It is so easy to see the glass half full — what I don’t have that I wish I had, why others seem to have an easier time than I do, etc. To most of us this type of reaction or behavior is almost automatic.
But being “negative” only compounds the problems. If we’re feeling bad about not having achieved certain goals in our lives, thinking about that and lamenting our current situation doesn’t do us any good. But, if instead we look at what we do have and our accomplishments; we will certainly enjoy our lives more and then be energized to continue to seek fulfilling our dreams.
To me learning to reeducate my brain to be more positive has been a long road. Somehow lamenting and feeling sorry for myself became my MO sometime during my late twenties. Not sure how it happened – maybe a combination of old family behaviors with a very unhappy relationship was enough to get me there. But, regardless how it started, it soon became my modus operandi. And then to complete the scenario I surrounded myself with others that behaved the same way.
Once you embark in this style of living, it is hard to turn back. As we are habitual creatures, we start to find solace in our own pity and sadness. Soon that is how we respond to lives challenges. Our attention goes to what is wrong instead of what is right.
If you find yourself not celebrating your relationships and achievements as much as you do your losses and frustrations, maybe it is time for you to also take charge and change.
I was thinking of what to write today when I came across the below post on bliss.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines bliss as “complete happiness.” While it is not a bad definition, in my mind, it misses out on the major ingredient; complete peace.
I remember two instances in my life where I have felt bliss. Neither one of the times resulting from anything extraordinary happening.
The first time was when I was about 30 years-old. I was upstate New York with my first husband having dinner at my friend Billy’s home. Billy was a furniture maker. He actually went out to his 60 acres of land and chose the wood he would use to make his pieces. He was not a hip or particularly educated man – I mention that because at the time those were values that mattered to me – but Billy was an exceptionally nice and genuine guy.
Anyway, Billy and his girlfriend had made dinner for us. It was simple and served in the kitchen. When we finished, I got up and went to sit in the living-room. Actually, I sat on Krumpus’ couch. Krumpus was a very smart dog and he only let two people sit in his couch – Billy and me.
The fire was roaring in the fireplace. No sounds were coming from the outside. As I sat in that couch I felt an amazing sensation of belonging, of being part of the universe. For the moments it lasted, I felt integrated and at peace. I didn’t have to do anything or be anybody. I just was. I didn’t even need to be happy. It seems to me, looking back at that moment, that happiness would have been a lesser feeling than what I felt. Unfortunately, my bliss didn’t last long. As quickly as it came it left me.
The second and last time I felt bliss was again upstate New York. This time in a lake by myself. The day was beautiful and I sat in the water at the edge of a lake. Within seconds I was surrounded by small fish. Again, that feeling of complete connectedness took over every cell of my body.
I have had many incredible moments and experiences in my life, but these two simple situations were the ones that gave me bliss. What I learn from them is that belonging, complete contentment, bliss, doesn’t have to come from standing in one’s head or doing cartwheels. It can come from lying down on a coach by a fire or sitting in water watching the fish swim. Sometimes, we spend all of our time chasing after things that we believe will give us bliss, while all along passing up on simple opportunities that would give us the much sought after feeling.
Please read on.
What Is Bliss?
By Sean Meshorer
Shortly after I’d given my publisher my manuscript about bliss, I had coffee with a friend who asked me: What, exactly, is bliss?
I didn’t have an easy answer. It had taken an entire book to lay out what I’d learned from teaching a class series in Los Angeles, where I’d seen people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, age ranges, and personalities improve their happiness and spiritual awareness. I’d spent 20 years studying advanced meditative practices and global religious histories — both as a spiritual teacher, minister, counselor, and on my own journey. But even writing several chapters about bliss and how to get it didn’t make it any easier to describe in a few words…Continued
One key ingredient to any successful relationship is giving up on being right. That goes for any type of relationship.
If two friends have different points of view, fighting to prove that one is right and the other is wrong is a recipe for disaster.
If co-workers have different ways to go about a solution, fighting to prove one way is better than the other, is the quickest way to discord and most likely failure.
The point is: it never matters who is right. What matters is to be able to do what’s needed in co-operation and that only can happen if both parties can get their ego out of the way and tend to the task at hand.
Relationship intelligence teaches us to realize – before too late – that we are headed to a confrontation if we don’t approach a subject humbly. What I mean is; instead of saying this is how it is, what about saying “what do you think?” By inviting and being open to the other person’s point of view we show 1 – their opinion is important, and 2 – we are willing to listen. It’s a simple adjustment that makes friends instead of enemies.
Another key ingredient is paying compliments. I’m not talking about making up lies or being sugary. I’m talking about recognizing a quality in another person and letting them know we are aware and appreciate it. The message is: I see you.
Why not be supportive? All of us deal with rejections on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we heard from our partners, friends and colleagues that there is something about us they truly appreciate?
At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if we are right or wrong. What matters is that we find a way to live in harmony with the people that are important to us. It also doesn’t hurt to spread a little love by telling others how they matter to us.
Try it out. Give up being right, pay some compliments and watch your life change .
