We all have priorities in life. When it comes to our emotions, there are basically four priorities that we tend to choose in life. However, it may surprise you that they all have unexpected consequences.

What you end up doing will make others feel things that you cannot control.  You’ll also end up paying a price by focusing on what you want out of life, because you can’t have it all.  And ironically, you will have an Achilles’ Heel where you are the most vulnerable. 

Seeking Comfort

If your number one priority in life is Comfort, it may surprise you that others may feel many things: Irritated, annoyed, resentful, impatient, bored, guilty, peaceful or even reassured.  The price you end up paying your priority is reduced productivity, missed emotional contact, and you may be more concerned with yourself.  What you’ll want to avoid most in life is stress, both emotional stress and pressure.

Seeking Pleasure

What if your number one priority in life is Pleasure?  Others may feel accepting of you, guilty, nervous, manipulated, confused or smothered. The price you’ll pay?  Stunted personal growth, 

your self-concept may be dependent on others, other people may take advantage of you, or you may just feel worn out.  You’ll end up avoiding rejection by others at all costs.

Seeking Control

Taking charge (Control) ends up making others feel challenged, bossed, put down, overpowered, unappreciated, defensive, rebellious, helpless, shut-out, dependent or (ironically) secure. The price is social distance from other people, reduced spontaneity, feeling personally rigid and not being able to be emotionally free with yourself or others.  If choosing this path, avoid unexpected humiliation at all costs, feeling trapped and embarrassment. 

Seeking Superiority

The final priority is Superiority.  You want to excel and be better.  Yet others may feel inadequate, judged, overwhelmed, frustrated, criticized, reassured or inspired.  But you’ll feel isolated, never satisfied, overly responsible and over-burdened.  You’ll have the “Savior Syndrome” where you say, “I am the best one I know for the job!”  A constant fear of not measuring up will stick around, as will being excessively focused on growth and achievement.  For Superiority, the thing you’ll find yourself avoiding at all costs is feeling meaningless (an empty void that is never filled).

There’s No Free Lunch

The bottom line is that there’s no free ticket to achieving your emotional goals in life.  But knowing that there is no “safe path” forward, regardless of what you choose, is oddly freeing once you recover from the shock of understanding it.  This knowledge allows us to be imperfect human beings with contradictory behaviors and emotions, and yet there’s nothing wrong with us!

The only alternative? To not have any priorities in life. And certainly, that’s not recommended.

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