Positive emotions express an intention to include - taking the whole into consideration. Positive emotions involve the exploration of more viewpoints and interacting more with others. They're fueled by an underlying desire for enjoyment and unity.
Some emotions camouflage as positive or negative, but really are the opposite of what they pretend, according to the Transformational Processing Institute. For example, there's a type of pity that appears as genuine concern for others, but which is taking comfort in the fact that someone else is worse off than you.
Although it might sound like the negative emotions are just something to get rid of, that's not necessarily the case. They actually serve important functions. They can reveal something one doesn't know and can't deal with. If that becomes motivation to then learn it and deal with it, this can be very useful. If you're always joyful, for example, you might miss noticing things that are wrong.
As human beings, we express all sorts of combinations of emotions. Some of us could be chronically stuck in a negative emotion. Others might be stuck in a positive one. And in stressful situations, we tend to react according to certain emotional patterns. A casual remark might push a button that unleashes pent-up anger. Sound familiar?
A helpful goal is to be fluid in terms of emotion - being able to use whatever emotion is most appropriate - and being able to use the full range as necessary. Most likely, a person who is fluid and flexible will choose to live mostly in a positive frame of mind. But the goal is actually integration - moving beyond the positive/
Which brings me back to my friend, Dick. Since he's going through this health challenge, I took the liberty of sharing some reworked song lyrics with him. With apologies to The Righteous Brothers and others who have recorded "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," I coined the following version to help flip the emotion in a positive direction:
You've got that hea-ea-ling fee-eeling
Who-oa, that healing feeling
You've got that healing feeling
Disease is gone, gone, gone
Who-oa, who-oa, whoa.
We've adopted this as "our song" to get through these uncertain times. It isn't meant to make light of the challenging situation - only to shed light on a different perspective. (And don't worry. I'm not quitting my day job).
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman of The Arnold Agency, an integrated marketing communications firm in Charleston. Reader comments or questions may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or e-mailed to livinglifefu...@arnoldagency.com.