1. My mother had a friend that she used to hang out with who’s youngest son would dress up in his older sisters clothing and play with her Barbies. When my mother tried to defend his eccentricities by saying, “leave that boy alone, playing with dolls will make him a better father!” His response? “Mmmm-mmm, no it wont, ’cause I’m not gonna be a daddy, I’m gonna be a mommy!” He was about five. We all labeled him as gay.
Why the heck do tattoos have to hurt so bad? “Well Genius, ” I bet you are saying, “you’re getting a bunch of needles, duh!” But hey, listen, it’s not just the tattooing part. It’s finding a way to sleep comfortably by not putting pressure on the part that now pains you, it’s showering and not accidentally letting hot water hit it directly, its people slapping you on your arm not knowing that you are aching. And then, finally, there’s the annoying itch that lets you know that you are healing. There’s this entire healing process that you go through, and while some handle it better than others, but healing is a must and it happens if you’re healthy.
So, I got this tattoo last week. A pretty bird to memorialize a friend, “Bubby”, that I lost on Christmas Eve, last year. See?
“What you resist will persist”…
What does that mean to you? From my experience, it means having my priorities all discombobulated. It means being so caught up in what people will think, say, feel about my life that I forget that my ultimate goal for me is peace and happiness, so fear and resentment stick around a little longer–actually as long as I allow it to stay, it does.
In my life, “supposed” ; it’s such an ugly word. I held on so tight to the lie of what my life was “supposed” to be (false perceptions handed down by family, friends, peers, society), that I didn’t realize that all I had to do was let go of “supposed” to reveal the truth that was already there whether I like it or not.
Get Free, Get Happy! Episode #3
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.”
— Eckhart Tolle
I have a question for you. Ready? O.K., I want you to take a few moments to think about this: If you stumped your toe, would you feel it, if your mind didn’t know it? I mean, if your brain was never aware of what happened in those few seconds where you mis-measured the space between the coffee table and the loveseat? Can’t figure it out yet? Well, what if your small child started to scream from the other room at the same time. Would the diversion from your own incident, to something more important, allow you to not focus on your own pain, even if only for a moment; would you still feel your own hurt?
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
When pain comes, your nerves send a message to your brain, and depending on your fears and perception of that pain, it can either be magnified or lessened. When we continue to obsess over our disappointments, we play out our emotions repetitively, and by going over the details of our painful stories our bodies feel the same tension and stress similar to what we feel if we actually going through the painful ordeal, over and over; we refuse the possibility of healing, and allow our hearts to continue to break.
When we allow ourselves to internalize our pain, we can’t forgive and we allow the people that we hold accountable for our pain power over our lives. While I believe that the pain that we feel, out of heartbreak and disappointment comes directly from our expectations of what we perceive as being perfect–we try to see things that only God can consistently give us in very human people and things–and are spiritually blinded to our attachment to them. It’s easier said than done, to not expect truth and loyalty from the people that we love 100%, but I think it’s easier to at least admit that it’s not realistic; and even if we can’t admit that aspect of taking responsibility for our own lives, I’m sure you’ll agree that no one deserves control over your peace of mind, but you. The more resentment we continue to harbor, the less truth we let into our lives. The reality is this: pain is usually a clue that we need to make adjustments in our lives. If your belt was tight enough to cut off your breathing, wouldn’t you loosen it and if your pants were falling would you not tighten it? Pain and discomfort is usually a sign of resistance of the inevitable. When we feel pain, usually it means we need to cling to what alleviates our pain (try to think permanent and spiritual on this one), and let go of what/who is causing this pain.
“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” –Ann Landers
I have hurt in my life and begged God to make it stop. I’ve asked the question that I’m sure many people have asked, “When will the tears/pain stop?” The answer was, to my surprise, “when you allow it to, the healing will begin.” Please, I urge you, to not think it’s a human, terminal, condition to continue to go through the same emotional pain, over and over, but until we learn to let go and let God and forgive, we let undeserving situations to run our lives. If there’s the chance of getting “burned”, there is also the option to come out as pure gold in the end; If you have the power to love, you have the power to live and let go!
