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How To Be Happier No Matter What February 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
45 comments

Our left analytical brain creates most, if not all, of the unhappiness we experience in life. 

It’s not what happens to us that determines our happiness, it’s the “spin” put on it by the thoughts we think.

The “what is” IS.  How we relate to the issue IS the issue.

So, for example, a possible cause for distress would be if X’s house burned down.  X could be grateful (“at least no one was hurt”) or happy (“I’m glad I paid the insurance premium last week”). 

X could collapse into a heap and cry about the loss of stuff.  Or X could shrug and say, “Well, that’s one thousand less things to worry about.” 

Barn’s burnt down ~ now I can see the moon. ~ Masahide (1657-1723)

The same possibilities exist if we lose our job . . . or our spouse leaves us . . . or a loved one dies.

We can resist the “what is” and add to our suffering by the stories we tell ourselves . . . or we can accept and embrace the changes that come our way.

Embrace all with joy . . . anything can be a gift of gold in disguise. 

When something “bad” happens, we do not have to feel “sad.”  We can accept that change is inevitable in life and get on with living life. 

We can choose to look for the silver lining:

“Great.  Now that I’m no longer working there . . . I’ll have the time to find a job more suited to my time and talents.”

“Great.  John hasn’t been happy in our marriage for some time.  I’m glad he’s finally moving on with his life, freeing me to do the same.”

Situations do NOT dictate the response. 

Our responses are conditioned by our habitual way of looking at the world. 

They are learned behavior . . . and can be unlearned. 

If we are attached to X, and lose X, we are socialized to mourn the loss.  But we don’t have to follow socially prescribed behavior. 

We are free to say . . . I am better off without X.  X was slowing me down.  I needed to let go of X to get on with life.   

We need not collapse into a heap at the side of the road every time we stub our toe on a pebble in our path.

We can kick it to the curb and proceed on our way.

We can keep moving forward to see what’s around the next bend in the road.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition. ~ William Arthur Ward

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