Something that made no sense at all.
Ever then kicked yourself when you did it again?
And again. And again?
You’re so aware, you really should’ve known better..
Ever made an assumption that turned out to be totally wrong?
What about the “good” assumptions – like assuming birthdays should be extra special days just cos you were born on that day. Like the best time to set new intentions is when it’s a new moon.
Like someone you love should love the same things you do.
How do these serve you?
When you assume something, it’s most likely based in fear. Fear that keeps you from truly being happy as long as you associate those thoughts with past actions and experiences.
I was thinking about assumptions and anticipation today as I wandered into my favourite little crystal / mystic shop near Queenstown.
About how I anticipated this trip and how I assumed it would make me feel. Getting here to find that it’s neither how I dreamed, nor how I expected.
(You’ve been with me as I planned this trip, excitedly booked flights, got my visa, and packed excitedly)
So where did that state of sheer happiness go?
Don’t get me wrong – it’s all going well and I AM happy, it’s just that I might have mistaken high energy and anticipation for happiness.
Thinking that cos it wasn’t as warm (weather wise) or as much of a homecoming I thought it would be, I would have to do something to be ‘happier’.
You see, in my mind, it was ‘supposed’ to be a certain way.
As I browsed the shop still musing, I was drawn to a book.
Hello, the Happiness Trap. Resonance! What I read struck me: Did you know you’re shooting yourself in the foot when you make ‘looking for happiness’ your main goal in life?
Living a values based life is what will bring you true happiness, as opposed to living a goals based life – quoted non verbatim.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about dreams and goals and the pursuit of happiness is definitely one of human-kind’s biggies.
It’s when we assume that anything less than a happy vibe will take us away from this ultimate goal, that we pay a huge price – fear, anxiety and stress.
To live an illusion of happiness, most people shy away from negative feelings and do whatever they can to make them ‘go away’. These people are sometimes you and me.
(Even though for the most part, we DO know better, yay us!)
You’re smart enough to allow emotions and feelings to be fully experienced, knowing that what you resist persists.
You know all you want is to feel good again and being LOA and personal development savvy, you’ll stay with it so you can get past it. The way out of it is often through it.
It happened to me when I talked about being dragged into the emotions and drama of being a victim in the past, when I was hard on myself for being in that place again, till I realised just how far I had actually come.
But this book really got me seeing things differently again.
It made me see that anxiety is normal. Contrary to belief, happiness is not yet our normal state of being and is influenced by the fears of others around us as we’re growing up.
(I believe we ARE headed that way one little step at a time, just not fully there yet).
Happiness is not the same as feeling good.
It’s a feeling of being alive, full of life force energy. And by its very nature, life force energy covers all human emotions and ranges.
Just like the tide ebbs and flows, nature reinvents itself, trees and plants grow and die, life begins and ends, there is always a polar opposite of every emotion and feeling known to us.
This brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘acceptance’.
Accept not just the feeling that is in the moment, but also the fact that life WILL be up and down, you WILL sink back into old unwanted patterns every now and then, things will not always work out like you want, you WILL be sad, mad, bad, glad many more times in your life.
Accept that no matter how much spiritual work you do, how aware you are, how much you’ve learned and grown, you will experience the full range of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, as long as you live.
I’ve ‘ ed’ good and bad because it’s time to stop labelling these emotions. When you label, you separate and create pain by questioning why.
Accept that this is really, truly, ok. Like Charlie of Productive Flourishing says, what would happen if you didn’t think it was ‘bad’ to feel down?
Let go of that damn happiness “goal”.
The happiness that comes from achieving a goal or a dream is short-lived. If you’re like me, 20 seconds later you’re wondering what’s next. Goals will come and go and keep getting achieved.
Enjoy the anticipation instead!
The thing with anticipation (aka the journey) is that it’s almost always more fun than the actual event (aka the goal) you’ve been waiting for to happen.
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again – really, really, enjoy the ride. Cos when it’s over, that’s what you’ll remember.
Don’t make the memory about getting off the roller coaster and being sick, make it be about the stars you saw on top of the ride, the people who looked like ants below, and the gobs of fun you had squealing and laughing.
The moments each day is made up of, the tears and smiles, the ups and downs.
And one more thing – Forgive yourself. Love yourself. That is all.
So .. watchu thinking? What’s your take on Happiness as a Goal vs a Value? What do you believe is your natural state of being? Do you agree or disagree with this post? I’m inviting your comments and would love to know what you’ve got to say! Cheers!