“The Tao Te Ching says, When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. Have you ever struggled to find work or love, only to find them after you have given up? This is the paradox of letting go. Let go, in order to achieve.Letting go is God’s law.” – Mary Manin Morrissey
- The Ultimate Guide to Motivating Yourself (dragosroua.com)
- Forgiveness (psychologytoday.com)
- Are You Hurting? (itakeoffthemask.com)
- Wendy Strgar: The Truth About Forgiveness (huffingtonpost.com)
- Letting Go (socyberty.com)
- The Key to Freedom is Forgiveness (brighthub.com)
- Does God have a Plan? (blogilliterate.blogspot.com)
- RaK added a discussion to the group The Journey of Forgiveness (humanityhealing.ning.com)
- Judith Acosta, LISW, CHT: The Trauma of Betrayal and Verbal First Aid (huffingtonpost.com)
- To Forgive, Very Simple But to Forget, is It Real? (socyberty.com)
- Find Freedom in Forgiveness (psychologytoday.com)
- “The Pain Chronicles”: The science of pain (salon.com)
- Anger Increases Pain in Women (webmd.com)
- The Pain enigma: The more scientists learn, the more mysterious it becomes (news.nationalpost.com)
As good parents, I feel that you have to allow children to make mistakes, in order for them to learn. Example:
‘Baby’ is learning to walk. ‘Baby’ takes two steps and falls, PLOP! Mommy/Daddy says, “Awwww, that’s ok. Get up.” ‘Baby’ looks up at the “big, goofy” people with smiles of admiration. “Wow,” Baby thinks, “All this and all I did was try?”, so ‘Baby gets up and tries again. ‘Big‘ and ‘Goofy’ stand about three feet away, close, with arms outstretched for ‘Baby’ to fall into them and their embrace, if needed (and the truth is, they expect it. They know, in all of their big-goofiness, that there is a process of succeeding, and it’s rare to reach it without falling). The parents even celebrate the smallest of efforts, even when Baby doesn’t do anything but rock back and forth, trying to get their little legs to do what their young minds are envisioning, “YAYYYY!!!!”, they yell, clapping, even if ‘Baby’ takes only two steps. ‘Baby’ looks up in awe of how loving ‘Big’ and ‘Goofy’ are, and soon ‘Baby’ is clapping and “yayyy-ing”, too!
With all this encouragement, and a process of practice, many tries and many failures–Baby can now walk!
As adults, we are sent out to live on our own, to live our own life, most of us with a set of instructions: “pay bills, work, eat, sleep, pray, don’t drive drunk, protect yourself, cook, clean, etc.” We leave our youth behind, as well as the desires of our youth. With no parents some of us go wild, others don’t, but for most of us we forget that there are steps that we have to take to fully embrace and walk through our lives. And while we aren’t children anymore, we are all Someone’s child (children of The Creator) and the need for nurturing never goes away, it just shows up in different ways (discouragement, low-self esteem, tears, loneliness). It will always give us confidence and courage to walk a little more steady the next-go-round. And it becomes our responsibility.
Like loving an coddling parents, we have to embrace our short-comings, open ourselves up allow ourselves a warm place to hide if we should ever fall and bruise ourselves. Tell ourselves, “it’s ok, sweetie! you’ll do better next time.” We have to give ourselves credit for trying, and give ourselves the option of being tired and allow us some time to rest, pray for guidance, observe and meditate and breathe before we go at our goals again. Just because we didn’t get the walk right the first, second or fifteenth time, doesn’t mean our try was a failure; “There is a blessing in every lesson” (‘The Truth’, India.Arie);We have to forgive ourselves for being human, just as our Creators does daily.
