We all fall into the vortex of negativity sometimes – we forget that we have exactly what we need. We begin to dwell on what lacks (instead of our own abundance) and lose sight of the fact that we’re right where we’re supposed to be, where our feet are, in the moment.
We all just want to be happy.
This desire for happiness seems to be most heavily weighted toward our children. Indeed, I have said many times, “the only thing I ever want for my kids is for them just to be happy.” And conversely, the opposite of this happiness goal is often the reason we sever relationships: “I’m just not happy anymore.” Or “My job brings me no happiness.” As divorce rates rise and workplace burnout abounds, this truly begs the question – is anybody really happy? And what does it mean to be happy? Should we be expanding our vocabulary around just this thing called happiness?
In fact, we want to know about this happy thing so badly that the scientific study of happiness has exploded over the past three decades. One of my favorites in this happiness space of experts is researcher Shawn Achor who says there is a “happiness advantage” to those who see the world from a positive perspective. He calls it the competitive edge experienced by those who are happy and optimistic.
Achor asserts that those of us who are happy simply do better. I love his words, “The most successful people, the ones with a competitive edge, don’t look to happiness as some distant reward for the achievements, nor grind through their days on neutral or negative; they are the ones who capitalize on the positive and reap the rewards at every turn.”
Feel It All
It seems that this “mind shift” makes the most sense – start thinking about all the things that can go right, instead of all the things that can go wrong. That said, I’m always so interested in the process that underlies this and the nagging belief that I know, regardless of how much time you get to spend in the positive space, the other side of emotion can be just as important. We know that it’s not necessarily just about being happy that makes us most fulfilled.
Maybe it’s more about feeling all the emotions and seeing them in others, too. There is so much to this process of emotion that we stay numb to our whole lives. Often, we have learned to simply bury them deep. The cacophony of emotions stays underneath, however, and tends to spill over eventually.
Just a gentle reminder, friends. Give yourself the gift of permission to feel the things you’re avoiding. Because one thing I know is true: your emotions won’t kill you, but not talking about them might.