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Feeling obliged to be unhappy?

April 24, 2013 by admin  
Filed under From Our Members

You know, I could get worked up or at least more than mildly irritated when I hear people put off their happiness until one or other condition they’ve set is fulfilled. I could, but I don’t because I don’t believe in putting off my happiness.

I don’t believe in waiting for certain conditions to be fulfilled before I allow my natural joy and excitement with life to percolate through each and every one of my experiences. I don’t believe in being unhappy not even for a moment! I realize, however, that most people feel obliged to be unhappy.

Now I realize that these statements are going to irk some folk but that’s their choice of reaction – and kindly remember that – it is always their/your choice how you react!

You see, there are people who maintain that we must not put pressure on ourselves to be happy. That, in fact, this whole thing about being happy or finding happiness is yet another New Age mantra that, while seemingly attractive, is in fact adding to people’s stress.

They, and others, may also *stress* (hmm…enjoy the pun:-) the importance of allowing ourselves to experience sadness or fear or anger or any of those mental and emotional states that we assign to the category or ‘negative emotions’.

Let me make my position clear on this:

I certainly don’t believe in putting pressure on ourselves to do or be anything and that includes being happy. As I often say, you cannot struggle your way to happiness!

As for allowing (‘allowing’ is a key word here) ourselves to feel sad, depressed or any of those ‘negative’ emotions, I couldn’t agree more. The tides of human emotions come in and go out quite naturally and spontaneously and if we were to remain natural, we would have no concern about this natural and spontaneous flow.

However, because we have been conditioned to fear ‘negative’ emotions, the very mind state that fears them also causes them to persist! How so?

Well, if we understand the Law of Attraction, thoughts and feelings of fear which are generally about *not wanting something* keep our energy and attention in the very thing that we do not want. And whatever we give our energy and attention to, we attract/create!

Consequently, rather than simply ‘allowing’ all emotions, both positive and negative, to run their natural course, we get stuck in them whether through attachment or aversion. And if you are aware, you will see that both attachment and aversion are instant kill-joys, robbing you of your natural happiness, your spontaneous joy.

On the other hand, ALLOWING is truly an effortless, joyous, liberating state. It is our NATURAL state. It is a way of being that aligns us with the infinite power and possibility of the Universe (or God or Source or Intelligence or Love) and its effortless flow!

So why do some people claim or feel that seeking to be happy unconditionally, no matter what, is about putting pressure on ourselves and about denying ourselves the experience of negative emotions?

I think it’s because they have a somewhat narrow concept of what happiness is, what it feels like and what it looks like :-)

Most people see the big toothy smile or the ‘jumping for joy’ image in their mind’s eye when they think about happiness. But that’s a rather narrow view of happiness whose true bandwidth is infinitely wider! What do I mean?

Well, the experience of stillness and centeredness for instance is, in my book, a state of happiness too! So is the state of detached focus and engagement. Someone who is quietly reading a book and enjoying it while displaying no obvious emotion is also in a state of happiness as is the person who may be delivering a speech quite passionately.

The mother nursing her child peacefully and under no pressure is also in a state of happiness as is the child being nursed. The silent companionship of a pet enjoyed by its caregiver can also be an expression and experience of happiness.

I think you get what I mean. The expressions of happiness that we are most familiar with are not the only expressions of happiness. One can be happy even in the absence of toothy smiles and tumble turns of joy!

Also, experiencing our negative emotions does not necessarily result in unhappiness. On the contrary, allowing the natural tides of our emotions to run their course ensures our happiness, for in allowing, there is neither attachment nor aversion, which as I said earlier are the causes of unhappiness.

Which brings me to the whole point of this post – why make your happiness conditional?

Why insist that you’ll be happy when…

The mortgage is finally paid up
The kids get their degrees and settle down to good jobs, good partners, nice houses and perfect kids
The rain stops so you can get your washing dry
Your partner stops complaining
Your mother stops criticizing you
You return to your pre-kids shape and size
Your hair is less dry
You find a parking space
You get a good bargain
Your partner quits smoking
Your father recovers from a terminal illness
You get that promotion you believe you’re entitled do
You achieve what your want through toil and struggle
The salesperson is polite
The kids do well at school

I could go on. We set conditions that must be met either in the long term or more immediately. What we fail to realize is that every time we set conditions, we deny ourselves the experience of happiness for conditions block the free flow of life, of love.

Right, so how are we to be happy no matter what??? By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, ‘no matter what’ means ‘without conditions’ :-)

We do it by first recognizing the value of being happy no matter what. Now, obvious as that may seem to some of us, there are many who hold a belief (often unconsciously) that there is value in being unhappy.

We use our state of unhappiness or disdain or fear or anger to tell others that we disapprove of something or someone or that we hold something or someone responsible for our grief or to prove to them that our unhappiness is an indication of how much we care or that being unhappy makes us more deserving of certain rewards or compensations. What we don’t realize is that in so doing, we hand over control of our happiness to others!

There is no value in being unhappy. Any perceived value is to our personal detriment, stifling and stunting our growth and our ability to wander creatively in the field of infinite possibilities!

To hold on to unhappiness beyond its natural course which, incidentally, lasts but a moment, is the result of fixating on the past or future. Now, therein lies a clue –

being happy, no matter what, is first and foremost about STAYING PRESENT.

