The Fundamentals of Human Nature
The short version of the reasons we are how we are.
The 2 Primary Drivers
of human life are the quest for physical, emotional, and social safety, and the quest for physical, emotional, and social comfort.
The quest for personal safety drives every human being to protecting the self and loved ones from physical harm, such as violence, abuse, health threats; from emotional harm, such as verbal abuse, loss and grief, and other emotional disturbances from any source; from financial harm, such as theft, fraud, and loss; from the loss of opportunities to thrive, and from many other threats that are considered as important by each individual.
The quest for personal comfort drives every human being to ensuring for the self and loved ones the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, clothing, income; to seeking the comforts of luxury, as defined by each individual according to personal preference; and to seeking the comfort of relationships, such as intimacy, affection, commitment, loyalty and much more. The definition of comfort varies greatly, depending on location, social status, and culture.
Whether real or perceived, it can cause mental health issues, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and progress to delusions and paranoid ideation. It can also induce excessive self-protection behaviors (e.g., hoarding, survivalism), aggressive behaviors toward real or perceived foes, as well as mind-numbing escape into alcohol and drugs.
OVER ABUNDANT SAFETY
Whether real or perceived, it can cause contempt, guilt, and smugness, as well as assumptions of invulnerability, invincibility, and power. It can also induce excessive risk-taking behaviors (e.g., law breaking, adrenaline-pumping activities), as well as self-indulgence and self-gratification with food, alcohol, and drugs.
Whether real or perceived, it can cause mental health issues, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and progress to delusions and paranoid ideation. It can also induce excessive self-protection behaviors (e.g., hoarding, survivalism), aggressive behaviors toward people, institutions, and society, as well as mind-numbing escape into alcohol and drugs.
OVER ABUNDANT COMFORT
Whether real or perceived, it can cause mental health issues, such as boredom, depression, narcissism, anti-establishment behaviors. It can also induce excessive self-indulgent behaviors (e.g., compulsive shopping, materialism, exploitation, greed, self-centeredness), as well as self-gratification with food, alcohol, and drugs.
The 4 Horsemen
These four strong emotions, if unleashed and uncontrolled, can wreak havoc on our lives and cause us to make some very bad choices.
There are two kinds of fear:
1) Real and justified fear of physical and emotional harm;
2) Perceived and often unjustified fear of the unknown. Anxiety and panic are synonyms and indicators of fear.
There are many manifestations of anger, ranging from passive that simmers and may be hard to detect, to explosive rage that can cause physical harm to individuals, animals, and property.
Guilt is about something the individual has done or failed to do that caused harm to the self, to others, and to society. Guilt can be justified or unjustified, as in taking responsibilities that do not belong to us.
Shame is a deeply personal discomfort that may be caused by an action taken, a feature of the body, a personality trait, and more. Often, it takes the form of low self-esteem, negative self-image, and fear of rejection.
The 4 Antidotes
Can help us overcome fear, anger, guilt and shame, bring them under control and help us make better choices. Emotional Antidote: something that counteracts or neutralizes a negative emotion, similar to a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison
Fear cannot and should not be eliminated, as it is a God-given emotion that can help us avoid dangerous people, places, and situations. Without the emotion of fear, we would take unnecessary risk, do foolishly dangerous things, and shorten our lives. Uncontrollable fear, however, can be paralyzing. It can also be exaggerated, i.e., not justified by the magnitude of threat or triggered by a threat that exists only in our mind. Whether fear is justified or unjustified, we must be able to overcome it in order to live better lives and take whatever action may be necessary. Courage is the best and most effective antidote to fear. It is the ability to function even when are afraid, to do what it takes to overcome fear, to talk ourselves out of paralysis, and to manage catastrophic outcomes.
Anger is a God-given emotion that must be used wisely. It can be very useful in certain situations, and if used judiciously, can be effective at asserting our rights, protecting our property and loved ones, and giving us the necessary strength to fight our foes. On the other hand, unbridled and destructive anger is a scourge on relationships, personal wellbeing, and society. The individual who cannot control his or her anger is a threat, a walking time bomb that can explode at the slightest touch. The antidote to uncontrolled anger is wisdom, i.e., the ability to anticipate the onset of it, the ability to control its manifestations, and the ability to apply it only if and when necessary and justified. Thus, while not eliminated, anger must be managed by the wise counsel of our better self.
The right kind of forgiveness is the only effective antidote for guilt, if understood and applied properly, first toward the self and then to others.
When we are on the receiving end of evil, it is hard to forgive the individual or entity that has caused us so much harm. When we hurt someone, break the law, or lie, or are guilty of any other transgression, it is difficult to forgive ourselves. Forgiveness of the self is a three steps process: 1) We must first decide to forgive ourselves; 2) Second, we must change our inner dialog from negative to positive; 3) And finally, we must archive the incident after having learned how to avoid repeating the behavior in the future. Forgiving others is a 2-step process: 1) We must first forgive with our heads; 2) Then, we must forgive with our hearts, and be able to let go without forgetting what happened.
Shame is about who you are, i.e., it is a rejection of the self, all of the self, even of what is good and noble about us–who are made in the image of God. This is often temporary and justified, but unfortunately that is not always the case. The only antidote to shame is acceptance of the self, all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We all have shortcomings (the bad), we all make mistakes that can be very bad (the ugly), and we all have good in us that is often neglected, denied, and dies for lack of nurture and learning. Acceptance can do wonders when we feel shame, as it can heal our wounds, mitigate our distress, and give us hope for a better future. Coupled with forgiveness, acceptance makes us into a better person not in spite what we have or have not done, but because of it.