And might I suggest that this stroking and understanding go on outside of yourself? Nope, not in your head. Be “big and goofy!” Talk to yourself in a calming, reassuring tone, just as you would a child. Stand in the mirror, and look at you as you would look at someone else that you care about–Talk aloud the next time find yourself beating yourself up about how you could’ve done things differently. Tell yourself how much you love yourself, talk to yourself about all the good things that you’ve achieved, and all the good things that you are made up of. Caress yourself! Go ahead, do it–doesn’t that feel good? Give yourself credit for the small stuff–the baby steps. Even if you don’t believe it at first, entirely, convince yourself! Do you see how confident you become, when you don’t focus on what you perceive as your failure (in life and love)?
Just as if you were a baby, learning the steps, say to yourself, “”Awwww, that’s ok. Get up.” Try again when you’re ready. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t get discouraged!
Baby yourself! Self-Nurturing is one of the key elements of loving you.
And when you finally get it right. Celebrate with yourself, with yourself! Love yourself up! You deserve it!
Try these 10 simple steps to stay happy during stressful times:
1. Breathe in, then out, deeply and slowly.
2. Close your eyes, if you need to block out distractions or that thing that is making you upset.
3. Pay close attention to how you feel. Be completely aware of the tension your dis-ease is causing in your body and heart (this is so you remember exactly what dis-ease feels like the next time it comes along).
Watch the next time someone gets you peeved–not just angry, irritation is stress too –pay close attention to how your neck, chest and shoulders tense up. Are you tapping your foot, while waiting in a long line? Are your cheeks flushed, because someone said something that triggered your embarrassment? Or are you rubbing your temples, because the person next to you on the train is having a loud, long conversation on her cell phone about the drama in her life–are you getting a headache? Observe!
You just let a skin irritation go without soothing. Why let a mental irritation go without attention?
4. Know that anything outside of happiness is less than you are capable of and far less than you deserve. Yup, even being irked, annoyed or irritated.
5. Talk it out with yourself, without saying “SHOULD”, “WOULD”, “COULD”, “WON’T” or “CAN’T” (or any variation of these words that you can trick your mind into believing is true–STICK TO THE FACTS!)
Just what is happening in the moment that has you so heated, and what about it is upsetting to you? What is going on in your mind? What don’t you like about this person or event?
Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this cashier is going to talk on her cell phone the entire time we are in this line. Is she cursing? Wow! That is soooo unprofessional! I worked in customer service all these years and not once did I get away with such behavior. I know she’s only giving such service because it’s a discount store, if this was a gourmet supermarket, in the suburbs, she would NOT get away with that! Shows what she thinks of people like me!
6. Now, this is where I have to give an official shout out to Byron Katie! It’s what “The Work” is all about. The truth and all of it!
Ask yourself next, after you figure out why you’re unhappy (while still applying step #5), are my thoughts about this person or event true? Are your feelings about the person or event fact or opinion (opinions can never be proven, otherwise they would be the truth–sure, you are allowed to have them, but they are not facts, which basically makes them fictional stories–made up by our tricky, perceptions). Byron Katie’s “The Work” humbles a Leo like me. It asks you how much do you know of the truth, how do you know the truth? and would you bet your life that you know that your opinion of this person or event 100% true? Basically, who died and made you God?
Well, when you put it like that…
How did I know that the lady was on a personal call? And was I always professional, 100%? Better yet, what is professional really (sure, I know the definition, but would she be unacceptable to someone else who waited on customers while chatting away on her free nights and weekends)? Am I really sure that she wouldn’t act the same if she was in another neighborhood in an upscale establishment?
More importantly, the question to ask is what if I didn’t think these things? What if I stood here and read The National Inquirer or said a prayer for all of humanity instead of wasting all this energy on something so small? Shouldn’t energy produce a better result than anger?
7. Ask yourself have I ever felt this way before? Did it last forever and did it solve anything? What good did it do me? Are my thoughts making me happy?
