Remember when your grandmother told you. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Turns out it is much better advice than she understood. She meant that you should be polite. But in truth what comes out of your mouth says a lot about you as a person, harms you and harms those who the words were aimed out. And in turn, what goes into other people has to come out.
What I mean is that these negative emotions can build up in a person and they can’t stay in there forever. These emotions have to express themselves one way or another. There are a lot of ways that this can happen.
Depression is when a person takes those negative feelings and internalizes them, turning them inward. Anorexia, other eating disorders and self harm like cutting can happen when a person tries to take control over the only thing they feel they have control of, their bodies. Young children can start expressing the same patterns of behavior that adults use against them. (And if not corrected, this can continue all of their lives.) Physical health issues ranging from exhaustion to cancer. Nightmares can be negative emotions releasing and breaking free.
Putting things out in the universe can also make them come true. It’s a real life Boy Who Cried Wolf or Little Red Riding Hood type of situation. Be careful what you say.
Writing is one way that emotions can be expressed and dealt with. It can be wish fulfillment where the author writes silly and happy things that they wish their life was like. Or it can be darker, working through trauma or expressing fear and anger.
Normally, I will admit that I’m the happy wish fulfillment type of author. I still am. It’s by personal choice. I write happy things because I want to put good happy things out there into the universe. Maybe my happy writing will cheer someone up who needs it. And even when I do try to express darker emotions like anger, grief or fear in my writing, it still usually has some sort of happy tone to it.
I remember several years ago when my family was going through an extremely stressful situation. Negative emotions were running high and had spilled across the entire family. It had been building for years and when it happened, we were still unprepared. There was anger. There was grief. There was, I dare say, some spite. It got a bit nasty for a while. Time went by, things got settled and things became better.
During this time I wrote a story. Part of me thought it was just a silly idea. It basically was two characters end up taking a road trip. (I can’t get more specific without outing myself.) I finished writing it. It was about 25 to 30 chapters. And it was a moderate success for me as a fan writer, plenty of comments and views. (This was before kudos.) It wasn’t until I came back a while later and reread the story that I realized how angry I’d been while writing. I’d be furious at a very specific person for doing this to my family and it had come out in my writing.
It was very freeing. And when I figured it out, I was very amused.
This can happy with media too. What we put into our bodies, has to come out and be expressed.
One of my young family members was deeply effected by this entire situation. He was pretty angry. His favorite television shows and movies were things like Star Wars and Spiderman. Now, these are pretty normal little boy interests. However, watching these shows was effecting his behavior. He was becoming increasingly violent. When he became angry or upset, instead of trying to figure out another solution to his problem and say verbalize it instead, he resorted to violence first. A family therapist recommended that we remove these shows from his life for a time. We did and the violence went down almost immediately.
What goes in, must come out.
Conversely, if we put positive thoughts into our bodies and into the universe. Good things happen. When I was writing fanfic, I did occasionally get comments about how I had brightened someone’s day. Those comments made my week, month, sometimes year. There is nothing wrong with telling someone how proud you are of another person. Or stopping and thinking, “will this really matter in ten minutes? Is it worth using my precious energy to scream at them or belittle someone over it?”
Please, be careful what you say. Be kind. Put out positive thoughts into the universe. Tell someone you love them today. The universe is listening.
EDIT: This is not me saying that I feel video games, music or violent movies will cause normal healthy individuals to go out and do crimes. There is such a thing as personal responsibility. Criminals have as much choice as the rest of us.