Just be happy.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
Just writing that makes me want to slap the imaginary version of myself in the face that says, “just be happy.”
If you’re here reading this, perhaps you struggle with happiness, too.
The thing is, it really is as simple as just being happy.
Simple, but not always easy.
And here’s a simple truth (brace yourself for a hard pill to swallow):
The one person who gets in the way of your happiness is you.
The only person who can make you happy is you.
The question of the day is: HOW are you going to ALLOW yourself to be happy?
We’re going to talk about how I have routinely gotten in the way of my own happiness, and how I have achieved much more happiness than I’ve ever experienced or thought possible.
We’re going to talk about what you can do to get out of your own damned way and LET yourself be happy.
For chronic malcontents and people who have experienced trauma, this may seem like an impossible task.
I assure you, it is not an impossible task to cultivate and allow happiness in your life.
First, start by opening your mind to new ideas and follow me in this post.
To have an open mind, you must accept there are far more things you DO NOT KNOW about life than the things you do know.
Then, let yourself be teachable.
Watching for Dropping Shoes
Where’s my worriers out there?
My chronic malcontents and misanthropes?
My peeps who live by the creed, “hope for the best, but expect the worst, and you’ll never be disappointed?”
Who out there is afraid of feeling happy and hopeful because you know a shit sandwich is just around the corner.
You know who you are…
Waiting for the next shoe to drop?
Before I tell you to knock that shit off, let me acknowledge that it is not that easy to just stop worrying.
I get it.
And in a lot of ways, it’s not your fault.
Whether you believe in evolution or not, our minds are wired to find problems for survival reasons.
We have a built-in negativity bias that kept our ancestors from getting eaten by bears.
Now that the bears are in cages, relationships with ourselves and others are the problems our minds are always trying to solve to “keep us safe.”
Our problems are the bear.
Chronically looking for problems is a misguided survival skill.
Again, it’s how we humans are wired, and it’s not your fault.
What you do with your internal bear IS your responsibility.
For my audience who has experienced trauma – the fucking bear is always in your head trying to get you!
The bear looks like fear of vulnerability, fear of being hurt, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of not being good enough, fear of being unlovable, fear of being alone, fear of not having enough, et cetera, etc. Fear, fear, fear…
At least, that’s the bear that’s been living in my head.
And that bear is living rent-free in your head occupying space where happiness could dwell.
Here’s an example:
As stated last week, I’ve decided to start dating.
Well, I met someone.
And I really like her. A LOT.
And that scares the shit out of me.
The bear in my head starts by telling me that if I’m excited and happy, then what I’m feeling is wrong.
Somehow, that fucking bear knows that deep down inside, I don’t think I deserve to be happy, and any feeling of happiness is just delusional and cannot be trusted.
I’m sorry if any of that sounds familiar.
Then, Mr. Bear, tells me that she really doesn’t like me (contrary to the fact that she does).
When she gets to know the “real me” she’ll go away.
Then, Mr. Bear tells me I like her too much, too soon.
El Señor Oso also says, “Sure you’re happy, but you’re too happy.”
So now it’s the wrong kind of fucking happiness?
Although, I’m not a huge fan of this phrase, it is fitting… FML.
Don’t Kill The Bear!
Love the bear!
You might be thinking, “Wait, what?”
This guy just said the bear is making me unhappy, and now he wants me to love the motherfucker?
Carl Jung put it perfectly, “What you resist persists.”
Embrace the bear!
Own your fears!
Feel them in your body.
Allow the feeling….
Ask yourself, “What does this fear need to be okay?”
And give it to yourself.
Wrap your arms around yourself and say, “I love myself.”
Tell yourself you are safe.
Trust that you are loved and safe.
If you don’t trust it, imagine what it would feel like.
Act as if.
Your imagination is strong enough to make you panic. Why not use that beautiful mind to pretend you feel safe, loved, and worthy?
This is not an intellectual exercise.
This is healing.
And it takes a lot of repetition.
When you resist feeling fear you limit your ability to feel happiness.
When you resist feeling fear you limit your ability to feel happiness.
Feelings cannot be compartmentalized that way.
Lovingly allow yourself to feel the fear.
Then, simply, imagine a loving energy taking it away.
