When I was 6 I got a bicycle for my birthday. Overjoyed, I proudly took it to school where I met a girl in my class. She took one look at me and said;
“Is that all you got! On my birthday, I got a bicycle and a tape recorder and a whole outfit with patent shoes and everything!”
By the time she’d finished, my bicycle seemed a minimal gift and rather unworthy and my joy had turned to envy. On reflection I doubt that she had received any of those things and I suspect she was extremely envious, but unable to own her feelings, her reaction to me was one that in fact passed her envy over to me.
Emotions are a transferable commodity.
She walked away feeling good and I walked away feeling envious of her.
Envy is an emotion passed easily in this way, as are fear, anger, and guilt… indeed all our most challenging emotions. People can behave in ways that literally give us their experience and pass us their unwanted emotional package.
Likewise, emotions are contagious, passed in ways that spread and magnify.
With happiness, the outcome is marvellous, we all feel good! However, with more destructive emotions like fear or anger, when misused, these emotions can spread like an epidemic with individuals, communities and whole nations overwhelmed and swept along in the power of the collective tide, losing sight of any capacity for reflective thought and personal choice.
This is just a snippet of the full article published on the Huffington Post. To read more please click here.