One of the challenging aspects of being a member of the current modern society is the amount of focus is put on negative events, people, etc. The heavy emphasis on these negative factors combined with our innate negativity bias can lead to further cognitive distortion or catastrophizing. Cognitive distortion can be described as an unconscious reoccurring pattern and frequent inaccurate thoughts and is often connected to our negativity bias. Besides, the negativity bias often leads our minds to give more psychological significance to undesirable experiences. As a result of the negativity bias, individuals often end up becoming more aware of negative stimuli and events. Additionally, the individual might become trapped in rumination of the previous events, which will only perpetuate the same patterns.
The negativity bias is also innate and a part of human evolution, which often was based on survival. Furthermore, the tendency to focus on survival also led to putting more emphasis on negative and dangerous situations and often could be determining factors to survival. Additionally, individuals that were more attuned or aware of threats often improved their ability to survive. Consequently, these negative habitual patterns of thought were often inherited through genes to survive and become more attentive to threats and dangers. Lastly, an evolutionary perspective helps to comprehend our innate pattern to ruminate on negative occurrences rather than beneficial ones, which is often a safety mechanism and defence to keep us safe.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the negativity bias is innate and often even emerges in the early stages of life. Specifically, the negativity bias emerges during infancy and further develops throughout an individual’s life. For example, the infants often display their negativity bias during their social evaluation of individuals that are dissimilar to them or even unknowns, which is often observable in three early months of their lives.
However, in the current society, constant worry or high alertness is often unnecessary and often related to our ancestors’ survival, which depends on predicting dangers and threats. Besides, research has shown that our negativity bias can often influence our thought patterns, responses, and feelings. As a result of the influence, an individual might experience the negative bias being evident in one’s relationships, choices, and the perception of other individuals. Disclaimer, the negativity bias often significantly impacts our relationships, especially our intimate relationships. The main factor in becoming aware is the anticipation of something negative from our partner, which leads to establishing defences before an argument or interaction.
Habits to Incorporate to Combat the Negativity Bias
iOne of the most important individuals in my life has been my father, and he has had a significant impact on the development of my character. The relationship between my father and I have been highly turbulent due to several conflicts, which often were about our opposing approaches to life. My father always appeared to be occupied with his career and exhibited some narcissistic traits. As a result, he often was absent during important moments or never found out about any significant events, meetings, etc. I often did not invite him because I was afraid of disappointing him or him ridiculing me in front of others.
My father's demands and standards were high, and often I would find myself disappointing him continuously. The disappointment was often caused by a subpar performance, which led to some consequences and often, it would be some form of punishment instead of attempting to understand. The lack of care and nurture made me a misled and furious adolescent, which, combined with the educational institute approaches, further perpetuated the same behaviour and patterns. Despite my resentment and rebellious behaviour, I was still able to do decent in school and went on to university. On the other hand, after my early twenties, I was genuinely into self-development and attempting to become healthier.
The self-development journey led to visiting and participating in most forms of therapies, workshops, programs, books, etc. Later on, I had to choose a specific field to study, which led to my current degree because it contained several modules about Carl Gustav Jung. Due to my interest in eastern philosophies and spirituality Carl Jung has been a significant character and has been as important as my spiritual teachers. Nevertheless, my degree and healing journey has led to a complete identity shift and significant personal growth. The growth has led to an increase in emotional and intellectual maturity and has been a significant factor in my father's reconciliation.
The reconciliation of our relationship has been a demanding but incredible journey. Additionally, my degree and interest in self-development have contributed to a greater level of understanding of other individuals, especially my father. Besides, the degree and other forms of education have led to me prioritising unconditional love and being able to forgive myself and other individuals. Disclaimer, I have been working on myself for about ten years to this point, which has come with several turbulent experiences, and nothing has ever been ideal or perfect.
Nevertheless, I can finally understand both of my parents, but mostly my father, and how much he had to be independent in his early stages of development. The man had several responsibilities and often lacked adequate support throughout his life, which was never fair to him. Additionally, he was subjected to the same behaviour exhibited by his father and was only unconsciously playing out learnt patterns. Besides, I finally realised that my father desired a relationship with a caring and nurturing individual, which he never had in his life. The process of forgiveness was challenging and required me to deal with the emotional residue connected to my father. Lastly, I realised that he never was an antagonist because numerous events did exist where he was a healthy father figure.
My father was never an antagonist or a protagonist, but he was an individual who attempted his best based on his level of consciousness. The main challenge was that he was unconscious and lacked a proper support system around him to become a healthier individual. On the other hand, I was being called to become that figure or individual that my parents lacked in their lives, and I can admit that the journey has been extremely difficult. The calling or vocation originated from an archetype referred to as the Self, which demanded that I become the reliable, nurturing, and mature individual my family was in desperate need of (to my older sis if you are reading this, sorry, but we both know I am the favourite and the best 😊).
Over the past years, I have been able to become that reliable, nurturing, and mature individual. However, the process was far from quick but completely worth each second because it fills my heart with joy to see the current affectionate and great family environment. The enjoyment I receive from seeing both my parents and older sister in a healthier place than before is better than any external superficial achievement. To be clear, just because I am writing such a post does not mean I do not have boundaries and that I am willing to tolerate anything. In other words, do not mistake my nurturing and caring behaviour as a foolishness or that you can treat me in any manner you like. 😊
The relationship between my father and I have exceeded the ordinary father and son dynamic. Additionally, I finally see him as a friend I cherish profoundly and have unconditional love for because our relationship is beyond father and son. My father is finally receiving the care, nurture, and support he needs, and it is coming from his favourite child, me (sorry, sis). Last of all, do not assume that I expect others to take up the same responsibility as me because it is incredibly demanding and unfair.