As I was sitting here this Sunday morning glancing out my kitchen window, I couldn’t help but notice the two hummingbirds dancing around in perfect rhythm. As they both dipped their pointed noses into the red liquid bird feed, their place this morning couldn’t have come at a more ideal time. I needed that. Just to sit and observe for a moment, soaking in my surroundings and what nature was giving me and I enjoyed every moment of it.
You see, I think so many of us think that in order to be happy we have to have all these things. These things that fill up space in our house, space in our minds and space in our everyday lives. We feel the need to stay so busy or else. Or else what? We might ask. Or else we feel like a bit of a failure don’t we? This is what society has taught us: to be busy and engage in the hustle and bustle in order to feel a sense of productivity and accomplishment.
We see it all the time, traffic jams, people cussing up a storm, showing the middle finger to the world and becoming increasely agitated at the nonsense. Our stress levels are expanding at a rapid pace, our tolerance levels have literally gone out the window and we’re suffering. We often find ourselves searching, whether we know it or not, for a deeper meaning, a life’s purpose and a greater understanding of where we fit on this thing called Earth.
I think happiness is not something that’s given to us, don’t you agree? Here’s the thing, our brains are more prone to search for unhappiness and their main purpose is to keep us alive and in a constant state of survival. That’s all the brain cares about. How do we survive, not how can I become happy. So we begin the arduous trek searching for things to fill our brains and create the reward benefits of such. Food, sex, drugs, sunshine, fat, carbs, sugar, needles, alcohol, excessive shopping and the list goes on. We need it and our brains want it. No wonder why we all suffer, it’s human nature to feel and long for these things.
There’s also the course of least resistance, staying status quo and going along with the current without looking back. This is what most of us do, kinda coast through life, not really doing much, enjoying what is and being perfectly content with average. This is by no means a judgement, please note that’s not the point of this writing. Some of us are completely content with this way of life because it’s safe, secure and keeps us out of danger’s way (so our brains think.)
But-what if, just what if we tried to dip our foot in that water, even if we’ve never swam in our life, just to see what it felt like. Sure, it might feel cold, it might feel warm or it might be uncomfortable but then we realize it wasn’t so bad right? That fear of dipping our toe in just for that brief moment proved to us it wasn’t this horrible event or some act that created a major sense of fear. Of course it did prior to the dip. We contemplated, felt unsure, uncertain and scared. What if I fall into that water? What if that water wasn’t the temperature I thought it was going to be? Of course those thoughts and fears are 100% justified because they’re our thoughts, our feelings and our perceptions of the events about to take place.
How can we thicken our desire to be open to a few more of those little scary moments? Well, it takes doing it again, trying something, just to see and doing the opposite of what we currently know. Going back to the happiness piece. Say we don’t want to be happy, what if we told ourselves, I am going to be happy and I’m going to live as if. As if I’m happy. I’m not going to sleep, rather I’m going to get outside in the sunshine. I’m not going to moan about how horrible my life is, rather I’m going to act as if I am feeling great. Sometimes we just have to push ourselves past that threshold of uncomfortable to fully feel those moments of joy and happiness. Without the feelings of fear, loneliness and judgement, we can never fully experience the elation, joy and happiness in life. We can’t only have happy feelings, we have to have sad feelings too. Our brains don’t get to pick and choose which ones we want, sorry it doesn’t work that way.
So, if we want to be happy, we first have to acknowledge our brains often want the other and know it takes work. Second, we need to be open and receptive to new challenges and fears to fully reap the benefits of positive change and happiness within us. Third, we have to act as if. Sometimes we need a game face, just for a brief moment to get us out of our heads. Remembering it’s okay to feel sad and lonely and it’s a choice to not allow ourselves to simmer in it for long periods of time. True happiness is earned, never given.
How are you going to choose?
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