The Law of Polarity And How It'll Help You Deal With Negative Emotions
Ep. 198
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This week I want to talk to you about the law of polarity, also called the law of duality. It’s the idea that the only way you can experience something is because you have experienced the opposite of it. And if you’ve been around for awhile, you know I always talk about life being 50/50 – you can only experience the good, if you’ve experienced the bad. So this week I want to talk to you about how you don’t have to be scared of those negative emotions and how you can use them to live the biggest, fullest life you want.

Show Transcript
We've all experienced hunger to a point and we know that when you eat after you've been hungry, it can be a very enjoyable experience. Right? And the only reason that it is that enjoyable or pleasurable or it feels so good is because…

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Hello, my friends. Welcome back to another episode. I am back less one gallbladder. I am doing great and I'm back with a new episode which I'm excited about. I actually covered this topic on a recent live workshop I did a couple months ago that was entitled Why We're All Miserable And How To Feel Better. And I think it's just such an important concept that I want everyone to understand so I wanted to bring it to you to the podcast. And this is the type of work that we do together in Pave Your Path. So if you listen to this episode and it reframes things for you and you start thinking like oh my God, I never thought of it that way, this makes things so much easier. This is what we do week in and week out in Pave Your Path together for six months. And I want you as you're listening just to think about like when we just change the way we think about things, there doesn't have to be so much resistance. It doesn't have to be so hard. We don't have to push through, right. It's just a little bit of a tweak. Like if you change the direction you're going by a couple of degrees, you end up in a completely different place. And that's what we hope to do in the six-month program. So if you're interested in doing this work deeper and taking these concepts and actually applying them and getting help with them, go to and sign up for the wait list because that is who we will open up the doors to first when we do that. I think it'll be sometime in June. So go ahead and sign up for that. But let's jump in. Okay. We all know the phrase: it's not the destination, it's the journey. Right? We all get it like yeah, yeah. And I've done a ton of episodes about the fact that like even though we hear that we still constantly just seek that destination, right. We constantly want to get there, want to arrive at some place where we think that we'll magically feel better. We'll magically have no stress and just be a different person and wake up in the mornings and don't hit snooze and get through our to-do list and never feel overwhelmed. And it sounds ridiculous because no matter what you achieve, you it will still be you with the same human brain. But we still do that. But once you kind of move past that even, and let's say you get to the next ninja level and you start realizing like there is no there, right? So how do I enjoy the journey? I think what we automatically think is right, but I'm only gonna obviously enjoy the good parts of the journey, right? The rest of the parts we have to get through, right? We've all talked about how life is 50/50 and you have to get through the 50% of the negative emotion but I'm just gonna enjoy the good parts of this journey. And I'm gonna make the case today for why you should enjoy even the crappy parts and how you can maybe a little more and maybe we don't get all the way to joy but maybe we just resist it less. Okay. I wanna give you a new way to think about your negative emotions. Now, again, you've heard me talk about the fact that life is 50/50. If you're new to the podcast then maybe you haven't, but if you are a long-time listener, you know that one of the biggest tenets that I teach on is the fact that again, nothing that you achieve, no amount of money, no relationship, no body size, whatever it is that you're going after. Nothing will all of a sudden take away your human experience of having positive and negative emotions. The one fact that we can all guarantee and rely on is that emotions are fleeting. They will come and go, both good and bad. There's no like holding on to happiness and then staying there as if it's like some destination to arrive at. It will come, it will pass. Our brain is uniquely created. It has evolved to kind of keep us on what psychologists call this hedonic treadmill. So they've done tons of studies where they look at people who have had really extreme experiences, whether that be very positively like extreme or negatively. So lottery winners or people that have been in, you know, ho- horrific accidents that left them completely burned all over their body. And what they've found is that after the initial time where your emotions are either very high or very low, we always come back to kind of a set point, a happiness set point that we get to and it's kind of in the middle, right?

