Why Do We Sabotage Our Happiness?
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! Now, how many are clapping?
Happiness was considered to be so important, that the pursuit of it was listed as one of only three “unalienable rights” in the Declaration of Independence, right behind Life and Liberty. Yet how many of us really feel happy? How many of us have built our lives around creating happiness? How many of us actively pursue happiness? We pursue money and what it will buy, but we all learn sooner or later that money doesn’t buy happiness!
Too often, we keep ourselves so busy with “important” things, that we do not have any time left for happiness—if we even know what makes us happy. At the end of the day, we collapse in front of the television and choose from a wide variety of TV shows that inundate us with violence and fear. We can surround ourselves with everything that terrifies us, every night, in our own homes! We can watch vampires, werewolves, and mutants terrorizing the countryside, or ordinary people interacting in violent, abusive, and deceptive ways, in all kinds of exotic time periods and locations. The “reality” TV shows often glorify the worst of human nature, and broadcast sports seem to induce fan violence. We do love our drama and violence, don’t we?!
The drama carries over into our daily lives, with our family members, friends, and co-workers, perhaps taking our cue from the TV characters we spend so much time with. And if that isn’t enough drama for us, all we have to do is watch the nightly news, which has more than enough violence and drama for anyone!
Why do we let drama interfere with our happiness? Why do we seem to prefer it? Why do we give our happiness away? Do we believe that it isn't important? Do we feel guilty when we feel happy, because others aren’t? Do we fear that if we are happy, it will be taken away? Do we feel we don’t deserve to be happy? There can be as many reasons as there are people.
What is your relationship to happiness? Do you pursue happiness or sabotage it? Think about whether you indulge in any of these happiness-busters:
Unrealistic Expectations—Often our expectations of people and circumstances are unrealistic. When people don’t act the way we want and expect them to, when they don’t step up to the plate when we feel we need them to, or when they show us that they have clay feet—and when circumstances don’t turn out the way we want—we get upset. But it isn’t really the people or the circumstances that disrupted our happiness, it’s our unrealistic expectations of them. People do the best they can, with the resources they have, but sometimes that doesn’t match up to our expectations. We can really only expect people to act the way they act, even if we don’t understand their reasons, and they have that right. It helps a lot to realize (and trust) that circumstances generally turn out the way they should—for the best—even if it’s not what we wanted, or if we can’t see that right away.
Attachments—When we become attached to people, possessions, and situations to the extent that we feel that our very happiness depends on them, we set ourselves up for disappointment and unhappiness. Things happen. Life happens. And as much as we hate to admit it, we really have no control. The more we can go with the flow—trust and allow the flow—the happier we will be. The only constant is change. The more we fight it, the harder it is!
Overthinking often does us in, burying or destroying whatever happiness we have. Something good happens or comes to us, and then we overthink it into the ground. Maybe it came “too easily”? Maybe we got exactly what we wanted, and that’s so unusual that we just can’t leave it alone? If we made a choice, we start to wonder if we made the right one. Doubt raises its ugly head and we become suspicious or we second-guess ourselves, and suddenly, the happiness that came to us is gone.
Perfectionism and Self-Criticism—Perfectionism pushes us into a black hole of self-loathing and perpetually feeling “less than” and "never enough." It sets us up to fail, because it creates standards that are impossible to reach. We judge our acceptability, our lovability, and our worth against our ability to reach those impossible standards, and we fail over and over. Advertising and television provide the impossible standards by which we judge ourselves, and they are designed to do exactly that: They keep us in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction with what we look like, what we do, and what we have, so we will keep buying the products they say will make us (finally) perfect and happy. And when those don’t work, and our teeth aren't white enough, our house isn't clean enough, and we don't have the latest expensive toys, there are always more products to buy…
Judging and Complaining—Some of us can find fault in just about everything, and seem to enjoy it. But is that happiness? How can we be happy, when nothing around us is ever “good enough”? When we focus on the good in everything, we attract more “good.” When we focus only on the bad, or what is lacking, we not only attract more of that, we set up a magnetic attraction vortex around ourselves to such an extent that we cannot attract, see, or experience anything else. Happiness? Thrown under the bus!
Worry, Worry, Worry—When life is going well and we have nothing to worry about, why do we worry about it? We find ourselves happy, so we wait for disaster to strike, because we are sure that it will! We torture ourselves playing “What if…?” and imagining the worst that can happen, so we’ll be “ready” for it. We can really go to town with this one: We can turn a mild headache into an imagined brain tumor and a delayed phone call into an imagined fatal car accident. Worry makes us feel like we are “doing something” to forestall what we fear, when all we are doing is attracting just that and destroying our peace of mind.
