Why is it that we spend so much time looking for what is wrong when there are so many things that are right and good in life?
Our attention is often fixed so hard on trying to fix things that are upsetting us while our good fortune is left overshadowed.
It may be because it is so easy to be happy, feel the feelings that we like and remember the good times while difficult memories and unpleasant feelings are unwanted so we spend heaps of energy trying to rid ourselves of them. The theory is to focus on the ‘bad’ stuff, get rid of it and then we can all be happy again.
It is so ironic that the more time we spend trying to avoid and rid ourselves of difficult thoughts and emotions the bigger they grow. The more effort we put into trying to rid ourselves of unpleasant memories and emotions the more powerful they become. How annoying is that?
Think about everything you do to avoid emotional discomfort. Maybe you smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, do lots of coffee, sleep a little more than you really need to, snack when your not hungry, watch TV rather than do something fun, say no to that invitation when deep down you know you haven’t been out and had fun for ages.
The answer is to accept that life is full of emotions and memories. Some memories and emotions are awful and others are fantastic and wonderful. Fixating on one difficult memory or emotion can close you off to experiencing others. The remedy is to say “you know, this is how I feel right now, I don’t like it but it will pass and in the mean time I will get on with living”.
If you feel stuck, do something positive. Think about something you are grateful for. Acknowledge a strength that you have. Do something that you like doing or that you think is fun. Maybe it wont feel so great at first but persevere. It is better than spending all that energy on avoiding unpleasantness. One day you’ll look back with pride and say “I got through that hard bit, cool”.
- Something to fix or something to face? (therapymonkey.wordpress.com)
- Phillippe Golden on Emotions (thesituationist.wordpress.com)
- What do you want? (therapymonkey.wordpress.com)
- Would You Take A Pill to Forget Bad Memories? (bigthink.com)
- Anger Control: Keeping Anger in Its Place (everydayhealth.com)
- Are Positive Emotions Good for Your Health in Old Age? (tricitypsychology.com)
- Your Happiness Project: Have More Fun. (happiness-project.com)