Is it possible to create your life exactly the way you want it? Is there such a thing as a perfect life? Are there people who are truly happy? There are many people who claim to be happy but are they really?
Is it possible to have it all right now? Or is this like learning to drive, getting a college degree, etc.? Think of it this way, if you are 100 pounds overweight, are you going to resolve to become skinny, eat only 1500 calories a day and exercise like a pro tomorrow? Get the picture. Like anything thing, having a happy, fulfilling life takes practice for most of us. If you are 100 pounds overweight, eating a lot of junk foods and don’t remember the last time you exercised, it is going to take some time to work up to a healthier life style. You start with baby steps and a plan. And the best way to create a plan is to first analyze your current behavior before you even start. Your own customized plan designed to meet your unique, specific needs is what is going to work the best.
If you want to create a happy life you have to start with yourself. That’s right. It’s not all “those people” that are causing you misery, it is you allowing it to happen. (Unless of course you are a child, under age 18. That is a different story.) If you find yourself constantly angry and critical of those around you, it will take some time for you to realize how you are seeing yourself in others and that you are really angry with yourself. For sure, we see in our society many acts of violence, cruelty and “bad things happening to good people.” But we also see many positive acts such as caring for others, sharing and having fun and enjoying life. Many of us give ourselves the permission to enjoy life when we go on a vacation or celebrate a Holiday, especially, this Holiday seasons now occurring December to January 1. Then we go back to the “drudgery” of our daily lives and many times we experience depression and/or anger and even hatred of those others who are “causing us all this misery.”
Daily life can be just a happy as any vacation, Holiday or anytime you have given yourself permission to have fun. Note the words “permission to have fun.” This is a lot like “allowing,” something that many wise people have talked about in recent years.
Do you think you can’t do this? Well, you can and this idea is among the very first steps involved with realizing your own power. We all have within us the power to create a very happy and satisfying life.
Start now first by doing a very simple easy thing. Don’t try to change a thing! That’s right I said don’t change anything about yourself. Instead, listen to your own thoughts. One very effective way to do it is by caring around a tiny notebook, or just using your phone, to write emotions you have throughout a single day. Pick a day that is a usual, routine day for you but not one you already know will be extremely busy or challenging in any way. Plan ahead of time which day this will be. Have the notebook or device next to your bed and plant the idea in your head that you are going to use it as soon as you wake up. Now as you do wake up, you write a couple of sentences or even just one if you want or even just a word about how you feel. Wright down the time next to it. Do this throughout the day when you notice a feeling, positive or negative. Notice especially any strong emotion. You can also write what you think caused you to feel this way.
Here are some examples:
7:00 AM Woke up feeling angry because I was dreaming about..my mother or my boss, or my friend, or spouse….whoever you were angry at.
7:30 Feeling rushed and frustrated getting ready for work, worried about being late.
10:00 Feeling envious of a co-worker, no jealous. She got promoted and it should have been me!
Get the picture. Remember you don’t have to ever share any of this with anyone so be honest with yourself. The more honest you are the better it will work to get you to a happier life. We all have some really horrible thoughts at times. During this time, you don’t analyze a thing. You just record it. Now if you also have the habit of acting on any of these feelings, you will attempt to suspend that for one day. For example if you are angry because you feel someone is gossiping and you feel you must “correct” her/him…don’t do it! Control your behaviors and just be an observer of your own feeling and thoughts, just for one day. In fact, if you usually control and correct others on a daily basis, you may need some cognitive behavior therapy before you try this exercise. You need to discover first that it is not your “duty” to make others behave the way you decide is right.
You can continue to do this for more days if you choose but one full day is the smallest length. Now you put it aside and don’t look at it for about a week. Then when you do look at, try to pretend you are critiquing someone else. Look for a pattern. Start with times you wrote things down. For example, did you record something every half hour, 45 minutes, 15 minutes, etc. Is there a predominate emotion such as anger, anxiety, sadness, joy, etc? Write an emotion you felt next to each statement if you didn’t already or underline/highlight each emotion. Now see if there is one or more predominate feelings or thoughts.
Next, you will reverse each negative emotion or thought to a positive one. For example if you were jealous of someone, pretend it was someone you love or even you and experience being happy for them instead of jealous. If you were angry at someone for gossiping, recall a time when you gossiped and forgive yourself and this person for their “mistake.” Or perhaps you misinterpreted what you overheard. Was it really a negative statement the person was making or were they expressing concern or interest? Give them the benefit of doubt and decide it is not your “duty” to analyze them. Analyze all your thoughts and feelings for the day and rearrange them in a way that would make your day happier.
The next step is to notice your “triggers” for negative thoughts and emotions. You could have noticed this during your analysis. What this means is that you notice when you are feeling anger, jealousy, etc. and as soon as you feel it, you learn to let it go, let it be. As you continue to practice this, you will learn not only to let it go, or ignore it, but even to learn to send love and healing to those expressing negative things. I know, this is difficult and I continue to work on it.
One last thought is to notice if you are misinterpreting what others are expressing. Many of us base our reactions on our past. Sometimes a single word will trigger in you something from the past that was hurtful to you. You then can misinterpret an entire event. These exercises will keep you in the present. And by being in the present, you will discover things you never noticed before because you were too busy getting angry at what your Mom used to do, jealousy of your sister, etc, etc. These new discoveries will bring you opportunities you never thought possible before. The funny thing is, you will find out they were there all along but you never noticed them until now.
Brightest Blessings to you and yours during this Holiday Season!