The Marx Brothers are one of my favorite comedy groups to watch. This band of brothers always had a million laughs a minute. Often, it takes watching their movies 3 or 4 times to catch all of the humor. This quote from the leader of the merry bunch really had me thinking. A few posts ago, we spoke about how to maintain your positive vibes around people that are difficult to get along with. If you haven’t read that one yet, I highly recommend you go back and do so. Yet, there are more than just negative people that can get you down. We are going to talk about how to deal with many different challenges today. Oddly enough, they all have a very similar solution.
Groucho lets us in on a key aspect to remaining happy – control. When we let someone, as we discussed in the post previously mentioned, or something get us sad, upset or any other emotion we do not wish to feel, we are giving that person or thing control over us. We are giving that person or thing the ability to dictate to us our own emotional well-being. If we stop and think about this, it is very easy to understand emotionally. In practice, however, it can be quite difficult to manage emotionally. We get upset. We get down and sometimes end up in a sort of emotional funk. It happens to me. It happens to all of us. The secret to an amazing life is not to expect to eliminate these experiences all together. We are human and on occasion our emotions will get the best of us. I still get in a funk. This time of year, with the cold weather and lack of sunshine, it is always a possibility. The secret to living an amazing life is to reduce both the frequency that these moments occur as well as their intensity.
Above is another powerful thought. Happiness is a choice. It is not always an easy end, but in order to get to that end, we have to chose to make that our destination. I opened my very first book, A Happy Life for Busy People, with this quote from Abraham Lincoln, “People are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” If you decide that a happy life is important to you, settling for anything less will not do. True, you will still get down as we discussed, but when you are feeling that way, you will still know that happiness is where you are determined to be. Noticed I said determined not would like to be, or prefer to be. What do we do when we are determined to live in a state of happiness and inner peace and the world seems to have the exact opposite idea? We get to work!
Another great quote from Mr. Lincoln. If we are responsible for our own happiness, and we want to be in control of our own emotional well-being, what do we do when things get us down? That is a great question. I recommend starting by appreciating what those feelings are telling us. There are often great lessons to be learned in times of pain. If all we do is try to ‘deny’ our own emotions, not only will we miss the great lessons we could learn from them, but they are likely to return with a vengeance. If you are feeling sad, angry, lost, lonely or any other emotion, my first suggestion is to ask yourself why you are feeling that way. Let us say you are reeling from the loss of a loved one. You should not admonish yourself for feeling bad. Losing someone you care about can be one of the most difficult things we experience. Realize that in order to feel great loss, we must have been fortunate to feel great love. That is a blessing that not everyone has. We also had the great opportunity to share many amazing memories with that person. Our life, and our heart, will forever have a hole where that person used to be.
Now, after we have honored and discovered our emotions, which can take as long as we need it to, it is time to get to work. Begin by asking ourselves what the lesson we can get from life in regards to this tragic event. Could it be to make sure we treasure every moment with people we have in our lives? It could be that we need to take more pictures, make more memories and share more with each other while we can. How about to live and love without regret? After we have mined our negative emotions for the lessons they can teach us, it is time to put those lessons into action. Reach out to someone we have been meaning to. Plan and create memories with those we love. Make sure we are not so busy earning a living that we forget to create a life. As we take these actions, we can feel grateful for the lessons and reminders that the negative emotions have given us. That can take some time, but in the end, I think we can honestly come to terms with them.
In order to return our heart to a state of inner peace and joy, it make take utilizing some other tools. Many of these can be found in my second book, Living the Dream, but we are going to mention a few here. You could get together with family or friends to watch a funny movie (like the Marx brothers), we could listen to songs off our happy playlist. We can spend some time in one of our favorite spots in nature. I cannot stress enough how creating a list of things that bring us joy BEFORE we experience an emotional challenge is so important. When we find ourselves in a negative state, it can be next to impossible to think of things that bring us joy. I am sure you can all relate. Having such a list handy can literally be a life-saver in some cases.
We used the example of losing a loved one in this post because that is about the most difficult situation any of us can face. The same strategy can work if we are facing the end of a job, the end of a relationship or even just a morning commute filled with drivers who seem to being ‘using the force’ instead of watching the road. Discovering the true source and reason for our emotions, finding the lessons contained within them and then taking actions to learn from them and return our hearts to joy will work in all of these. It will also allow US to have control over OUR emotions instead of putting the key to them in someone else’s pocket. Do you want to have control over your own happiness, or would you rather let someone else control you?
CLICK HERE TO PICK UP MY BOOKS AND DISCOVER TOOLS FOR TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR OWN HAPPINESS 😊