8. If it doesn’t make you happy don’t do it, don’t say it, don’t think it!
I know that’s hard. But so many times we go to others for advice in life, love, career, etc. How easy would it be to rely on someone who is always present? God didn’t give us emotions and feelings for nothing! Feelings and emotions are like those “Magic 8” balls that we played with as children. Ask yourself is ____________ (fill in the blank with your actions) going to make me happy? Shake yourself up (meaning, be real and honest with yourself about numbers 1-8–yes, it’s going to be hard sometimes)! And voilà, the answer can only be yes or no! If the answer is yes–go for it! No? Ummmm, well, leave that thought, action or reaction right where you found it (or in some cases him or her, lol).
If you’re unhappy, there’s something wrong and it’s your job to fix it, honey! There are times where I sing, talk to myself, watch classic episodes of Seasame Street, or sometimes I just have to scream out loud to let out my tension. Do whatever you need to do to put a smile on your face long enough to think rationally. Remember the lesson from this episode is to BE YOUR OWN SUPER-HERO! Save the day! How do you do that? By changing things. How? By changing your course of action. And where do our actions begin? In the mind, right?
9. Remember, your brain tells your body what to do, not the other way around; Unless you have some kind of addiction (which has a need for compulsion–which we will talk about in episode 4), understanding that actions start in your mind may be fairly simple.
10. I can’t say it enough, your actions begin in your mind. Once your mind knows that:
- You have control over creating your happiness. (Thank God for that gift, as soon as you believe it! It’s the inherited gift of life and power!) Never again do you have to depend on someone else to make you smile from the inside out. Have you heard better news?
- Just because you think it, doesn’t make it true.
- If there is unhappiness, there lies a lie. God gave us the gift of Joy! It’s the only thing, besides change that is constant in this life. It’s there, as long as God is there–even if we don’t acknowledge it/God. The truth is Righteous and Just. The Truth is also Freedom (Webster’s definition: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another). You know the old saying, “The truth shall set you free?” or “Shame the devil, tell the truth?” They’re two very true statements. How can we authentically acknowledge God’s love and power that we have to utilize and live an unhappy life? Is that possible?
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2nd Corinthians 3:17
Truth triggers happiness. If the Truth is Freedom, and you want the Truth and to be Free of unhappiness, you must know that God lives in you, therefore the truth has to be there also. It’s there, friend, and it was there all the time!
- Practice makes perfect. Once we admit and accept that the truth it then opens up the door to our personal happiness, because we can then let go of the stories that we create to make sense of things, and fix the issues that can actually be fixed–reality; We really do have to practice acknowledging it, though. If I want to build muscle I exercise–I focus on physical activities. If I want to find the truth, I have to focus on my mind, therefore freeing my heart.
I don’t know if you know this, but you have the power to change your life. It’s not in anyone else’s hands, but yours! You have the power to create the life that you want, and you inherited it from The Creator.
It brings me so much Joy to know that I may never be perfect (it’s cool), and people may get on my nerves sometimes, but it doesn’t help me to stay in a state of being upset–I may never get it right, butI can practice perfection. I will make mistakes, but I sure can switch some things around, and make the best of my life, right?
By seeing the Truth, I am forcing myself to see God in the things that I allow harm me. I can save the day, turn weakness in to strength and “bad” into “good”, so to speak–like only a superhero can!
If we are not happy and joyous at this season,
for what other season shall we wait and
for what other time shall we look?
If we are not happy and joyous at this season,
for what other season shall we wait and
for what other time shall we look?
Like what you read today? Please subscribe, share, like and comment. This blog is Episode 1 of a 5 part series, entitled: “The Get Free, Get Happy Series.”
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- Mike Robbins: Don’t Believe Everything You Think (huffingtonpost.com)
- Stacey Lawson: Loving What Is: Four Questions That Could Change Your Life (huffingtonpost.com)
- Don’t Believe Everything your Think! [Jessica *Life Coach* McGregor Johnson] (ecademy.com)
- Ed and Deb Shapiro: How to Make Your Home or Workplace Into a Healing Place (huffingtonpost.com)
- Are You Facing a New Direction in Life? (itakeoffthemask.com)
- How physicians can endure the trauma of a malpractice lawsuit (kevinmd.com)
Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
I guess you can call this blog a sassy spin off and personal shout out to Byron Katie‘s “Loving What Is“. Don’t worry if you don’t know who she is, or what the book is about. Don’t even worry that this blog may not be relevant to your life–I can all but promise it is. Read on:-) Many times we think happiness is only something we read about or watch on Sex In the City (or Entourage for the fellas). When you think of happiness, even in the time of trouble, heartache and heartbreak, do you think it’s attainable? Do you know how to even get to happy, if it’s your destination?