And it doesn't matter what other circumstances have in our life. And we all know this, right? We've all experienced this. Like you thought that once you got the degree, once you got a job, once you were making a certain amount of money, then all of a sudden you'd be so happy and you got there and you were happy for a little bit. And then you also were stressed and had anxiety. And you worried about other things cuz that's just the way the human brain works. Your brain's always gonna look for different things that it has to be worried about. It's going to try to keep you alive. Part of this hedonic treadmill, the reason that like I said it was we were evolved for it is that it keeps us from not being complacent, right? Which keeps us alive. If there's no negative emotion that's pushing you to try new things, to leave the cave and search for food, if you're just constantly feeling just happy and great, you're not gonna do a lot. And so part of why we're wired this way is to keep the species alive, right? It's to keep us searching and innovating and creating and going after things and trying and striving and it's by design. And it's actually like a pretty beautiful thing. And I will say when you look at it from the negative standpoint, like when you have really extremely negative emotions, we see how beneficial having this defense mechanism in our brain is, right? When we will all experience some kind of tragedy in our life, we will lose loved ones, horrible things will happen cuz it it's just life. It will. And we all are glad, should be glad, that our brain has this mechanism that keeps us from living the rest of our life in grief, right? Living the rest of our life in depression and sadness, because something bad happened. Like it will help you bounce back. But it also happens on the other side of that scale. Right? You can't have one without the other, even though we all wish we could, it's like the same mechanism that's going to help you heal over time and help tr- really like traumatic and tragic things that happened to us dull a little bit over time. And let us come back to finding joy and happiness and laughter and positivity. The same thing that does it when we have really extreme positive emotions. Right. And so I think we all kind of see that but another aspect to this that I want I wanted you to know and have in your little toolkit. And I want you to think about is the law of polarity and sometimes it's called the law of duality. Okay. It's this idea, well, it's this law that like the only way that you can know one thing is because you have something else to compare it to. There's something else that is the opposite of that thing. This is what exists in our realities, in our universe. Okay. So for instance, we've all experienced hunger to a point and we know that when you eat after you've been hungry, it can be a very enjoyable experience. Right? And the only reason that it is that enjoyable or pleasurable or it feels so good is because you experience the pain of hunger. Think about the fact of like have you ever eaten a meal or eaten food when you're already full, it just doesn't taste that good. It's not that exciting. Right? In fact, it's can be very uncomfortable and those are physical sensations. But even the pleasure, even like the emotion of like if you love food and you are not hungry, it's just not as pleasurable. It's not as exciting. It doesn't matter how good the food tastes. Right? So it's really the experiencing of that negative aspect, that negative feeling, that negative sensation that allows the positive sensation to feel good as well. So I want you to think about this when we think about the emotions that we're so scared of. I wanna uh think about this scenario: think about a person that you love the most. Okay. It could be your dog. It doesn't have to be a person. Just the thing, person, whatever brings you the most happiness. If it's your child, if it's uh a spouse, a dog, you get the point. I want you to think about how you feel when you are with that person. When you see that person or animal, when they come in the room, how much it lights you up, right? That swelling feeling that we feel in our chest or however you feel love, whatever the sensation is that you feel in your body and how good it feels, right? Now, I want you to think about if you never missed that person. Like if when that person was wasn't there, it made no difference to you, right? Just like completely like eh, they're not here, whatever. We all know how that feels too. Like we I'm sure you have people in your life, maybe it's a coworker, random acquaintances, whatever, where like it doesn't really make a difference to you whether they're there or not. You don't like actively dislike them. But it's also, you're not that excited to see them, right. When they're like they're either there or they're not neither one makes a difference. Now, if you felt the same way about the person that you love the most, that way where it's like yeah, when they're I'm totally fine if they're not here, then you also would not feel that glorious, amazing feeling of love when they come in that room. Right? Like you wouldn't be able to understand that feeling of love if you didn't experience loneliness or yearning or missing someone. And so even though it feels terrible oftentimes to feel lonely or to feel like you're missing somebody, when you realize that like the positive emotion that I want to experience, that I truly love experiencing, that is what makes life worth living, which is what like the best parts of life only comes because I'm also willing to experience the negative emotion that goes with it. Actually love is a really good example because part of love like you are not really truly able to experience the depths of love if you're not willing to be vulnerable with someone, right. Loving someone means opening your heart up to being hurt if that person leaves, if something happens to that person, if that person is just not there, like it's part and parcel of love. And so when we are so afraid of that negative aspect of it, right, when we're so afraid of the rejection or losing somebody or what so we close ourselves off. We wall ourselves off. We also miss out on that positive emotion, right? We miss out on the full scale of what we can feel and experience in our lives. And so I want you to like truly think about this when you're thinking about whatever it is, the positive emotions that you're after. When let's say if it comes to work or if it comes to just your your day-to-day, whatever it is, right. I want you to think about, here's like another example: when you wake up in the morning and you go downstairs and pour yourself a glass water or a cup of coffee, whatever you drink in the morning, do you feel like a really deep sense of accomplishment? Are you just so proud of yourself? I’m gonna guess no. And I guess that you're that sounds ridiculous. Right? And the reason is because it's not hard for you. It’s something that's very normal, right? You're just gonna get up and do it. And you do it every day and you've done it enough times and you have confidence in doing it. It's not a big deal. You don't even think about it. Right? And so I want you to think about when you have these goals that you want, like the comp things that you want to accomplish in your life, these these big things. Why do you want those? The reason we go after goals, the reason we do anything is in order to feel something or to avoid feeling something. But let's say you’re going after these big goals, these big dreams because that feeling of accomplishment, that feeling of pride, that feeling of elation, that feeling of like happiness of accomplishment. That only comes on the back of failure and difficulty and frustration. If it's something that's super easy to you, you also don't get the positive emotions. You don't get the accomplishment. You don't get the elation. You get pouring a cup of coffee. Like it's fine. It's totally fine. It's just that it's a limited level of like feeling that you're gonna experience. And so part of how I started looking at emotions is what if all of this is our ability to grow our capacity to feel everything, right? Like how do we stop living so small, both in the positive and the negative. And when we limit ourselves because we're so scared of the negative, we also limit the positive that we can have. Right? We all feel this. A lot of us feel this when we don't push ourselves. Right? So many of us are so afraid of failure cuz we've been taught this lie that failing is bad. Even though it's literally the only way to do anything new. And so we've been programmed from school to never fail. And so we don't. We don't try things. We don't push ourselves. We don't set goals anymore. We make fun of like new year's resolutions. We just live our day-to-day lives. And that's why so many of us become restless and we become frustrated. Because we want those really positive feelings but we're so scared to feel the negative. We're so scared to like experience what rejection feels like and what failure feels like that we don't open ourselves up to all of those positives. We just decrease the amount that we will feel, right. It's like we just like close in on that circle of both positive and negative.