Love the article posted below. It discusses the difference between happiness and contentment in a very clever way. The writer, Nancy Colier, uses the simulation game The Sims as an example of how the human spirit really works.
In the game, once the player has won X amount of points, he or she is awarded Permanent Happiness. In this state the avatar wins the right to constant happiness. Nancy notes that most players after enjoying this new status for a while, get bored, kill their avatar and start anew.
I think this observation is quite brilliant. It shows – in a psychological way – that which we say we seek is really not quite what we think.
Achieving constant happiness with the exclusion of all other human feelings takes the zing out of life. I’m by no means saying we need to suffer and be unhappy to enjoy life. What I’m saying is that happiness in real life comes and goes. It is the result of something we worked towards and then achieved. The working towards is an important element and once the excitement of the achievement passes and other situations arrive, the happiness leaves.
Happiness is powerful because it is a result of effort. Without it, happiness is thin.
On the other hand, what can be a constant is contentment or as Nancy calls it; well-being. That is a state that is unrelated to the ups and downs of life because contentment is based on a relationship with the self. How well we know ourselves, how much do we listen to our true voice. In essence it’s about how we deal with the feelings we have and not about the outside aspect that have created them.
Opportunities, situations, doors that open and close are not within our complete control, but how we deal with the feelings they create are. That is the difference between happiness and contentment and unhappiness and contentment.
Once understanding that our ground is contentment we must then nourish it by strengthening our relationship with the self.
Please read on.
Happily Ever After?
In the online simulation game The Sims, when an avatar accomplishes all of her lifetime aspirations, she achieves “Permanent Platinum” status, otherwise known as permanent happiness. Once “Platinum,” her mood bar cannot slip below a certain level, and her environment no longer impacts her happiness. She is frozen in happiness…Continued
One of the most difficult things to understand is that we’re not responsible for other people’s happiness. Better yet, that we have no control over it.
The reason it is so difficult is that sometimes someone who is close to us chooses time and again to see and experience life in the darkest way possible. We try to show them there is a different way, but they are stuck in their dark perception. They are unhappy and unnecessarily so. It is frustrating and painful. But it is their choice and there is nothing we can do about it. Insisting in the same methodology of trying to show light points to our incapacity to accept our own limitation.
I’m not suggesting giving up in being present in the lives of people we love who choose to be unhappy. I’m suggesting we accept the fact that we can’t make anyone change if they don’t want to. I suggest not adding to the situation by embracing the unhappiness and frustration ourselves.
Getting to a place of acceptance can be difficult because we often think there is one more thing we can try or we think we can change others if we only apply ourselves a little more. But, the truth is we know it really isn’t up to us.
Accepting that others have the control of their experience is an indicator of our own growth. We can offer compassion and friendship, but as we are responsible for our happiness so are others for theirs.
One of the great stumbling blocks for being content right now is our constant need to wish we were someplace else or that our lives were different. How many of us have said or thought: “I’m going to be happy when I get XYZ” or “I’m holding off experiencing XXX for when I have XYZ.” Here’s a news flash: we may never get or have XYZ or at least in the manner we dream about. So does that mean we give up on being content? Absolutely not; we give up in not living our lives today for a future which may or may never happen.
I love the holiday season. I like the slower days and the lesser pressure to produce. I like that others in general are also in a more loving mood. To think years ago I used to detest the holidays. But that was when I concentrated on what I didn’t have. I actually used to joke with friends that we should have a party every January 2nd and call it “I Survived The Holidays” party.
I think a major frustration many people feel as they jump into the self-help book, workshop, lecture world, is from the misguided idea once we do “this or that” we will be happy ever after. It’s like all of a sudden we are bad math students in search of final answers to problems. I say bad math students because a true visionary knows our understanding of the universe is interconnected and always evolving.
What we often do is, one day we realize we need to work on some specific issue about our behavior that is creating chaos and pain in our lives.
Life is often confusing and overwhelming. We work harder and make less money. We are bombarded by information 24/7 and spend a great deal of time in the virtual world. Violence is abundant in many parts of the world and if the wars don’t do us in the environment is waiting in line.
No wonder people are desperate for anyone or anything to tell them everything will be okay. Read this book, wear these red strings
I really like the below post from the Huffington Post. It lays out my exact thoughts on happiness and well-being. Happiness is a fleeting emotion just like anger, sadness, etc. We get happy when something pleasant happens to us; a party, a new dress, a great concert. But the feeling we are after should be of well-being. When we find contentment the feeling is a way of being and it is a constant. It is who we become. When we have found a state of well-being, we are able to appreciate who we are and what we have. And we are content. No fireworks, just a deep feeling of gratitude and knowledge. Read on.
by Dan Gottlieb, PH.D.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence gives us the right to pursue happiness. That’s all well and good, but are we finding that the pursuit of happiness can make us miserable?
In today’s culture more people are pursuing happiness and not succeeding, leaving them frustrated and living with a sense of failure. Making matters worse, the pursuit of happiness can make us self-absorbed, which is guaranteed to make us unhappy!…Continued