Alright, before you start despairing over how ‘hard it is to stay present’, please stay with me here. (Yes, another perfect opportunity to practice being present:-). Please read the following very carefully i.e. with full attention:

When you are present, fully present, you disentangle yourself from the chains of associations that you have around a situation and all the limiting beliefs that help build your story of fear, doubt, helplessness, hopelessness, powerlessness, anger, guilt, hurt, sadness and anything else that has you in its grip.

Please read that again.

Now, you’re probably thinking: Okay, great, I unchain myself from all that stuff but I can’t remain constantly present. Within seconds I lose my present-mindedness, my awareness, my attention and then I’m back to square one. Then what???

Firstly, let me tell you that it is exactly this kind of thinking that causes people to regard the practice of being present as unreliable or even undesirable. In other words, they doubt its power and consequently fail to reap the profound benefits of the practice. If only they would persevere!

Let me assure you that from the very first experience of being present, you start to re-pattern and re-set your hard-wiring (the neural networks in your brain) as well as your software (the programs of thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are constantly running in your subconscious mind).

The more you practice being present, the more deep and widespread this re-patterning is. If you persevere, it replaces your old default settings of fear, anxiety, powerlessness, anger and so on with the default setting of peace, JOY, limitlessness, power, freedom and love. That’s right, joy or happiness becomes your new default setting!

But that is not the only thing that happens. With joy or happiness as your default setting, you are likely to see and review the world and the particular situation/issue you’re experiencing very differently. Your focus shifts. You tend to see the good rather than the unpleasant. You become far more appreciative and far less judgmental!

What’s more, you are able to consider how things might be improved or done differently in the future in a much more creative way. Most importantly, you’ll do this in a much more loving way rather than with the hurt or anger or resentment or powerlessness than you would otherwise be feeling! Tell me that this is not what you want!

You know, we’ve acquired many unhelpful beliefs and ways of viewing the world. For instance, most of us believe that we must be sad when someone dies, or that we must go through the five stages of grief when we lose someone whether through death or the breakdown of a relationship. These beliefs are so deeply entrenched in our minds that we even get upset should anyone challenge them.

There’s no doubt that many, if not most, people feel sad at the loss of a loved one. It’s true that many people do experience denial, anger, the tendency to plea bargain, the unwilling acceptance of loss and the willing acceptance of loss. But does that mean everybody must? Does it mean that without going through these stages, we might be forever locked in some joyless limbo or denial?

Of course not! Your particular experience can be different, especially if you choose it to be so. Why, for instance, could you not choose to focus on all the good and joyous aspects of a relationship that has ended? Why, for instance, could you not choose to focus on the fact that a loved one who has died continues to live in spirit and in the memories of our heart?

Why, for instance, could you not choose to focus on the things that your child is doing well instead of focusing on the one thing that he is not? Why, for instance, could you not choose to focus on your spouse’s many beautiful qualities instead of focusing on her one ‘fault’, persistent as it may be?

Before I finish this post, I want to address one final thing. Many people assume that when we choose to focus on those things that resonate with our natural joy and power, we are in fact in denial about a particular situation.

For example,

“Focusing on my partner’s wonderful qualities does not change the fact that she was unfaithful at least once”.

I certainly don’t believe in denying anything. If something has happened, it would be foolish not to acknowledge it. But what we do beyond that is something that we have complete choice over IF we choose to exercise it. And know this:

You are not obliged to feel angry even though there are enough people who will not only encourage you to but demand that you do. You are not obliged to feel rejected although your sense of self-worth and self-esteem are only too happy to show you the way to that dark emotion. You are not obliged to feel cheated or betrayed although most people will think there’s something wrong with you if you don’t! You are not obliged to feel distrustful from here on although you’d be considered insane by many if you weren’t.

The choice is always yours. It’s your life. You make the rules instead of slavishly following the rules of the people in your life and of your society. And depending on your rules, should you choose to have any (and you certainly don’t need to), you could be happy no matter what!

I think the following words from Jiddhu Krishnamurti tell us perfectly what it is to live without rules!

Love is not the product of thought which is the past. Thought cannot possibly cultivate love. Love is not hedged about and caught in jealousy, for jealousy is of the past. Love is always active present. It is not ‘I will love’ or ‘I have loved’. If you know love you will not follow anybody. Love does not obey. When you love there is neither respect nor disrespect.

Does love have responsibility and duty, and will it use those words? When you do something out of duty is there any love in it? In duty there is no love. The structure of duty in which the human being is caught is destroying him. So long as you are compelled to do something because it is your duty you don’t love what you are doing. When there is love there is no duty and no responsibility.
Quoted from Freedom from the Known

Copyright © Lucy Lopez  All rights reserved.

Lucy Lopez has walked away from a marriage, well-paid jobs, academic pursuits and the security of conventional wisdom, choosing instead to walk the road far less travelled where stories of ease, joy, peace and everyday adventure and synchronicities are imagined, told and lived! She is unstoppably dedicated to helping others find and walk the same road and does this through her on and off-line Workshops in Mind Mastery, Meditation and STINK! (Stop The Insanity Now Knower!). Take a walk with her at The Power of Your Stories and see how your life can change when your stories change!

Julian Kalmar and Rick Beneteau want to know if you've got what it takes to step up and be a leader in the new world transformation. CLICK HERE to find out.

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