How many times do you go to bed feeling that everyone else is happier than you, but if we think of it logically, if we all believe that he other person has a better life, then someone is looking at you with that exact same thought, so to someone else, you have the life they want. Finding the key to happiness is not easy, but it can be done, as long we stop sieving out all the good bits and think we are the only ones dealing with with the crap that’s left behind.
The problem is that when we have let go of all the good thoughts, leaving us with only have the bad thoughts to focus on, rather than dismissing them as having no positive impact on our lives, almost like getting rid of them in a second sift, we get to work building them up, making the pieces bigger as we add all the previous stored up negative comments from our lives.
So when someone says “are you sure you want cake” what you hear, and retain is “you are overweight, or putting making it even more real, they are saying Im fat. Add that to all the comments about your weight that you’ve collected over the years and this thought now becomes so big, its firmly lodged in your mind, preventing anything remotely positive to ever fill that space.
Some negative thoughts stem from illness, bereavement or even abuse, and they have a justifiable place and they shouldn’t be ignored. If necessary, you can seek professional help to break them down so they become manageable and hopefully one day they will be small enough for you to throw them away with all the other rubbish you have collected.
But that doesn’t mean that you are not still collecting negative information that either doesn’t belong to you or doesn’t relate to you. Here I go with my analogy, Imagine walking through the supermarket and every time you passed someone they added something of theirs into your trolley, there will be some stuff that is new to you that you had never considered, and you’re will to accept it and keep it, but there will also be so much stuff in there that you don’t want or need and ads no value to you life. Now I don’t know about you, but I have in the past got to the checkout and looked as something in my trolley and decided I no longer want it. Bit what do you do? Do you either feel embarrased at the long queue behind you and keep hold of it, or do you stand up for yourself and tell the checkout that you just don’t want it. Well, it’s the same with negative thoughts, you have the choice of keeping hold of them and paying the price, or throwing them out and moving on happily.
Unhappiness doesn’t stem from a single comment, thats like having one unwanted item in your trolley, you can deal with that, it comes from the collection of lots of different unwanted comments that you store up, leaving no room for the things that you want, or feel are important.
Unhappiness comes from the mind, it comes from how you interpret an event, no matter how difficult. I have lost both parents, my mum only 2 years ago, and I was so lucky to have had the privilege of holding their hands as they took their last breath. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t feel that wave of sadness, and what I would give to have them both back, but in a split second I remember how lucky I was to be there for them both, and that makes me incredibly happy.
It would be so easy to look at life and what we no longer have, there are a million different types loss and painful experiences, but there’s a difference between suffering from the stories in our head and real pain.
Pain is a physical or emotional sensation that we feel immediately, but, it passes. Suffering is the mental story we create and the dialogue that accompanies the pain, the thoughts we play over and over in our mind: “This is terrible. This hurts. Is this going to last forever? I can’t go on, That is suffering.
We all experience hard times, but when broken down, they are manageable and we should be able to handle any situation as long as we learn not to react with that negative inner commentary.
The irony is that people find their greatest strength when at their weakest. There are women all over the world who open their full wardrobes and get depressed as they ‘have nothing to wear’ but find the woman living with nothing but the clothes on he back and she will be doing everything in her power to make her situation better, happy to have something to keep her warm or dry.
So here is what you can do today, to make the first big change to throwing out everything in your trolley that doesn’t belong to you.
I know we are in lockdown, but if you can, get yourself outside, on your own, to a place where there are no major distractions, a place where you can hear the birds sing or the wind in the tress, or where you can hear water running or my favourite place would be by the sea. If for whatever reason you cannot go outdoors, find a window, or even a painting or image on the internet.
Go to this place physically or in your mind, and allow yourself to be free from thought. Choose something to focus on, a bird, a tree, a flower, or anything else you can be 100 percent attentive to. Listen to the sounds, look at the colours, the textures and take in any smells in the air.
This is all I want you to do for the entire time.
Keeping your mind still and present is a skill, as we are so easily distracted, but try to give yourself 5 or 10 minutes everyday to empty your mind of all the negative thoughts, comments, and unwanted shopping in your trolley, as when you have created some space, you can then allow the positive things in your life to fill the gaps, clearing your mind of unwanted clutter will enable you to make the conscious decision to enter a world of happiness.
When we focus on what we have, and what we are able to do, there is always something to be grateful for. I will never forget holding my parents hands and listening to their faint breaths slowly fade away and if it’s possible to find happiness in such a sad situation, it's a possible to find happiness in everything else.
Be present, be still. Only then will happiness be our natural state, instead of being elusive and fleeting. We will achieve our natural state when our minds are still and living in the here and now without negative mental commentary.
I’ve said it before and i’ll say t again, social media does have its place, but I really feel for the generations who are growing up allowing all the realities of life to slip through the net whilst they retain the fakeness, filers and photoshop.
Its no different to having a dinner party, because when you know someone is able to see a part of our life, you clean and tidy the house, to make it look its best, use the best tableware and spend all day in the kitchen preparing a minimum of a 3 or 4 course meal and serve your best wines.
But that’s not the real you and how you live the majority of you life, and just like social media we do it for ‘impressions’, as we care more about what people think about the things that really don’t matter.