Write down the fear, and put it in a God box.
Imagine the fear as a leaf floating away on a river.
Imagine the fear as a cloud passing by in the sky.
Imagine it being written in sand on the beach and the waves washing it away.
The point is, allow it and then release it.
It takes practice.
And you can do it!
Choose With Intention
So this morning when Mr. Bear was singing the blues, I felt the fear (journaled about it), meditated, and let that shit go.
Because I practice allowing the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts to pass, I am open to allowing the pleasant ones as well.
And this practice requires intention.
Be intentional about choosing to feel whatever comes up.
Remember, feelings are neither good nor bad. They are neutral.
Feelings vary along a spectrum of pleasure and pain, however, they are neither good nor bad.
So today, when I felt the excitement and joy out of getting to know this new woman in my life, I let myself feel fucking happy!
What a concept.
Yes, it doesn’t matter if it works out or not.
Right now, I feel happy getting to know her, and I’m letting myself.
I will apply discernment as this unfolds (see https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/16/stop-painting-red-flags-green/).
And I will enjoy the process.
So today, I said, “Thank you, Mr. Bear, for sharing. Now we’re going to call on someone else to share.”
Happiness comes to the podium, clears her throat, leans into the mic and says, “Damn, it feels good to be alive and experiencing all of the wonders life has to offer!”
Happiness continues, “Your happiness is not dependent on the approval or attention of this woman.”
“It’s awesome to feel happy because of her.”
“And you are happy without her.”
“Take risks! Let this flow!”
“Regardless of what happens, I will always be here to celebrate the ups and downs of life with you.”
“How you ask?”
“Because I live inside you…. in your heart.”
“Happiness is your natural state when you are in the flow of life.”
“Allow all that happens to happen, and there I am…”
“I am in your tears.”
“I am in your fears.”
“I am there when you fall down and someone sees you do it.”
“I am there when you fuck up royally.”
“I am in the mirror and the in the eyes of your beloved.”
“I am in babies.”
“I am in animals (especially dogs).”
“You can trust me.”
“Remember, the sun is always shining behind the clouds.”
“I love you.”
“I am Love.”
Happiness drops the mic, dabs, blows a kiss, points at members of the audience, winks, walks over and hugs Mr. Bear, and heads back to the green room off stage waiting for her next performance any minute now.
Happiness is always here.
Conclusion/Practice Makes Progress
Choosing to be happy is what makes it possible.
If it were that simple, everyone would be happy.
But it really is that simple.
However, the catch is that choosing happiness is a practice.
I’ve heard that to master something, you must do it 10,000 times.
The practice of mindfully and lovingly allowing life to be as it is is just that.
Practice does not make perfect.
Practice makes progress.
And sometimes, progress is painfully slow.
Sometimes, progress includes setbacks or relapses into negativity.
The point is, practice is like a dance.
And you and your attitude towards life are the partners.
You’ll notice, I did not say you and life are the partners.
It’s your attitude you need to learn to dance with.
Life is life.
Like feelings, it’s neutral.
It’s your perception that decides your comfort level with it.
I went running yesterday on a trail and fell. I got chewed up a bit by the rocks and gravel and stickers.
What did I do?
I laughed, got back up, and kept running.
Life is like that.
When we can loving embrace all of our perceived “falls” and failures as part of life’s adventure, happiness prevails.
Everyday, wake up, drink your coffee or what ever you do, and set aside five minutes to worry.
You read that correctly.
I’ll give you five minutes to worry.
Then, journal those worries for a couple minutes. Like two minutes!
Feel them in your body.
Tell yourself, “I love these fears.”
“I care for this suffering.”
Then journal for five minutes what your happy, successful, and confident version of yourself would say to you.
What would a loving person tell you?
What would that version of you believe?
That everything always works out?
That you’re doing your best?
If you resist that last line, then you’re in the right place.
You’ve made it this far in life.
Things always work out.
Not necessarily the way we think they should.
But like I like to say, “but did you die?”
If you’re breathing and reading this, you have a chance!
Today, you can begin practicing feeling happy.
Allow what is to flow, and you will find it.
It’s already inside of you.
You have everything you need inside of you.
Allow it to flow.
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Thank you for reading and be well!