Benefits Of Unhappiness

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I had a client, Sara, who has been married a few times and was in a long term relationship.

She felt that she left her marriages prematurely, so she was determined to stick with this dysfunctional relationship until the end.

Her sessions would start off with a rant about her mate. She rattled off situations, which irritated her and focus on his glaring shortcomings, so I would seek to understand her point, by asking questions.

Questions such as:

  1. So, what you’re saying is, he takes no responsibility and blames you for the issues in your relationship?
  2. Okay, he doesn’t validate your feelings? Or he invalidates what you think and feel?
  3. Oh, so what you’re saying is everything is his fault and you’re the victim?
  4. Um, so you do or you don’t want to leave him?
  5. Huh, alright…so what you’re saying is everything is really okay?

Venting?

Complaining?

What did she really want?

She wanted to remain in her unhappiness, because it’s where she knew how to function.

She wasn’t looking for change; she operated by talking in circles, because changing her circumstances, meant having to look inside and take responsibility for her misery. Instead it was easier to play the victim in her life story.

Sara never saw herself as a victim, she’s tough! She’ll kick ass!

She defended her disempowerment and her life with a mate who didn’t really get her….one where she felt stifled, misunderstood, apathy, unhappy and not thriving.

She didn’t want it to change.

At the end of her tirade, I’d ask a simple question, again, so I understood where she was coming from, and she’d launch into a litany of reasons to defend her circumstances.  She ALWAYS had an answer for all the issues she blew up about in her rant, those problems were OKAY–she’d say, “it’s just the way it is and nothing will change!” It was all a big ‘whatever’ or ‘okay’ or ‘who cares’ whenever I’d ask if she planned on staying disempowered and miserable.

She liked being stuck right where she was, it served her.

Another thing Sara would do to show she wasn’t a victim in her eyes, is she could predict his behavior or what would happen in the future.

When people tell me the details about what another person is going to do, I don’t congratulate them. Instead, I point out three things:

  1. The focus is on the other person, not YOU, yourself–where it needs to be.
  2. You, me and everyone else are the creators of our own lives; it’s not really a prediction you’re making about your mate, it’s what you help to create, because of how YOU show up in the relationship too.
  3. When you predict your mate’s words or actions in a negative light, and you feel angry, you’ve given them YOUR power–you’re a victim.

Not pretty, but choosing to live in a constant state of strategy, so you’re ‘perception’ is proven right by your predictions, its a way of numbing out the pain.

The benefit is to remain in this comfort zone.

No change will happen.

In Sara’s case, she could predict it all, be angry or apathetic, because deep down inside she feared nothing better was out there.

No one stays unhappy unless there’s a benefit. Having no interest in looking inside of yourself, as to why you’re not happy and being willing to do something about it…means the benefit of misery outweighs the desire for change.

It’s not about changing other people.

I’ve had many people like Sara, pissed off and feeling motivated to do something, until they see the ‘something’ they must do takes them out of the ‘control’ position (comfort zone).

The drama they complain about keeps them in control of their shitty situation. If they released their partner from being responsible for their unhappiness, they’d be face to face with their fear.

The benefit to being unhappy outweighs the fear of change when you do the following:

  1. Make excuses.
  2. Argue and defend your position.
  3. Bitch about your circumstances, but eschew any new solution.
  4. Control through manipulation (most people do not see how they do this)
  5. Resistance inside and outside is familiar and where you live most of the time.

How do you switch gears and take into account your delight in your misery, so you can let go, move through and find your inner happiness?

To start with….

  1. Stop excuses–when you hear them come up in your mind, QUESTION THEM. Ask yourself what the truth is under the excuse.
  2. Feel the fear of losing an argument, of being wrong and see that its a perception, not an absolute truth. When you stop defending, and realize you CANNOT convince someone else or yourself of your position…you may feel a loss of control, allow it…and feel the freedom from the perspective underneath it.
  3. Stop the complaining. It is a merry go round of energy in your mind–a loop–stop it and ask it’s purpose? All it does is distract you from you and what your real cause of unhappiness is at the moment.
  4. Stop focusing on other people and what they do or don’t do, and figure out what you’re doing and WHY. Not because someone is causing you to do something, but what is YOUR real motivation?
  5. Resistance….it persists, until you move yourself out of that position. Why do you you feel it must be the way you see it? Is there another way?

 

 

Power of Happiness

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“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” – Dale Carnegie

Many of us think of happiness as a fleeting image. We are at an amusement park, on vacation or some other entertaining venue or event, which induces us to be in a state of happiness.

The power of real happiness has little to do with our environment or circumstances. It is a daily choice.

For years, I kept waiting for the day to come when I could be happy. I thought it meant clearing away all the heaviness inside of me. I figured I had too many “shoulds,” in my life that came before happiness, until I discovered that happiness is there even when life feels like it’s not cooperating.

In choosing happiness, it’s to choose well-being. It’s to acknowledge all parts within ourselves in harmonizing or at least, being copacetic with each other. The internal battle is not being fought, because one part of me is not trying to banish the other parts.

To get rid of any part of ourselves doesn’t contribute to wholeness. In happiness, it is to know things aren’t always in complete agreement, but it is to trust that they can co-exist without there being a struggle. Control is not necessary when it comes to the outside or other people, happiness is felt in letting go.

Even when I have things going on in my personal or professional life that I want to be more satisfactory than they currently are, I make a choice. I can either go down the road of feeling futility, disappointed or just wrung out. Or, I decide to focus on something that feels good, even if it is allowing myself to sit for 5 minutes and reconnect to me and what I want.

If we make our minds up to be happy rather than concerned about things, which are problematic, we may actually come out with better solutions when the time is right.

How many of us spend hours wasted on thinking of a future problem, something in which we currently have no power to change or solve, and come to find that it was all a waste of “thinking, or obsessing?” It pays off to set our minds to happier thoughts, rather than the familiarity of the punishment in our thinking.

Some of us feel we must only think of solving problems. If there’s not a problem , we’ll create one.

It’s something to keep us in our comfort zone of familiarity. Choosing to think happier thoughts, requires effort. It is not easy to shift, but when we start thinking we’re okay as we are, that life is okay as it is and that whatever happens around us is okay too, we automatically become happier.

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.” – James Oppenheim

Creative thinking comes from letting go of the type of thoughts, which weigh us down. When we start to feel heavy, holding the reins emotionally, we can change the direction. We can acknowledge whatever is making us feel like mud and still choose to re-focus on creating more well-being.

If we want to manifest the best life possible, it pays to focus on what we want rather than on what isn’t working. The more creative we are, the greater our sense of well-being.

When we are in this lighter, more buoyant space with our emotional state, our actions can more easily match to carry us to the goals we say we want. Sometimes, our actions must come first and then the change of thoughts will follow.

For myself, it really is about shifting what I am doing. If I start to feel crappy for any reason, I ask myself do I want to dwell here? The familiarity of the old wallowing feelings start to surface and I literally have to disengage and ask myself, what would give me joy right now? What would be in alignment with my goals? And I shift into action first, I start writing or doing something creative. If my thoughts move first, I look at something, such as my vision board, or think of what I want. Anything to break up the downward spiral…and re-focus on my sense of well-being.

The more connected we are to all parts of ourselves, the less we lose touch with that sense of good feelings in ourselves. Even if we’re momentarily thrown for a loop, the happiness we have at the base of our feelings, never really goes away.