Increasing or creating happiness will require a good amount of questioning and exploring how you perceive yourself and the world around you. Many of our beliefs are false, many have been initiated by conditioning and most are influenced or perpetuated by society and the media. Reinventing yourself can only occur when you peel away the layers and examine the integrity and accuracy of your belief system.
We may believe that reality is the same for everyone and that we are all functioning on similar levels. We are not. Life is unique to each of us. Our personal worlds are a composite of how we perceive our world, our lives and ourselves.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
A friend of mine was laughing the other day about some guy who told her, “She looked like a caricature of herself.” Now, she is a pretty funny looking lady and most of her features are a bit unsymmetrical. She is the most delightful person you can imagine; brilliant and warm and loved by anyone who ever took the time to know her. She is also one of the happiest people I have ever met. She knows that she’s no stunner and has long since come to terms with that. Most importantly though, she has never defined herself by her looks and ane who knows her, very quickly forgets her looks as well. For her, it is just a non-issue because she doesn’t perceive herself as unattractive.
I have also known people who have not left the house because they had a pimple or were feeling fat. I’m sure the term ‘bad hair day’ really did originate from someone whose day was totally spoiled due to their hair not quite sitting right.
These days, it is rare for me to speak with a person without hearing something along the lines of, ‘The world is in such a mess’. Most commonly, I hear people refer to crime, poverty, violence, the economy, greed, disease and war. It is very easy to believe that the world is a hostile place, not because it is, but because we perceive it to be. Understandably, we are greatly influenced by these messages because of their repetition. Our movies, music, and just our constant obsession and focus seems to be predominately negative.
Every day billions and billions of events occur. Some are atrocious and horrendous, most are probably ordinary, but many are spectacularly fabulous. Just for one moment, consider this last week and your many events and then back track the last month and year.
How many times were you robbed, assaulted, bankrupt or diseased? How many of your bodily functions are not working today compared to how many that are working perfectly? How many meals did you miss out on compared to how many times you ate? Did you laugh and love more this week than you cried? The most important question here is, “What did you complain about and what did you give gratitude for?”
Do you exaggerate and prolong negativity?
If someone made an off-hand remark about you and your feelings were hurt, would you, ‘stew’ about it for a few minutes? Would you have an ‘in head’ argument with that friend for a few hours? Would you bring it up with a third person and have a real ‘bitch session’ about the person who made the comment? Would you bide your time and ‘get her back’ with some sarcastic remark at a later date?
What if someone said something nice about you? Would you play a compliment over and over in your head, tell others about the praise or look for an opportunity to repay the compliment at a later date? Do you obsess about the great things that happen?
Do you invest your time and energy in negative or positive imaginings? The answer to this question will give you an insight into your perception. Fear and insecurity. The greatest impediments to happiness are fear and insecurity. We are obsessed with preparing ourselves and predicting negative outcomes. It is impossible to become consistently happy if our minds are habitually focused on harm. Fear is such a debilitating disease. It robs all of us of most of our joy and energy. Behind the facade of many of us is a relentless insecurity that blocks us at every turn. Of course I’m not talking about appropriate fear here. I’m addressing our habitually negative response to almost every situation that we may encounter.
Young children feel very comfortable within their own skin. They are creative, adventurous, joyful and content. They express their needs and expect them to be met. They all feel equal and expect the world to support them. They do not carry grudges nor do they feel unworthy or unlovable if things don’t go their way. When they fall down they simply get back up again. The world is a great big playground and their view of the world is that its purpose is to entertain and support them.
Parents obviously need to protect their children and teach them about real dangers. Children do need to be prepared, educated and equipped to deal with dangers. But, do they need to have the life force completely sucked out of them with an incessant, hypnotic barrage of warnings? Do they constantly need to be pre-empting ugliness and hostility every minute of every day? Is life simply a matter of walking through land mines until ultimately they are blown away?
It seems to me, that we are all so insecure and afraid most of the time. Just now scan your own body and notice if your bum is clenched, shoulders tight,eyes tensed. Can you feel yourself holding your body tight? Hey, you are only reading, why are you preparing for an attack? Stretch, breathe and loosen up a bit.
Even now, I need to challenge my mother about her constant warnings. Looking out for me has become a way of life for her. It is almost impossible for her to have a conversation with me without giving me some ‘Good Advice’. For some reason, she seems to believe that loving and caring about me is equal to the warnings she extols upon me or the amount of worry she personally endures on my behalf. Just the other day, she called out to me to ‘take a coat or you will catch a cold’. Recently, she has also advised me to not travel overseas as planes get hijacked – all of the time. She’s warned me about mad cow disease, bankcard fraud, bird flu, Internet predators, date rape and of course, the ever constant ‘Armageddon’ approaching. She is also still convinced that sitting on the step will give me piles!
