Happiness Is An Inside Job – Guest Blog by Michelle Atkin
How many times have you felt stressed in the last week? How often do you feel unhappy or sad or angry or another perceived negative emotion? We often hear people say that to feel better all you need to do is be positive, think positive thoughts or consciously not think negatively. There are whole theories and strategies based upon those theories, each one having a different degree of success.
What would happen if you were to realize that happiness is actually an inside job and that you are born with an innate happiness and wisdom that never leaves you? How would that change your understanding of how you think and feel?
When we feel an emotion we often blame an external factor for that emotion:
• My boss shouted and me and now I’m upset and have been humiliated
• I had a row with my partner and he made me angry
• That driver made me so mad
We all too often attribute the way we feel and therefore act on an external factor, something outside of our control. This happens with not only the negative events and emotions in our life but also our hope of achieving happiness: I’ll be happy when:
• I’m lying on that beach with a good book to read
• I find the perfect partner in life
• I change my job
Is this true? Is our happiness dependent upon something that we ultimately have little or no control over? If we are always waiting upon an event outside of ourselves or for someone else to do something before we can be happy, then we may never achieve the state of happiness. Or at least not for very long.
Our feelings are a result of our thoughts and nothing more. They are not dependent upon another person or a situation. This can be demonstrated by spiders. Some people have a fear of spiders and others will happily handle them and have them as pets. A person with arachnophobia will say “Spiders scare me” or “that spider frightens me”. This is not true. It is that individuals thought of the spider that causes the feeling of fear to arise, not the spider. If it was the spider that caused the feeling of fear, then anyone and everyone who came across the spider would have the same sensation of fear or emotion. It is an individual’s reaction to the thought of the spider that causes the emotion.
So we see that it is thought that gives rise to our emotions. It may be an almost instant reaction between thought and emotion, but there needs to be a thought before emotion. In knowing this, it gives us a sense of freedom and empowerment as we are no longer dependent upon another person or a situation to feel or be happy. Our feelings are purely our own. They are our reaction to our perception of reality and for each of us, this will be a very different experience.
I would like to suggest that happiness is our innate state of being. If we look at babies and young children, they are innately happy and at peace. There are very few babies in therapy, apart from maybe in LA, in reality babies and young children do not need to be taught how to be happy. They are born with happiness as part of their being.
Young children smile on average over 200 times each day. As we get older and into older childhood and adult hood, we begin to allow society, our peers and our parents to shape and ultimately dictate what our feelings should be and how we should react to situations.
In order to get back to our innate sense of wellbeing and happiness, what can we do? The simple answer is nothing. You need not to do anything for something that is already within you. It is just at times you forget to remember that you are OK and that all emotions are as a result of a thought.
With Kind Thanks To Michelle Atkin
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