And when you start really understanding what the point of emotions are, right? They're just like messages from your brain. There's like they’re nothing that can hurt you. It's a vibration in your body and you start realizing like huh, if I can feel this vibration, if I can feel the vibration that comes with rejection or shame or embarrassment, whatever it is, like any emotion I can handle, then it's like what can I create in my life? Right? What's the opposite side of that? What's the polar opposite of that feeling that I'm going after? Cause it's a package deal. You cannot have all of the excitement and joy and accomplishment without also experiencing the negative stuff. And so what if we start looking at our emotions in this way, not as something that needs to be stamped out, that we need to run away from, that we need to resist, that we need to get rid of, but just an equal part in creating the fullest, most amazing, biggest life that we wanna have. Right? What if we looked at them as what they are, which is just beautiful messages into what you truly want? Like how can you know what your desires are if you don't have jealousy? Like that points you to what it is you want. Negative emotions are the drivers of your actions towards that life that you want. As I mentioned earlier, when I talked about the hedonic treadmill, right? Part of evolutionarily why we were wired this way is because imagine like when you're just content, I mean, you don't have to imagine, a lot of us do this where it's like life is okay, it's fine. And many of us spend decades just letting things be fine because we're content. It's okay, doesn't need to be any more than that. And because we don't want to feel a lot of the negative emotions, we just go through the motions. We don't add things. We don't strive. We don't try to get better or we don't try to do new things or have new experiences. And so a lot of our life doesn't change and that's okay if that's what you want. But for a lot of us, we become restless because there is that deeper desire for more, for bigger, for new experiences, for creating the like this one amazing life and being able to do everything that you want in that time.

And so if you aren't in a rush to get rid of these negative emotions, if you really tune in to like what is this trying to tell me? And what is this the flip side of, right? What is on the opposite side of this coin? When I if I have to feel these things, what is the positive stuff I get to feel? Am I willing to feel these negative emotions in order to have those positive ones? Like that's a question you have to ask yourself. If you're going for that new career, if you're gonna change your whole life, if you're gonna try the new business, you have to ask yourself like what negative emotions am I willing to feel in order to do this? Because there will be a lot. Nothing has gone wrong. Am I willing to feel failure and embarrassment and shame, frustration and boredom and annoyance and inadequacy and all the amazing feelings that come along with it in order to create the most incredible life, right? And in order to have all of those positive emotions. And that's why when I say like wh- how can we start looking at it so that we're not so afraid of them, so we're not so resistant, so we can actually enjoy that part of the journey too. Right? Cause I think part of this is this mistaken belief that like something has gone wrong when we have these negative emotions. Like I shouldn't feel this frustrated or angry or whatever the emotion is. It's like what if nothing's gone wrong? That was just a necessary part of the journey. I'll give you a last example. I want you to think about like let's say if you decide that you want to run a marathon, a lot of people like pick this as kind of a bucket list item to accomplish. And I want you think about like why people pick that, like we all have had the friend who like isn't really into many athletic things and then they just decide they wanna run a marathon. And again, you go into it knowing it is going to be extremely difficult, knowing that most people don't do it, knowing that you have to put in months and months of training, which are gonna be grueling, which you're gonna have a ton of negative emotion and negative thought throughout it. Right. And that's only the only reason that when you cross that finish line, it feels so frickin good. It's such a sense of accomplishment. There's so much pride. There's so much joy. If you didn't have to put in all that work, if it was a cake walk, if it was just a walk in the park, anybody could run a marathon, people would not have that as like a bucket list item. It wouldn't be a goal for anybody cause everybody could do it. Right. And so when you start looking at this as like okay, what is the negative parts of my journey? Then when you are going through it, it doesn't have to be as dramatic. You don't have to have so many thoughts about it, right? Like yeah, of course I feel frustrated cuz I've never run a business before. So of course, I'm gonna have to figure out how to do this stuff. Of course, I'm gonna fail at let's say launching this product because I don't know anything about marketing. So I'm just gonna have to go through all of the failure in order to keep figuring this out. Of course, it sucks to feel rejected when I send all of these resumes out for a position that is in a new career for me. And like that's the only way that it feels amazing when I build this new career that other people don't think I can do. And there's a tool that I think is really helpful cuz this is all fine and great in theory. And we can talk about it