Our personality traits are crucial for how we choose to live our lives and how we interpret the external forces of life.
How we respond to triggers and our likelihood of forming habitual responses may be influenced by impulsivity, conscientiousness, and openness (or lack thereof) to new experiences.
Anger, anxiety, and fear are places we all go to hide occasionally. While this comfort zone can provide some relief, it keeps us stuck in habitual patterns.
At a time in my life, anger was the dominant expression of most of my days to such a degree that it became a part of my personality.
When I looked more closely, I realized that my anger was a manifestation of deep pain and despair. A fear of not being good enough.
I was using anger to cover up these underlying emotions, which was a less vulnerable way of expressing them.
Anger can be a healthy emotion if we want something to stop, but anger is a disconnecting and separating emotion; if we want a connection, we must start dealing with our anger.Tweet
Love is the emotion of self-control, allowing us to act instead of always being reactive, but in the presence of love, we can sometimes feel vulnerable or even fearful and react in ways we later regret.
Whenever we react harshly, it is not love but anger, which is often based on fear.
Fear is primarily rooted in self-preservation and survival. It’s a natural response to perceived environmental threats or dangers, activating our body’s innate fight-or-flight response.
Many of us in the Western world experience fear daily despite having our basic needs met.
Most of the fear we experience comes from media influence, uncertainty, social comparison, existential concerns, and social pressures.
We create this fear with our thoughts, and our thoughts can only survive as long as we feed them.
We are not our thoughts. We are the ones creating our thoughts in every moment.
“Our life” is a product of our thoughts. Our thoughts dictate the choices we make and the actions we take.Tweet
In other words, we are not our experience. We are the ones creating our experience.
Let’s take a look at the negative consequences fear has on our lives and what we create when living in a fearful state:
- Paralysis and inaction: fear can immobilize us, preventing us from taking necessary actions or pursuing opportunities. In the Western world, fear is mostly a habit that hinders personal growth, limits our potential, and keeps us trapped within our comfort zones, repeating bad self/defeating behaviors.
- Anxiety and Stress: Prolonged or intense fear often results in chronic low or high anxiety and elevated stress levels, negatively affecting our physical and mental well-being. This impacts our sleep, eating patterns, and overall quality of life.
- Impaired Decision-Making: Fear gives us tunnel vision, clouds our judgment, and impairs our ability to make rational and constructive decisions. This can easily become a habit where we become overly cautious or make impulsive decisions leading to poor long-term outcomes.
- Dysfunctional relationships: Fear can destroy relationships by creating barriers to trust, communication, and intimacy.
- Limiting Beliefs and Self-Limitations: Fearful thinking fosters negative self-beliefs and reinforces self-limiting thinking patterns. Feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and a lack of self-confidence can be habitual responses and even prevent us from reaching our full potential.
- Missed Opportunities: Fear prevents us from pursuing growth, success, or opportunities that have the potential to nudge us in the right direction. Our fear holds us in a fixed mindset, preventing us from taking calculated risks that could lead to positive outcomes.
- Emotional and psychological stress: Living in a state of anxiety is emotionally and mentally draining for most of us. However, as much as we don’t like hearing it, most of our emotional and psychological stress is a habit that we are responsible for.
I know that’s a lot to take in, and maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t even know where to begin.” Or maybe you don’t do fear, keeping it all in until you implode or numb yourself because that is how you always dealt with the fear.
I will say this much; I have been there. I was stuck in a fearful state for many years.
Understanding the true nature of my feelings is the only thing that ever helped me approach what I experience with greater compassion and introspection.Tweet
Understanding the true nature of my feelings is the only thing that ever helped me. It allows me to approach what I experience with greater compassion and introspection.
Instead of allowing my anger to devour me, I began to identify and address the underlying feelings of sadness and hurt I had ignored for far too long.
I gradually learned healthier ways of expressing and processing my emotions through self-awareness and emotional exploration.
As I began to peel back the layers of anger, sadness, and hurt, I experienced a new sense of liberation and freedom.
I forgave myself and my father and allowed myself to heal and grow by creating space and validating my true feelings.
Maybe you are thinking: I cannot and will not forgive!
Forgiveness is for your benefit, not for the other person’s.
The process of forgiveness releases the thoughts and feelings that have kept you tied to the past and can be done without the other person’s participation.Tweet
Forgiveness is what allows you to let go of the regret or resentment that eats up your vital energy.
As I became better and better at respecting my underlying needs, my anger diminished, and most of my triggers disappeared almost overnight.
Today, I approach all my feeling and emotion with a deeper understanding of my underlying needs. This has increased my awareness of my feelings and emotions.
I am better able to recognize when I feel sad or hurt. Instead of turning to comfort food to avoid discomfort, I now address my emotions more constructively.
By understanding how our personality traits influence our responses to triggers, we can tailor our approach to our individual needs.
To identify my personality traits and how they affect my habits negatively, I have found it helpful to reflect on any conflict between my values, beliefs, and daily choices.
What kind of relationships do I want in my life, and how do I want personal growth and development as a man, a father, a friend, and a husband?
The desire to positively impact the world around me has driven me to improve my personality. Although I’m not there yet, I am working on it by focusing on one personality trait at a time.
“It is hard to love someone when you are full of self-hate, so first create a person you like and love, then go home and love your family.”Tweet
Five Empowering Questions
Here are five empowering questions to reframe some of your anger that might be holding you back:
- What emotions might be at the root of my anger, fear, or anxiety? How can I honor and address these emotions in a healthier and more constructive way?
- How are my current beliefs around fear and self-preservation limiting my personal growth and potential?
- What opportunities for growth am I not accepting?
- In what ways can I practice self-awareness and emotional exploration to gain a better understanding of my underlying needs and desires?
- How can I create space to validate my true feelings and cultivate forgiveness for myself and others, thereby releasing regret and resentment bound up energy?
These questions are designed to stimulate reflection and encourage positive change in all of us.
They have helped me (and continue to help) explore my feelings, challenge limiting beliefs, and open up new possibilities for personal growth and well-being.
When we focus on connection with ourselves and others, we approach our personality traits in a way that empowers us rather than holds us back.
I remind myself to only act on what I am willing to tolerate, including my own personality, behavior, and habits, by asking the question:
Do you want to tolerate your life until you die, or do you want to flourish and live a meaningful and fulfilling life?Tweet