Updated: Oct 17
Making hay even when the sun doesn’t shine.
We can’t always be full of the joys of spring, even when it’s springtime like it is now in my home country of Australia, but positive emotion and energy can be sourced even when the source of our solar system isn’t shining a light on us – that’s because the sun is always emitting and it’s just the Earth’s rotation that creates periods of dark and light…look, the analogy still works, okay!
Setting an aim or goal and then striving towards and achieving said goal generates positive emotion and we become energised. A lot of people say a lot about goal setting, but one thing it definitely can do is pull you forward – and you’ll notice that too, it will almost be like an embodied sensation. Your goals are YOUR goals, but you want to make sure you’re optimally challenged, and any fear/anxiety with them are behind you chasing you towards your goals and not in front, inhibiting. This way, you’re made stronger, not weaker, and you become maximally motivated.
“You want to be more afraid of not achieving your goals than reaching them.”
Society is plagued with aimless people, so, I’m not surprised to see an abundance of low positive emotion out there along with an epidemic of depressive and anxious cases. There is a disunity within so many people (as they are not aligned, technically speaking), and this vagueness where nothing and everything is possible is overwhelming and not helpful.
A lot of people say a lot about self-esteem, too. There seems to be a whole generation of people brought up to elevate their self-esteem – the perception and value of themselves – without really understanding why other than to just feel better about who they are. Extraversion is the positive emotion dimension/trait (with Neuroticism being the negative emotion one), so naturally extraverted people have a great propensity to feel positive emotion more readily, which is not good news for people like me haha introvert.
Extraverted people are also likely to be energise by social interactions, have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem. So, if you want to feel better about yourself, just be an extravert! Either that or lower your goals. This is partially why you can’t really measure self-esteem and why I view it as a bit of a flawed concept, one that is already covered better by other concepts – Personality theory, self-efficacy, goal setting and assertiveness. Side note: Most people with low self-esteem, or even those who come to therapy, would benefit tremendously from assertiveness training.
“The ‘I am enough’ mentality is cocaine to the self-esteem generation – it’s dangerously addictive. You have to understand why you don’t feel good about yourself because perhaps you are right.”
Self-efficacy is something I really like and prefer to focus on. Basically, it’s an individual's belief in their capacity to execute behaviours necessary to produce specific outcomes. Self-efficacy reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one's own motivation, behaviour, and social environment. Hopefully it’s obvious why this is better to focus on (than self-esteem) and why it goes hand-in-hand with aims/goals, goalsetting, motivation and even life meaning.
Tying in with aim, motivation and meaning, I know it’s a terrible cliché, but you don’t want to wait to feel good before starting. If you only did things when you were energised and feeling good you would achieve jack shit (in another article I discuss the importance of discipline, duty and demanding things from yourself). This is why I previously talked about the huge and growing problem of aimless people with no meaning and their low positive emotion. People in this frame of mind are not only less likely to feel any positive emotion and energy, but what are they going to achieve? Except being a burden on society….and I don’t mean that as a putdown, I mean it technically, there are a plethora of ways it which society will pay for masses of people like this.
I feel I’ve written a lot about related topics surrounding this conversation which I list here for further reading:
Now, I’ve spent the majority of this article leaning towards the pitfalls of too little positive emotion and energy, but what about too much? Is there even such a thing? Short answer is yes. One tends to be quite gullible and agreeable due to very high levels of positive emotion, along with being quite selfish and potentially increasing the likelihood of unhappiness due to excessive chasing of that happy feeling. Too much energy? Well, that’s hysteria, mania, ecstasy, essentially. It’s the less talked about side of bipolar disorder (mania, that is), and sometimes why people just get diagnosed with depression because it was the presenting symptoms at the time. Obviously, not everyone with too much energy is bipolar or manic, but you get what I’m saying.
I don’t know about you, but I’m all out of energy. Go forth with your heart, your own internal sun, and shine into this world a candle that radiates energy and positivity in the truest sense. Together, we can kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.