“Understand that all of your emotions are based in either fear or love.” – Joe Caruso, Success Strategy No. 2
“Know that you can’t experience hatred without also experiencing fear.” – Joe Caruso, Success Strategy #35
When we understand that all of our emotions stem from either fear or love, we can begin to acknowledge how our insecurities and fears determine how we might respond to people or events in our lives. When we feel hate, or respond with hatred, it is always based in fear. This begs the question — what is it that we fear, and why do we fear it?
The stoic philosopher Spinoza said, “We do not hate a foe that we are confident we can overcome.” When we identify a situation or a person as threatening, and we are fearful, we generally experience hatred.
Just as jealousy, anger, and animosity are manifestations of fear, hate is another way that fear can “disguise itself.” All too often we mislabel our negative feelings as valid emotions caused by other people or external events. In reality, our inner fears and insecurities are the true culprits driving these negative feelings.
How to Prevent Fear from Becoming a Disabler
It’s important to recognize fear and insecurity as the source of anger, otherwise fear can become quite a disabler and potentially dangerous to self and others. You can learn to identify when and how fear translates into negative emotions in your own life with this little test. Next time you experience hatred or animosity, 1) Step back from the situation, 2) Try to objectively identify why you feel the way you do.
The odds are that you won’t like the answer you get. You’ll discover that your inner fears are actually the cause of your negative feelings. Left unidentified and unchecked, these inner fears will short-circuit your ability to properly analyze the situation.
Why Connecting Anger to Fear is Critical to Getting a Handle on All the Hate
Once you’ve been able to make the connection between your hatred and your fear, you’ve won half the battle. Why? Because in our lifetime, we have all already had an experience where we managed our fears and/or acted beyond them. (While you may currently have some fears in your life that you don’t feel in charge of, if you honestly reflect, you have also had many fears that you’ve learned to either manage or act beyond.) This is why understanding and identifying fear as fear is critically important.
Too often, once fear has manifested into anger, and is identified as such, one’s ability to manage or act beyond anger is nearly impossible. Learn more about one of the Four Rules of Engagement, “Our greatest desire is to be right,” to understand why this is true.
If you can clearly identify antagonistic and hateful behavior as fearful, you will find that it will no longer have a negative effect on you. You have now freed yourself to get a better handle of your emotions and take charge of the resulting actions. And more importantly, you will have gained tremendous insight and powerful understanding about those who were negatively affecting you, which puts quite a different perspective on that jealous or antagonistic foe. Getting to this point requires a great deal of courageous honesty — with yourself and others — but you will find that the benefits are well worth the effort.
There are times that both fear and anger require action. History has proven that the inability of the individual and collective mind to make a distinction between the two can create dangerous and debilitative outcomes. Doing the work to think about the why behind the what can inform our actions in ways that create much healthier and successful outcomes, for ourselves and for others.
Author, speaker, business advisor and Trenton native Joe Caruso is an expert in the psychology that drives people’s thoughts and behaviors. He resides on Grosse Ile. For more information on Joe and the Caruso Leadership Institute, visit www.carusoleader-ship.com. For more of Joe’s writings, click the “blog” tab on his home page.