A few months ago I took part in a discussion about finding happiness. We discussed the fact that although we were all on a quest to find happiness, it isn’t possible (or healthy) to be in a state of permanent and constant happiness.
Human emotions are complex to say the least. We are programmed to feel happy, sad, angry, excited, wary, nervous and so on and we aren’t designed to maintain one emotional state permanently. We need the lows to appreciate the highs. We need to be able to grieve, to let off steam, to be upset and angry and if we couldn’t do that we would simply explode…or should that be implode? Either way, it wouldn’t be a very pretty sight. (Actually, I made that up so please stop worrying. We would neither explode or implode just by being happy all the time).
We do spend a great deal of our time searching for happiness every day of our lives though and, as long as you accept that other emotions are part and parcel of being human, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be as happy as you can be. We have a right to be happy – just not all the time.
So, I’ve decided to do a series of posts based on being happy and to give you all some hints and tips on how to do that based on the discussion that I took part in.
Here is the first post in the series:
If you want to improve your happiness almost immediately – ‘STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF!’
We are all guilty of doing this from time to time and if you say you never feel sorry for yourself I congratulate you and you can stop reading this right now. Everyone else should read on.
We all like to feel that we’re hard done by at times. We like to tell ourselves – and others – how dreadful our lives are; how unfair things are; how everyone else has all the luck; how we had the wrong up-bringing or parents, or lived in the wrong area or haven’t had the same opportunities as others and it’s all about ‘poor me’. ‘Poor me’ statements of run along the lines of “If only…..things would be different” Does any of these sound familiar?
‘If only…my parents had been better off/I had stuck in at school/I had more money/I was thinner/I hadn’t taken that job/I had a better job/ had never got married etc. etc…things would be different’
This is self-pity and, if you want to start feeling happier, these thoughts have to stop. Self-pity grows and grows until it smothers everything else and before you know it, it’s all that’s left.
Maybe you have had a rubbish life. Maybe you haven’t had the same opportunities as other people. Maybe you once had everything you could ever want and somehow you lost it all and it’s understandable that you will feel that life sucks however, feeling sorry for yourself won’t make a blind bit of difference. What’s done is done and you can’t change your past. These negative thoughts will only serve to pull you deeper into the downward spiral of miserableness so don’t do it!
You are however in complete control of what happens from now on. Instead of being a victim, look at ways you can change your life. Don’t accept things just because they’ve ‘aye been‘ (a Borders saying meaning that things can’t change because they’ve always been that way). Be determined. Make others sit up and take notice. Take responsibility for the way you feel and stop blaming your circumstances. Take control of your life. Be the master of your destiny. The minute you stop feeling sorry for yourself your happiness will increase in leaps and bounds so go for it because you owe it to yourself. You have the right to be happy – just not all of the time.
So, have you ever found yourself wallowing in self-pity; blaming circumstances for everything that’s ever gone wrong in your life? If so, have you found a great way to pull yourself out of the downward spiral of feeling sorry for yourself? Do you feel happier now that you’ve done it? If you have I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
In the meantime here is a great quote on self-pity from the great Maya Angelou:
‘Self -pity, in its early stages, is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.’
Image credit: sabphoto / 123RF Stock Photo