Hacking the Happiness Myth (Part 3)
Welcome back to the 3rd installation of the Happiness Series. Are you happy yet?
We began with realizing that happiness is our interpretation – a set of bodily sensations we experience in reaction to some external event. These sensations feel so good, our daily life is consumed with getting more of it. So we recreate circumstances and put ourselves in situations to keep the refills coming. For example, we try to make more money, get that promotion, buy that new gadget, change our appearance… you get the drift. We then spent the following month simply noticing our body sensations when we feel happy and unhappy, and started to ask ourselves if what we think happiness is, is actually happiness. And if it wasn’t, then what did we really want?
Then we saw that not only do we spend our time creating happy inducing events, we try to control / manipulate the ones that make us feel unhappy and uncomfortable. As human beings what we desire is inner peace – feelings of safety, security, love, joy and freedom at all times. In the last 6 weeks we became aware of when we felt that inner peace was disturbed, and when we wanted to change what was happening to us and around us – the people and daily activities we come across.
Which brings us to now. What have you discovered about yourself so far? Are you noticing that happiness doesn’t actually lie in the things we try to possess, achieve, accomplish or change?
In taking on the exercises myself, I learned that my quest for happiness goes even deeper that trying to control my life. For the things I can’t actually change, I do something that is under my control to avoid feeling unhappy and uncomfortable. I self-medicate with a little too much Netflix, chocolate and late nights.
A couple weeks ago a client named Sara was telling me about a time she was at a family party and a relative said something that she later realized was quite offensive. It was too late to say anything, however given the chance she figured she wouldn’t have anyway for fear of looking bad or causing a scene. So instead, Sara pretended like everything was ok and filled up on extra dessert to make her feel better. Can you relate?
Another client came to me frustrated and upset about his career. He had worked hard for a promotion and raise, and when he finally got it he wasn’t any happier. Instead, he was more stressed because he had to work later, take on more responsibility, and spent less time with his family and less time sleeping. Before he knew it he was drinking 6 cups of coffee a day and taking meds to sleep at night. Does this sound like someone you know?
It’s pretty incredible how far down the rabbit hole we go when we want to feel good and believe that there is only one way to achieve it. Incredible because if we have that much power, imagine what kinds of results we can create in our lives if we used it on a method that actually worked – tapping into our internal and eternal source of joy and ease.
So here’s a solution. Dismantle your idea of happiness, and so will the destructive path that comes with it. Then allow what’s within us to guide your way.
Continue to practice and build upon what we’ve discussed so far:
Step One – understand that what you think makes you feel good, may not actually be what feels good or serves you.
Step Two – get fully present to your entire physical experience when you are happy and unhappy. First notice when you are happy. Take 3 full breaths and then observe your bodily sensations, your feelings and your thoughts. Notice them without judgement. Do the same when you are feeling unhappy. This is practicing mindfulness.
Step Three – when you are being mindful, ask yourself what is it that you are really feeling and what is it that you actually need? Keep practicing this until you are able to hear an answer that is different from your automatic response of wanting to change your situation or avoid feeling uncomfortable. Then write me and tell me what you get at firstname.lastname@example.org
If mindfulness is difficult (and your racing thoughts tend to take over), start with practicing breath awareness, and then build from there. Yoga, meditation and energy healing are all great tools to help you with this too.
Try on these exercises daily, you’ll be surprised at what is revealed. You may find you already have what you are looking for OR what you need isn’t what you’ve been reaching for, and what IS there is way better than the idea of happiness you’ve been so adamantly trying to achieve. Enjoy discovering
More to follow in Part 4 of this Happiness Series.
Love and light always,