Humans, by nature, are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. However, research in psychology and neuroscience has shown that humans are not always solely attracted to pleasure. We often find ourselves being attracted to negative emotions, which include complaining, suffering, and negativity.
It has been observed that not everyone associates success or victories with the concept of self-mastery. Additionally, I have noticed that when I share negative experiences on my social media, people tend to engage more by providing advice, offering support, and even sending private messages. Such posts have helped me enhance my social media vanity metrics. On the other hand, when I share my achievements or successes, I have to word them in a relatable manner, and people tend to prefer hearing a story of someone who started from the bottom and worked their way up- the classic rags to riches tale.
To most, when you share your wins without any context or sharing your personal struggles as to how you get there, some people may dismiss you as being boastful and I experience that and I wonder if people can genuinely be happy with other people’s accomplishments? Success as an outcome is just the tip of the iceberg.
Why do people also focus on negative emotions? There are a few reasons:
1. Complaining is a form of connection
Humans are social beings, and we thrive on social connections. Complaining is often a way to connect with other people since it allows us to express a common dissatisfaction with something. Common complaints often unite us with other people in a shared experience.
2. Complaining provides a sense of control
Complaining can provide us with a sense of control in situations where we feel powerless. Complaining allows us to voice our opinions and feel heard, even if we can’t change the situation.
3. Negativity can feel cathartic
Research has shown that venting has a soothing effect on our emotions, making us feel a sense of release. Expressing our negative emotions through complaining can have a similar effect and allow us to feel cathartically relieved.
However, while complaining and negativity can feel cathartic, they can also have a significant impact on our lives and how we show up in the world. Here are some ways that negativity can harm our personal growth and self-mastery:
1. Negativity can be draining
Spending our time and energy focused on the negative can be extremely draining. Complaints and negative emotions can lead to a negative attitude, which can radiate out and impact how we interact with the world around us.
2. Negativity can perpetuate negative behaviour
Focusing on negative emotions can also lead to a lack of personal responsibility. Blaming others for our own misfortunes can perpetuate negative behaviors and lead to a victim mentality. This, in turn, can limit our ability to grow and make positive changes in our lives.
3. Negativity can affect our mental health
Constantly focusing on negative emotions can lead to anxiety and depression, which can significantly impact our mental health and well-being. Negative emotions can also limit our ability to experience positive emotions and impact our overall happiness.
So, how can we break this cycle of negativity and start focusing on self-mastery and personal growth? Here are a few tips:
1. Practice gratitude
One way to shift your focus away from negative emotions is to practice gratitude. Each day, make a list of things that you are thankful for and focus on those positive aspects of your life.
2. Be mindful of your language
The language we use is incredibly powerful and can significantly impact our attitudes and emotions. Be mindful of the words you use and try to use more positive language in your daily interactions.
3. Take responsibility for your emotions
Rather than blaming others for how you feel, take responsibility for your emotions. You have the power to control how you respond to situations and can choose to focus on positive aspects rather than negative ones.
In conclusion, while negativity and complaining can feel cathartic and provide a sense of control, they can significantly impact our personal growth and self-mastery. By practicing gratitude, being mindful of our language, and taking responsibility for our emotions, we can shift our focus away from negativity and towards positive growth and personal development.