Last post we talked about why happiness is so important. Now let us look at how to get there. Read the picture above. Here is what is says in a nutshell ‘Happiness is an inside job’. I would like to add a few words though. I would like to put forth that nobody can make you happy, or unhappy without your permission. When I first heard this my first reaction was “Well I can’t help how things make me feel?”. Guess what? You can! So how on earth do we do that? How when the person we gave our heart and soul to tells us “It’s not you it’s just me” can we not feel deflated? How when after we have gave our all someone tells us we are not good enough, can we keep our head held high and move forward?
One simple answer – meaning. I have wrote about this before but it is so important that it bears repeating. If you can not only know this in your mind, but get this in your soul it will make you unstoppable and life will be filled with so much joy you will wonder why you didn’t take time to learn this before. Sound like a big promise? Then I challenge you to do this and prove me wrong.
Here is what I am talking about. Everything that affects us emotionally is determined by the meaning we attach to it. If we can control what things mean to us, we can control how they make us feel. I will attempt to explain this somewhat complex subject in brief here. Ok, say the person we love leaves us. What does that mean? Look at the different reactions people have. I know a friend who recently found himself single. His reaction? He has been in the gym every day creating the best self he can. He is determined to show his former love what she is missing. I also worked with a man whose wife left him and a few days later he ended his life. Now this man had everything going for him. He was charming, smart and had a great sense of humor. What is the difference between the two? Meaning. The first gentleman took stock of where he was, saw his faults and decided to evolve and improve so that moment will have propelled him to be a better man. The second man decided life was over.
Now I hope you don’t find yourself in this situation anytime soon. Now is the time to start working on taking control of your emotions. First, take notes on what makes you happy and what does not. It is important to write them down as it creates a mind/body connection. Then ask yourself why you feel this way. In the case of negative emotions I am going to give you a magical question to ask yourself. Why is it a magical question? It will break your emotional pattern and free you up to remove a lot of those negative emotions. Here is the magical question – what else can this mean -. Perhaps this person who is treating you harshly has something going on in their life you don’t know about? There is a story about a gentleman who was on a subway with a man and his children who were running around screaming and misbehaving. As the blocks went by this gentleman was getting more and more irritated with the lack of parental control this man was demonstrating. In fact as the children’s behavior got worse he just sat there staring into space. Finally the man couldn’t take anymore and said to the man “Don’t you think you should do something about your kids?”. The man looked up for the first time and responded “Yeah, I guess your right. We are just leaving their mom’s funeral and they don’t know how to act and to be honest neither do I”. Imagine how that man felt? It was the meaning he first attached. He was thinking “these kids are misbehaving” “They were not raised right” “This man is a bad parent”. The truth was far different. Now is this easy? absolutely not. In fact, when you have been hurt, it is very hard to ask what else can this mean? To find a positive and motivating purpose in even the worst situations is a life-long challenge that takes continued effort. In fact, even the most self-developed of us can still work on that. The man in the subway, was Stephen Covey a famous speaker, author and self-improvement guru. Next time you find yourself irritated or life throws you a challenge ask yourself “What else can this mean?”. Try to find as many positive possibilities as you can. Trust me, this will be challenging at first, but will get easier the more you do it.
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