really in hindsight too, it's easy to talk about, but it's hard when you're going through it. And I love this tool that uh Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her book, Big Magic. And she talks about how like whenever she's going through a lot of negative emotion or going through like a hard time, she likes to think about it or talk about it as like and preface it with the phrase: this is the part to where. Okay. So when you look back in hindsight in your life, it's really easy to see certain things that you thought were devastating or really bad or whatnot and it turns out maybe it was a blessing in disguise or maybe it was just, you know, a short period of time and you got through it. And so you can look back and think like oh, that was the part where I got my heart broken and I thought I would never recover. You know? And you realize that you did or this is the part where, when she talks about it for herself as a writer like when she goes through writer's block she thinks like oh this is the part where I think I can never write another good page to, you know, for the rest of my life. And she knows that that's not true. Like instantly saying that is like okay, this is the part where I'm gonna feel some negative emotions, where things are hard. And when I use this for me, it instantly helps me gain a little bit of distance between me and my thoughts. Right. Cuz in our brain, when we're going through hard things, it seems as though this is the end of the world. It will never end. It will always feel like this. It's too hard and I can't make it through. And then when you just use this like really, you know, easy technique, it helps you see like okay, this is just one part. This is the part where I get rejected. And I think that I am never gonna find a job again. And you can see like that's not what's gonna happen. I already know I'm gonna, I'm able to get a job. It's just like this was the part where I got rejected. And so I have to feel those feelings that come from rejection. Right? I I have another friend who whenever negative, bad things happen she says like oh, this is good for the plot. Right? And it's like when you think about it, like think about the stories we love, the movies we love. Nobody wants to listen to a story where everything worked out. Like the protagonist just wakes up every day, everything is perfect. Nothing ever goes wrong. They have no challenges in life. Everything works out and they're like perfectly happy. It's like the most boring movie or book you could ever read. And it's not the truth. And the reality is like we all love like seeing the trials and tribulations that everybody else goes through. And like that's what makes a good story. So what if like when you're going through those hard times, you think about like oh, this is gonna be great for the plot. When I write the book on my life, this this chapter is, you know, people are gonna get get a kick out of it. Again, these are just like little like tricks to help you when you're in the moment because in the moment our brain really wants to believe like we're gonna die and we're not. But the overall point of it that I really wanna stress on you is that what if we just didn't have to be so scared of the negative emotion? What if we realized that the negative emotion is equally as important of a part of this journey as the positive ones? That one isn't good versus bad. They just are. It's just part of the human experience. And as you go and stretch yourself and try to have the funnest, most amazing, most perfect life for you, they're both gonna come along. And when you start reframing it like that for yourself, when you start realizing oh, nothing has gone wrong that I feel this way, it starts making the journey even more fun, right? Like now not only do we not have to get to the destination, we also don't have to hate 50% of the journey. We can just know like okay, today is the day that I'm gonna have some negative emotion. Let's get on with it. That in and of itself reduces the negative emotion by so much, right? Like when you don't add all the drama to the negative emotion like this shouldn't be happening. I'm terrible at this. I knew I could never do it. Right. And you're just like oh yeah, here comes rejection. This is gonna suck. It's so much easier. Right? There's so much less resistance which is what makes these negative emotions stick around forever is cuz we create all these stories about 'em. About how terrible we are and how we'll never amount to anything or whatever. And when you let that go and you're like no, this is supposed to be here. This is the part where I feel these emotions and I keep pushing towards my goal. Not only are you gonna like enjoy it more, but you're more likely to stick with the goal, right? Nobody wants to stick with goals where you feel miserable all the time. And so when you can start realizing that like those 50% are what's getting you to that goal line, it's what's nudging you ahead and it doesn't have to be as miserable as you're making it, it's a game-changer my friends. So I want you to ask yourself what negative emotions do you have to be willing to feel in order to create the life that you want? Are you willing to feel those? I hope you are because the more you grow the capacity to feel, the more of an amazing life you will create for yourself. I hope this episode has helped. If you like these types of reframes and you wanna do this work in more depth, go to and join the wait list for the program. I would love to have you in there. And if not, I will see you next week for another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.