Remember Y2K? Remember how the world was going to end December 21, 2012? People tied themselves up in knots over those, and everything worked out—no world-wide computer crashes, no meteors falling, no Armageddon. When we get ourselves worked up and terrorized over things that probably won’t happen to us, our happiness goes down the drain. (And it doesn’t make us any more ready for difficult things that actually do happen!)
Living in the Future—Worrying is living in the future, fearing that something bad will happen to us or to someone or something we hold dear. But many of us also postpone our happiness, waiting to be happy until something happens… until we graduate, until we get a better job, until we lose weight, until we find our soul mate, until we can buy the perfect house, until we retire, and on, and on. We can spend an entire lifetime postponing our happiness, and why? Do we believe happiness must be earned through accomplishment? Or do we believe we simply cannot be happy until we have those things? Why would we think that?
Living in the Past—We can refuse to let happiness in, if we are yearning for "what might have been," or if we are holding on to grief, loss, old hurts, and old grudges. Many of us have been so hurt that we simply shut down and refuse to risk being happy again, because we are afraid it will be taken away, and we won’t be able to bear it. We can be so engulfed in anger, frustration, resentment, and regret that we simply cannot risk letting love and happiness in. We cannot accept happiness if we are busy defining ourselves by what happened to us in the past, or defining all other people by those who hurt us in the past. This is why forgiveness is so important—not to let the other person “off the hook,” but to let ourselves accept what happened, leave it in the past, and move on to live a joyous life. Forgiving ourselves is even more important.
Living for Others—Many of us give (throw) ourselves away: We believe that we are not important, and throw ourselves under the bus. We forget about our own needs and dreams (or ignore them) as we try to fill the needs and dreams of others; we focus on pleasing others, rather than pleasing ourselves; we twist ourselves into pretzels trying to be who others want us to be, rather than being who we really are; and we fail to set boundaries and, therefore, let others walk all over us, because we can’t say “no.” Giving ourselves away always results in anger and resentment (and, ultimately, the diseases that stem from those trapped emotions). How can we be happy if we don’t know, love, value, and respect ourselves? If we think—or treat ourselves as if— we don’t count, others will treat us the same way, and our happiness won’t be important, either, because everyone else’s happiness will come first.
Taking on the Hurt of the World—With the 24/7 news cycle and social media, it is almost impossible to avoid reports of all of the war, violence, hate, cruelty, starvation, and every other nasty thing going on in the world. We have instant access to all the tragedies, disasters, horrors, and pain in the world, without access to all the kindness and good to provide a sense of balance. This, in itself, can make our happiness seem selfish and fleeting. It is easy to mentally and emotionally take on the burdens of the world, to worry and fret about the injustices and abuses, even though there is nothing we can do about them. Those with very sensitive hearts can be crushed by what they see: children and animals abused, the horrors of war, the devastation of natural disasters, and more. They can feel the pain of people who are suffering around the world and can get lost in it, rather than enjoying the happiness they have created in front of them.
We cannot stop all the cruelty, violence, and abuse in the world. We cannot feed all the hungry or heal all the sick. None of us can heal the world, and that really is not our job. We all know it can be a hard, cruel world, and yet, if we look in other directions, we also can see great progress, amazing acts of kindness, and great demonstrations of love. Remember the old joke where the guy tells the doctor "It really hurts to move my arm this way," and the doctor says, "then don't move it that way!" We must choose where we focus our attention and how we engage our emotions.
The "curse" of sensitivity is also the "gift," when we can turn it around and use that sensitivity for good. We pick up on things faster than others do, so we can raise the alarm sooner. We can heal ourselves and empower ourselves to act in situations where we can make a difference for ourselves and others, in our own families, neighborhoods, and communities. And we can pray and send love to situations—and those in them—where we can’t have a direct impact.
Allowing ourselves to rise above the clamor of suffering and be happy—and spreading happiness and love—helps raise the vibration of the planet. Love is the most powerful force in the Universe, and when we consciously send it out, it is powerful, indeed, whether we can see it or not.
The famous Irish prayer is well remembered as we read the daily headlines and watch the evening news:
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can;
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
So… how did we all get so side-tracked from the pursuit of happiness? Why do we accept the absence of happiness as “normal”? Is this a nasty left-over from Puritanism or a product of our current culture? Regardless of where it comes from, what can we do about it?
