3. Positive & Negative Emotions
So, what makes emotions positive or negative? Who says what you’re feeling is positive or negative? Isn’t that purely subjective and relative? No. Here's how you can identify positive and negative emotions.
Emotions, behaviors, and beliefs are positive when they cause you the greatest amount of pleasure in the long-term. Negative feelings are those that block your ability to feel pleasure and joy over your lifetime. Often, negative feelings may bring you pleasure in the short-term. But over the long haul, they really cause you to feel bad. In other words, negative feelings, the irrational beliefs that cause them, and your responses to them can bring short-term gain and long-term loss.
Let's look at Erin – who we also meet in other sections. Erin would not balance her check book when paying bills because she was too scared to really look at her money situation, believing she didn't have much money and never would. Her avoidance and the relief she felt in that moment from avoiding balancing her checkbook are "negative" because in the long term, she will experience more problems when she overdraws her account. It may be stressful in the moment for Erin to balance her checkbook. But in the long run, she will experience even more relief and positive emotions from being on top of her finances and avoiding unnecessary debt
. She will be in control of the situation rather than the situation controlling her and causing stressful, negative feelings.
Your financial plan, budget, savings, and credit care are tools to help you enjoy long-term fun. OK, you won’t always be happy at every moment, every day. And, sometimes these tools will cause you to feel negative at that time. However, when making decisions to do things that make you feel better, ask yourself, "Will this make me feel better only in this moment, or is this good for my long-term happiness (and the long-term happiness of those I love)?”
It's especially important to ask yourself this question when using credit to make a purchase. Credit can be a very positive and powerful tool in financial planning. You can wisely use credit to satisfy your needs. But it's important to be able to distinguish good credit from bad credit when thinking about spending. Ask yourself, “Is this good credit or bad credit AND is it good for my long-term or short-term happiness?” Let’s look at these concepts for a minute. Also, let’s see how they relate to financing higher education.