Below is a modified excerpt taken from one of my self-help books – DIY Therapy Chart: An Emotional Healing Guide – that some people have found very useful over the years. I hope it helps you, too.

“You, generally speaking, go about life trying to get and maintain what you believe you need and/or want. It is usually in relation to pursuing a life goal or purpose whether it is chosen by you or the society (including family) in which you live (e.g. getting married, becoming a doctor, environmentalist and so on).

Negative emotions or ‘states of being’ arise when you cannot achieve this or when you are successful but disappointed with the reality of what you thought you needed or wanted (i.e. it was not what you expected). For example, a woman who always wanted a family like the one she was raised in marries a man who tells her he wants the same thing. Later on she discovers that he is more interested in acquiring material possessions than rearing children. She is the only one raising the children, feels like a single mother and so decides to divorce her husband. Some of the negative emotions she may be feeling at this point: ANGER (that he misled her), FEAR (that she will not make it on her own) and GUILT (that she could not make it ‘work’).

The actions of others can also cause negative thoughts and feelings toward that person, yourself and other people. To illustrate this point, let’s say you were severely betrayed by a friend in business which has made it difficult to trust others again, including yourself for having been duped. Any negativity toward the ‘offender’ is justifiable and needs to be dealt with appropriately so that you can get on with your life. That is, you need to discover the meaning, lesson or purpose in the experience – which in this case might be discernment – as well as feeling your emotions. Developing discernment will also assist you to have FAITH in yourself and others in future.

However, there is much more to life than getting what you want and then being disappointed with the results or with the people who cross your path. Your DNA has encoded within it your life’s experiences (i.e. fate) – what you are here to learn and grow from. These life events are not ones you go searching for in an attempt to fulfill any desires, such as, childhood experiences which are largely out of your control. As you get older, learn more about the world and yourself (assuming you are in a position that allows for this) you discover that you have choices (i.e. free will). Until such a time you do not have a choice, or your choices are limited, as you are unaware of any other reality. Life is a combination of fate and free will. The following scenario will illustrate this:

George was raised by a very strict father who was both physically and psychologically abusive. The only people he did interact with were his father’s family who were as abusive as he was. His mother was very subservient and also brutalized by him. George grew up believing that women were controlled by men who always had the power. One day in high school he started going to a friend’s house and was surprised to learn that not all fathers were cruel and some mothers actually are the heads of the household. He was amazed to see both of his friend’s parents helping with the housework and speaking calmly to one another. He realized that life was not necessarily what he had previously believed and wanted this better way of being for himself. George decided that when he went to College, he would never return to his family.

George’s horrific childhood also leads me to the topic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which involves living through the detrimental psychological effects of abuse/trauma (e.g. panic attacks, nightmares, rage, depression, insomnia etc. – usually lasting several months or years). Seek professional help if you think you are experiencing PTSD.

In the above example, George did not have a choice about creating a better reality until he was aware that more positive states existed.