We are taught many things in our life that we automatically accept as truth. We are taught that if we work hard/buy a house/make a ton of money/raise a family/drive a hybrid car/etc. etc. that the effect of that particular action will make us happy.
All you have to do is watch any show on celebrities to know HAVING does not equal happiness. They look so good on paper: they have a wonderful house, children, a well paying job, respect and fame in their industry, the ability to travel all over the world, so you’d think they’d be set to live happily ever after. But how often do we hear about their mental breakdowns, drug addictions, extramarital affairs, miserable children, and lawsuit happy acquaintances?
Sounds like any regular human being but even more complicated. And publicized.
So if it’s not the acquisition of STUFF that will make us happy, what will?
Now don’t close your browser window yet, hear me out.
Think about something that makes you feel really good, like having a crush on the man or woman of your dreams. That person permeates your mind the whole day. You are floating on cloud nine. You don’t really mind that someone cuts you off while driving on the highway, you don’t care that it’s raining out, in fact, today you think you actually LIKE rain. Your lunch tastes so delicious that you slowly savor every bite. You are full of joy. Nothing can steal your peace.
Now imagine that you just had a really ugly nasty fight with that person. You are no longer riding on a cloud, but you are huddled beneath a dark stormy mood. That person that cuts you off on the highway now gets flipped a selective finger and a very loud leaning on your horn. The rain makes you even more mad and sad and upset to be alive. Your lunch either goes uneaten or you shove it ungratefully into your mouth to try to make yourself feel better. You are miserable. Everything irritates you.
Same day, different FEELING and the day will now be categorized as a “good day” or a “bad day” when in reality it’s either a “good feeling day” or a “bad feeling day.”
It’s important to recognize and DO things that help you to feel good. Sometimes it means just feeling better than you currently do. For instance, you are not going to instantly come out of nasty cranky mood into super happy awesome mood. You’ll go from nasty cranky mood, to cranky mood, to less than cranky mood, to feeling a little better than cranky mood, etc. etc. In my own life I practice yoga on a daily basis to keep myself feeling good. If I can’t practice my yoga, I will do something else that I know helps me to feel good like reading inspirational things or writing or painting or even napping. It’s important to find those things that make you feel good, even if it’s just closing your eyes and thinking about things you like, it’s amazing what just meditating on it can accomplish. Think Harry Potter and his Patronus! All he had to do was deeply contemplate a very positive powerful memory, allow himself to be filled with it, then he could defeat dark forces.
Talk about yogic power! Sounds like a heck of a lot more fun (and a lot more happiness inducing) than being on the front page of People Magazine.