This is not a book review, per se. I will say this about what Katie calls “The Work”: it’s a simple concept. The concept of “The Work” is the most effective, down to earth approach to self-help and overall happiness that I have ever encountered; it changed my life, and my style of coaching, forever. More importantly, it changed my mind.
It CHANGED MY MIND.
That’s a phrase that we hear often, right? Imagine this: you got accepted to a prestigious university, your parents throw you a big party and send you off. Lo-and-behold, by sophomore year, you are a drama major and contemplating running off to L.A. to pursue your dreams. Mother asks, “well, what happened?” And while a ton of things happened (you couldn’t focus, didn’t want to study, had anxiety attacks and couldn’t even pick up the heavy pre-law book that you paid $200.00 for), the most accurate and honest answer you can come up with is,
“Mom, I CHANGED MY MIND“.
Not a scholar? Well, here’s another example: for two weeks you planned on going to see the latest installment of your favorite movie. It’s a trillogy. Everytime you see the trailer or pass a billboard about your movie, you do a little dance in your seat and the corners of your mouth turn up. You don’t even care that it’s opening night and the crowd is going to be outrageous! You hate crowds, but you love the movie. You’re even brushing off your best friend’s dinner party–at least for two hours. You can’t wait! But! The day of your movie, you pull out your credit card to make your online ticket purchase, when a text message from your bestie comes through: “thx in advance 4 gracing me w/ur presence 2nite. truth be told, if it were only u n me, the celebration would still b the same.” You remember how you friend has been there for you for 15 years hell and high water, and how she never missed any of your events. Even your failed yard-sale. Yes, there’s some guilt. You put down your credit card, mentally pick out the outfit that you’re wearing to dinner, and deciede to see the movie, with your best friend the next day. What happened? Why didn’t you go see the movie?
“YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND“.
I noticed, through reading “Loving What Is”, evaluating my life, and coaching and listening to others, that we don’t realize the power that we have over our own situations. Either we don’t realize, or think that it’s too much responsibility, so we blame others for our own unhappiness. It’s a harsh reality that no one can make you unhappy but yourself. Was that a frown? Don’t worry, if you take heed to this blog, you will be smiling a lot more, so I don’t feel bad for that one (although it wasn’t my fault, lol).
Take a few seconds to think about it. I’ll wait. How many times did you change your mind about something in your life? If you’re watching TV and change your mind about what you were watching, what do you do? Do you turn the channel or do you sit there a prisoner of a rerun? OR shoes! You get all fancy for the a big event, put on your shoes and–wait, the black ones would go better–and they’re more comfortable! So what comes next? You change your shoes, right? I bet you can come up with a thousands of examples of times that you changed your mind and then changed your way. What is that you say? Your boyfriend said he liked the red shoes better–OR your girlfriend likes you in cowboy boots, so you left them on? Well then, you changed your mind from caring more about your own opinion than your lover’s. Either way, your thought brought about the action (or inaction).
I hope you’re getting the concept and the importance of changing your mind. Simply put, the first step to changing your life, is changing your mind. Looking for someone to come along and save you from all of your pain, stress, fatigue–Superman or Wonder-woman? I’ve got news for you–trust me when I tell you that I know from living and loving daily, that happiness is in your mind. Waiting for a superhero? Get up, go to the closest mirror–SMILE SEXY/BEAUTIFUL/HANDSOME/SPIRITUAL/POWERFUL, THERE’S A SUPERHERO RIGHT THERE STARING BACK AT YOU!”