Jan 16, 2013

Be Happy for ‘No Reason Whatsoever’

You hear a lot of people say things like, “I’ll be happy if ____”, or “I’ll be happy when ____”.  You might be able to fill in the blanks yourself, having said those, or similar things.  Like me, you have seen the items on the Internet that talk about locations being “the happiest town”, “the happiest city”, “the happiest state”, “the happiest country”, “the happiest people”, and so on.  The question I’m asking today is, are you happy?  If not, what is it that you feel you need to be happy?

Just like being sad, depressed, lonely, cheerful, satisfied, and any other emotional resource, happiness is a state.  And, like any state, we humans have the ability to access that state at any time we choose.  So, I already see the look of doubt on your face and the internal dialog saying, “OK, I’m done.  If people could access happiness anytime they wanted, then more people would be doing it.”  And, you may be closing your browser or moving on to another website.  But, WAIT!  Stay with me just a little while longer.  What you are about to learn could change your life dramatically for the good and forever.

First, I want to share with you how your mind processes information and how thinking patterns develop and become semi-permanent.  The ‘conscious’ mind has one main purpose; to keep everything the same.  That is why most everyone has a difficult time with change, no matter how small.  Let me give you an example:  When you consider trying a menu item at a restaurant you frequent that you’ve never eaten, how much thought do you give to that change from what you normally eat there?  Fully consider it.  Most people will think long and hard about changing from their normal meal and then decide to stick with the meal they know they like.  Remember the last time you experienced that.  So, if what would seem to be a fairly insignificant change is hard to make, then you realize now why more important changes are even more difficult.  The ‘conscious’ mind accomplishes its goal of keeping everything the same through three processes; generalization, deletion, and distortion.  By doing so, it supports a continuation of your current beliefs and everything stays the same.  For example, if you were given the belief as a child that talking to strangers is wrong and you haven’t changed that belief and you have generalized it into adulthood, then you will find it hard to meet new people, network for your job, etc.  If you think that people like you aren’t happy, you’ve deleted some important information, such as, who are these people that are like you and how do you know that these people aren’t happy?  If you say to yourself, “I’m never happy”, ask yourself, really?  Never?  You can’t think of a single time that you have been happy in your entire life?  This is called distortion.  Again, all of these thoughts are present to support your current beliefs and keep everything the same.

How does this now fit into you being happy?  If you believe that you need to have something, do something, or be something to be happy, you’ll be right.  Which means that you won’t allow yourself to be happy until you have, do, or be.  And, no matter what happens around you, you’re ‘conscious’ mind will find ways to support your belief that you can’t be happy now.

So, now I want to play “what if”.  What if you made a conscious decision to change the way you think?  Some people do this very naturally, especially when they get sick and tired of a limiting belief, hurt, habit, or hang-up ruling their life.  I have a friend that one day decided that he was going to stop smoking because it wasn’t congruent with his beliefs or his life.  All the rest of his life was geared toward being healthy and clean.  He was going to schedule an appointment with me for hypnosis to help him because he had tried several times before and went right back to smoking.  Out of the blue he called one day and told me, “Well, I’ve stopped!”  When I asked him how he did it, he replied that he gotten so tired of living incongruently that he looked in the mirror and said, “You’re done!” and that was it.

Are you tired enough of not being happy?  If you are, then now is the time to consciously change your thought patterns.  I have some of my clients create a diary of how many times each day they have negative thoughts and what those negative thoughts are.  They come to me at the next appointment amazed at the number of times they are being negative in their thinking!  Once they see the reality, they can now begin the transformation of their thinking.  I have them pay attention not only to their thinking, but their posture, body language, the emotions they are feeling, where they feel the emotions, and in what direction those emotions are moving. (Yes, emotions do move within our bodies.  Just remember the last time you were lying awake in bed and couldn’t sleep.  Remember how your mind was “spinning” and “racing”?)  I then teach them how to control those emotions so that they become positive.

The next piece of this puzzle are called modal operators.  These are words like; should, shouldn’t, must, musn’t, have to, can’t, etc.  These words express a necessity, possibility (or lack of), belief, or knowledge that is non-truth-functional; not true in and of themselves.  When we put confinements upon ourselves that we “have” to do something, then we feel forced or coerced and without options.  No one feels happy under those circumstances.  When keeping your diary of negative thoughts, add the use of Modal Operators to your tracking.  Each time you find yourself telling yourself that you “have” to do do something, that you “can’t”, “shouldn’t”, “must”, “musn’t”, etc. then ask yourself, “If I must, what will happen if I don’t?”  “If I should, what will happen if I don’t?”  “If I can’t, what will happen if I do?”  At the very least, give yourself options.  Instead of feeling that you can’t, shouldn’t, must, have to…decide to choose to do, or not do.  I recently had a client tell me that every time she’s running late and has the kids that she has to order something for herself when going through the Sonic drive-thru because she’s getting the kids something to eat.  I asked her if she “had” to, or if she chose to?  The look on her face was that of discovery!  She discovered that her power hadn’t been taken away.  That she does have a choice.  And, it’s OK to choose to get something from the Sonic, even when she is wanting to lose weight.  She’s an adult that can make adult decisions!  Why add guilt on top of feeling as though there wasn’t a choice?!  When a person fully realizes that they have options and the power to choose, then they live a much happier life.

What about being happy for no reason whatsoever?  Once a person learns the above, then they are already being happier and can learn to be happy for no reason.  By this point, they fully realize that they no longer have to, must, should, etc. be something, do something, or have something to be happy.  They are now free to be like a child of 4-years-old.  If you watch 4-year-olds, you’ll discover that they are just happy.  If you ask them why, they don’t know.  They just are.  When their friend hurts them, they cry and, five minutes later, they are back playing like nothing happened.  When they don’t get what they want, they move on shortly after.  Thay have a curiosity that knows no bounds and they get excited and appreciate the little things.  You once had that.  The beautiful thing is that you can have it again by remolding your thoughts and thinking patterns.  I give this gift to most of my clients; the gift of being happy for no reason whatsoever.  I pray that this article has helped you see at least a glimmer of the happiness you can now have…

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