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Waves of emotion

6 categories of negative behaviour

Most of us have experienced powerful events – both positive and negative – that changed our direction or outlook on life. These pivot points can determine how we see ourselves and how we react to the world around us. But the sad fact is that negative events in a person’s life carry far more emotional weight than the positive.

Negative pivot points generally impressed some kind of negative behavior in our psyche, that is either aggressive or submissive. Negative pivot points are almost always at the root of struggle. I can say with assurance that all of the patients I’ve treated who are in the midst of struggle have pivot points that are related to the six categories of struggle:

  1. anger
  2. fear
  3. addiction
  4. shame
  5. excessive desire for status or money
  6. toxic need for love and/or acceptance

Finding the cause of negative behaviour

It may seem ridiculous to you that a person can’t look back and see painful or humiliating events that have helped shape their life. Yet there are many who can’t. They have spent so much time closeting them in their mind or trying to reshape them into positive events, that they can no longer see or conceive that they were negative, let alone pivotal.

People who live in such denial are struggling with something they have tried very hard not to look at. What might that be? They sometimes honestly don’t know because their mind is cleverly trying to protect itself from the pain of self-analysis.

Searching for the cause of one of these behaviors will work best when one of these behaviors breaks out. For example, an unexplained out- burst of anger would be the time to search for the deep source of that anger. A sudden outburst of unexplained fear would be the time to take a break and ask yourself, “What am I fearful of?” A fit of uncontrolled spending on an unnecessary luxury item would be the time to ask yourself whether you spent that money just to impress others…and so on.

There are many negative behaviors in our lives that can be set off by pivot points. That’s why it’s important to take a break when these events take place and discover why they have taken place.

Healing takes conscious effort

Conscious effort goes beyond knowing the source of personal struggle, and the knowledge of how to overcome it. Conscious effort is persistence, it means you become your own guide, it means forward motion.

No matter what the struggle involves, conscious effort to stop it is at the very forefront of the fight for freedom.

So, what is involved in conscious effort? Persistence, knowledge and self-love is the simple answer. Almost anything with the word “effort” in the title requires persistence, which is merely the ability to sustain effort. And of course, knowledge is a key ingredient, because it tells you why you are persisting and what it is you will receive for your persistence. It is knowledge that clarifies the path to the endgame. It lets you know what your goal is and how to get there.

But persistence and knowledge are not enough to power you up the path to change. Self-love is a necessary element because without it, conscious effort is usually too difficult to achieve, and with it, life becomes much easier.

So how do you assemble the right mixture of persistence, knowledge, and self-love? Oddly enough, it will all come if you can just master self-love.

Mastering self-love

It’s almost laughable to say, “if you can just master self-love,” because self-love is one of the most difficult things for mankind to master. The notion of self-love is easy to misunderstand. When I talk about self-love, I am talking about people who have had the courage to explore their flaws as honestly as they can, and have come away with a love of themselves that allows them to continue to improve with confidence. We all struggle, but no matter what we struggle with, the struggle is first rooted in a lack of love for ourselves.

This may be confusing, especially if we believe that someone else did us wrong and we can blame our personal struggles on them. But the fact is, self-love is only possible if we make peace with ourselves.

Buddha said, “Peace comes from within, do not seek it without”. I will go one further and say, that no matter what your source of struggle is, it will always be there if you are not at peace with yourself. That is why I have chosen to make Mastering Self-Love the first and foremost skill one must have in facing the struggles of life because it will allow you to accept whatever you find in your search to stop the struggle.

Self-love is a force, the very underpinning you need to press forward. To stop the struggle, it is absolutely essential, that you first develop self-love as the foundation for confidence.

Excerpt from Stop the Struggle


Derek O'Neill

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