One of the biggest contributing factors to people’s unhappiness is the fact that we believe we should always be “happy”. I think we have all fallen into that trap in our lives. And when we’re coming from that mindset, believing that every emotion other than happiness is unacceptable, we are going to suffer.
We get the message, over and over again – “be happy!” We even ask ourselves the same question: “What’s wrong with me? I should be happy!” We feel like we can’t be happy until things in our external environment line up with how we believe they should be.
The story is different for everyone, but may sound something like:
When, in actuality, it is the stories your mind is telling you about those conditions and situations that is causing you to struggle and suffer.
The things we search out in the outer world to “make us happy” are fleeting. They tap into that part of our brain that is focused on survival, that is sending messages that what we have is never enough, demanding “more, more, more!”
As for the methods you’ve used to avoid experiencing difficult things, try not to judge yourself. Whether you have used alcohol or exercise, it is simply a pattern that developed because at some point you, innocently, stumbled upon the realization that whatever it was could change how you felt when you were uncomfortable. It is no reflection on who you are at your core.
Our normal and natural tendency is to resist the experience of difficult emotions. We often react automatically and act in ways to numb, avoid, or distract. But, by learning to embrace our full range of human emotions, we remove so much of the suffering in our lives. When we don’t waste our energy wishing away what is, resisting the experience, ignoring or denying, or otherwise avoiding our emotions, they lose their power. By staying with the emotion, we can listen to the message it is bringing to us.
We’re meant to be joyful – excited by life! When we listen to our mind telling us that things are NOT the way we want them to be, it shuts down the possibility for joy and pretty much guarantees that we will suffer.
Emotions are simply an invitation to look deeper – to the thoughts and limiting beliefs that trigger them. Each time we react in a habitual way or catch ourselves getting completely swept up in and overwhelmed by our emotions, it is a clear indication that we are caught up in the stories of our mind and believing them to be true.
By practicing the ability to sit with our emotions, we are able to see them more clearly. Allowing yourself to experience uncomfortable emotions shows you that they can’t actually hurt you.
You will be able to see more deeply, more clearly, that your emotions are being triggered by your mind, which is simply doing what a mind does.
It is attaching meaning where there is none, making assumptions based on past experiences. It is well-meaning in trying to keep you safe, but it is ultimately destructive and limiting.
When we no longer need life, and the people we share it with, to line up perfectly with our inner wants and needs, we are liberated.
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Learn more about Bobbi Beuree, Halifax-based Coach + Facilitator
Bobbi Beuree, Certified CAN Coach + Facilitator is located in Halifax, NS, and provides interactive 1:1 coaching services, as well as corporate workshops.