more hysterical over the prospect of a tooth extraction! Reaonable emotional experiences in adverse situations build emotional balance and strength. Excessive emotions do not.
Same Girl at Age Five: Been there, Done that! (Just a Little Pain)
The Authentic Choice Few Choose! Feeling less excessive emotions due to reduced focus also does not negate our authenticity, nor mean the emotion is not there. It is just the wisdom and strength to focus on the important and good, to keep our negative emotions managed at a level that reduces paralysis, un-informed reaction, self or mutual self destruction.
Like the illustrated situations, managing our excessive emotions gives a more meaningfully positive outcome, and give us emotional balance and perspective the next time we face difficulties.
Negative Focus. Focusing on the excessive negative emotions is similar to focusing on the Irrelevant in Misconception 2. Feeling excessive emotions does not mean that Gratitude and Positivity is not present at all times. Rather, Gratitude may be either present in weak form, temporarily disabled etc, frequently due to focus but occasionally due to physiology. Due to focus mostly, the Negative overwhelms the Positive, even when the actual situation frequently requires little to no negativity.
Gentle Awareness. With focus on the Relevant/Important Good, Gratitude and reasonable Positivity, the role negative feelings and wants mostly serve will be more as gentle awareness and empathy (for many, steady and alert backseat passengers/traffic lights), rather than the emotional and distracted driver/panic button. Reasonable positivity will be in the driving seat, and negative feelings or excessive wants will be less able to cause any unnecessary disaster.
Traffic and Traffic Lights. Functioning Traffic Lights and
Undistracted, Alert Drivers and Passengers Means Less Accidents
Contentment, Purpose and Reasonable Wants. Similarly, grateful people will have reasonable, achievable, low cost wants, but not excessive ones, hence a lower resource drain (less taxing and more surplus), fewer wild-goose chases and a better chance of maintaining happiness. Grateful people achieve/have a very achievable baseline contentment, with easy long term surplus/buffer. The journey and/or achievement of purposeful and reasonable goals etc are bonus.
With true Gratitude and the free choice to focus on blessings, there are emotions and wants, but the excessive are reduced. (We exclude the discussion of physiological changes for now)
Negative emotions now play the role of empathy and extra awareness, and have lesser chance of wrecking havoc.
Finally, the reasonable emotional experiences that Gratitude promotes in adverse situations helps builds emotional balance/bank account and strength, and ultimately bolster us in future difficult situations!
Thank you for reading and/or sharing!
Media Credits:photo credit: More alive via photopin (license), Luckygirl314, Unsplash
Common Misconceptions Debunked in Previous Post
Misconception 1: Reason for Gratitude – I have no reason to be grateful
Misconception 2. Boredom – Grateful people lead boring monotonous lives
Misconception 3. Gratitude is a Feeling – Either, I feel it or I do not
Misconception 4. Gratitude and contentment means we do not work for improvements, and are deaf to problems.
For a Future Post:
Misconception 6: I am grateful for this holiday, so I am going to maximize enjoyment through packing it with as many fun-filled activities and things as I can.