The very happiest person in life still faces the realities of their perceptions of the world around them. It is naive to believe that as long as you wear your ‘rose colored glasses’ filter then you will not be affected by the many stimuli that assault your sensory systems every moment. Denying the realities of grief, insecurity, frustration, anger, fear, and loss is the same as denying their opposite.
So often we get stuck feeling like ‘if I was a good person’ I would’t have that thought, or judgment, or feeling and that simply isn’t true. By nature the human animal reacts to any feeling of not having some control. The more control and autonomy an individual has in a project, generally the more satisfied they are. But even the most polished and practiced of Happiness seekers still face the tsunami that can be emotional reactions. One minute we feel fine, and then (sometimes seeming from out of nowhere) we are possessed with what seem overwhelming feelings. Emotions and our reactions to them don’t just disappear when we decide we are ‘happy’ and it is counter productive to believe that they do.
That being said, emotions don’t have to overrun us. They don’t have to be catastrophic to the life we enjoy, and they don’t have to linger indefinitely.
I am a huge believer in facing your fears and insecurities, seeing a therapist or counselor to process emotions and events that greatly influenced your life, and recognizing that every experience helped shape you and can often continue to shape who you are. I am not a believer in staying stuck, using your past or emotional damage to hide from living your life, or allowing yourself to become incapacitated by the feelings that you experience.
Feeling your feelings and accepting (so called) negative feelings is appropriate. Letting them ambush you, throw you dramatically off course, threaten your relationships, standard or quality of life…is inappropriate. I’m not talking the occasional melancholy moment…I’m speaking to the consistent blah that creates a feeling of being unsatisfied regularly, or the sudden influx of emotion that initiate impulsive thoughts.
Quit your job if you want to, move to a new town if you ‘hate it’ where your at, stop dating if ‘there isn’t a good one out there’, or meet new people if you ‘can’t stand to be alone’ But don’t for one minute think that those things are going to solve your problems. “The Secret” is no big secret. There are a lot of people that all say the same thing…contentment is internal, control your mind and you control your world, your perception is reality and thus you have total control of your life through your perception of it…there is so much research and so many examples in practice proving this to be true that it would be difficult to find someone who could reasonably disagree. And yet emotional gremlins continue to tinker with our consistent life happiness. I only have one thing to say about that…
Stop pretending like you don’t know.
I know you think it’s hard to meditate for 10 minutes every day…BUT IT’S NOT HARD! It’s just a habit. Just form the habit and it stops seeming hard.
I know you think it’s hard to put down the donut…BUT IT’S NOT HARD! It is just a habit. Don’t pick it up in the first place, stay out of tempting environments, create an automatic phrase or practice that you say or do when you feel tempted.
I know you think it’s hard to find time…BUT IT’S NOT HARD! It’s just habit. There are a thousand wasted moments throughout every day. Make a habit to utilize small amounts of time to do positive things for yourself and you will see big change.
I know you think it’s hard to stop the anger, frustration, sadness, overwhelm (OK so that one can be hard…) But it also can be a habit. If these emotions are affecting your life in a negative way then create habits to interrupt them. The moment you realize that you’re feeling sad start doing sit-ups or walking in place. Do something physical, right now. In this moment! Interrupt the emotion.
The moment you realize you are getting frustrated interrupt it. Take 3 slow breathes. Feel the air in your lungs. Visualize the tiniest most innocent thing trying to learn something for the first time and find that nurturing patience you would have if you had time. Pretend like you have plenty of time, and this is the very first time you have been (fill in the blank for what is frustrating you)
The moment you realize you are feeling anger interrupt it and instantly think of how you can be generous and give back to the world. Not necessarily at this moment, but let your mind plan a project for the youth home or think about stopping at the store to grab food for the shelter. Interrupt the moment and redirect the energy. If you need something more direct plan to do something nice for a spouse or coworker. Think about whether you want to be anonymous or be there to see their face and smile.
Stop focusing on how hard things are in the moment and start practicing habits that make them easier.