It seems to me that almost everyday, someone is letting us know what is going to destroy us. And we take it all in, perhaps not consciously, but we not only hear the warnings, we also carry them forward and just for the sake of conversation we find ourselves passing them on. Most people rationalize this as being informed, prepared or educated. Many, like my mother, also think that their message of doom and gloom is based on caring and loving. Our childhoods are jungles filled with predators. Sadly, before we even challenge the validity of it, we find that we have absorbed so much of it that we reach adulthood completely brainwashed into expecting harm and hostility from all corners.
May I just go on record right now as begging you to all stop caring about me so much? Your advice is like poison to me and it is killing me!
We are creating and maintaining a hostile environment, a deep-seated belief system that the world is bad, people are bad and the best we can hope for is to stay breathing as long as we can. The thought of actively pursuing happiness seems frivolous and unattainable, perhaps even impossible.
It’s very scary if you consider that we get what we give out or that we attract what we expect.
Gosh, we have become so serious haven’t we, all grown up and responsible? Education and earning the big bucks are the way to go these days. We all look down at the poor suckers who sweep our streets or pack our groceries. How badly done by are the poor women who have to share a bathroom with other family members or drive a car more than five years old. Yes, and it’s a real embarrassment if the kids didn’t complete University. Not as embarrassing though as having a facial wrinkle or grey hair or saggy breasts.
Well, yeah, it’s really hard to be happy these days. Look at all of the things that you need to do and be and have. Obviously, no one is going to be happy if they don’t measure equally with every one else.
Yeah, I do believe that one day I will be happy. I think it will be when…
Maxine – The Drama Queen
I think we have all met a Maxine. Drama Queens always hold the starring role in their movies. These people have perfected the habit of having problems, exaggerating them and then enlisting us to play into the drama. They manipulate us by soaking in a vast amount of our energy and leave us with a sense that we must somehow fix their problems. Maxine’s steal the spotlight. When we have become completely exhausted by them, they quickly move on to a new audience or a new drama.
Could it be that we have a little Maxine within us all? Dramas do get us a little more attention and support. Is it possible that we exaggerate our little problems or prolong them to help us feel more important or to gain a little attention?
You probably said, no or not really, but if you think about how we obsess about the negatives in our lives, you may just find that most of your worries are nothing more than exaggerating and prolonging your little dramas.
If you thought you might lose your job, would your thoughts be about debts and unemployment or would you start planning ways of finding the job of your dreams?
When you feel unwell, do you think about cancer or a common cold?
Do you believe you are going to get old and decrepit or do you believe that science will have cures for most diseases before you get there?
Do you believe that the world will become worse or better within the next twenty years?
Will your life be happier in ten years or will you just be ten years older?
Where is your focus and what is is your perception? Almost every terrible thing that ever happened to you only happened in your imagination. Just think back over the last year and remind yourself of the things that had you tossing and turning in bed at night. Try and recall all of the things that really had you worried, scared or upset. How many actually happened? And of the ones that did happen, how many were anywhere nearly as bad as you had imagined?
Stepping out and stepping up
We all desperately cling to what is comfortable. Comfort zones are tried and tested, they are usually safe and unchallenging and we don’t need to keep thinking about them. We really are creatures of habit. When a habit becomes comfortable we feel safe.
In many instances our comfort zones are not safe, nor healthy nor enjoyable. They can often be the source of most of our problems. Even comfortable slippers have their day and must be replaced eventually. It is easy to maintain dysfunctional relationships or stay too long in boring jobs for no reason other than the comfort factor.
To improve your life, you will need to change your life. You will need to do new things, in new ways, with new people or in new environments. The higher you reach, the less comfortable you will feel. Success is risky business.
Letting go of your comfort may make you feel vulnerable. The desire to hang on will be great. Change requires that you be both brave and bold. Everyone fears failure, but when we look at what we perceive failure to be, it is just a matter of trying something and finding that it doesn’t quite work.
Underlying the fear of failure is a very familiar and ugly face - it is humiliation...
Author Bio :
Copyright Sonya Green. http://www.reinventingmyself.com Sonya is the author of a book called Reinventing Myself, and also offer some Guided meditation C.D's focusing on Stress Reduction, Weight Loss, Healing and Personal Growth, How to get what you really want and need.
Number of comments for this article : 0