We need to pursue and claim our happiness! We need to make it a priority! (YIKES! Did I just hear the word “selfish” flashing into minds around the world?? Stop that, right now!) Happiness is not a selfish luxury, it is our birthright. We simply have forgotten that, en masse!
We are here on earth to experience love and joy, yet there is this horribly pervasive idea that when we pursue our own happiness and joy, we are neglecting others and being selfish. That is simply not true! The happier we are, the happier the people around us can be. When we walk in happiness, we model happiness for others; we show them what it looks like and how it’s done. Happiness is like a good virus: It is contagious; it spreads on contact. Fear, criticism, and dissatisfaction are contagious, too. We just need to choose what we want to experience, and what we want to spread around.
Most of us live in the pain and regret of the past, or in worry and fear about the future, forgetting that the only moment that really exists is NOW. We chase the money so frantically, often subjecting ourselves to abuse in the process, and become so stressed out, exhausted, and distracted that we have no time or energy left to derive happiness and pleasure from what the money can buy. We judge ourselves and others harshly, we distrust ourselves and the Universe, and we try so desperately to control our lives and avoid pain that there is simply no room for happiness.
Many of us were raised by parents who didn’t know how to be happy, so they could not teach us how to be happy, and we cannot teach our children how to be happy. Funny how most of us know about seriousness, duty, sacrifice, and working hard, but we don’t know much about happiness! We rely on other people and outer circumstances to make us happy and, when they fail, we move on to other people and other circumstances… in an endless cycle of looking outside of ourselves for something that can only come from inside.
Happiness is an inside job! It ONLY comes from inside us, and it IS a choice! We can choose to be happy with ourselves, rather than yearning to be like someone else. We can choose to be happy with what we have, rather than yearning for what we don’t have. We can choose to focus on what’s good in our lives, rather than what we don’t like or what we fear. We can choose to be happy now, rather than waiting for something else, that may or may not happen.
Everything we need to bring out our happiness is provided for us, free of charge. We simply have to pause in our frantic search and notice it. Happiness usually comes from the simple things: the warmth of the sun on our face, the beauty of nature, a smile, the love of a friend or a special someone, the trust of a child or an animal, the companionship of kindred spirits, or the feeling of accomplishment when we master a new skill.
“The pursuit of happiness” seems to me to be a misnomer. Happiness isn’t hiding or running away from us. It is always there, inside us, waiting for us to stop running long enough to notice it and invite it out to play.
~ Bobby McFerrin
All content © 2014, E.B. Dye
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
By now, everyone knows that Robin Williams died earlier this week, from suicide. The whole world mourns the loss of a man who touched our hearts, made us laugh, made us cry, and made us think, from the first time we saw him as the magical, volcanic comedian; as the often-astonished and confused alien from Ork; or in any of his many movies. He brought a depth and authenticity to his roles— especially the roles of the crazies, the desperate, and the despairing—as if he really understood from whence those characters came.
And there’s the rub! He probably did; not because he had personally experienced everything his characters did, but because he was sensitive enough, empathic enough, to feel how they feel. This was a man who dedicated himself, unsung and behind the scenes, to helping the homeless.
In all the outpourings about Robin Williams over the last week, there were many articles and comments about his suicide being selfish, about his having "no reason" for such an action, whether or not depression is an illness or a disease, and the many ways to “snap out of it.”
No one who has ever actually experienced deep, debilitating depression would ever make any of those comments, because they understand. I was disappointed with the tone of the commentary, until I found one article that really picked up on what I had been thinking.
As someone who suffered severe bouts of depression for years after my NDE, I know what it's like to be completely overwhelmed with despair and hopelessness in the face of a world gone mad—taken over by greedy, violent, abusive, cruel, lunatics who seem to be callously willing to destroy everything and everyone. If that despair and bone-numbing sadness is considered to be "mental illness"—and the unchecked compassionless greed, violence, cruelty, and abuse that is rampant in the world is considered "normal"— then there really is no hope!
The creative ones, the artists, the intuitive ones, and the sensitive and empathic ones feel the pain of the world so acutely, while others seem to be oblivious. As one friend put it, it is like "being a bleeder in a world of sharp edges." Is it any wonder that it becomes completely unbearable for some? I have to question where, exactly, the "mental illness" lies?!
Debating whether Robin Williams had a mental illness or how he should have "snapped out of it" totally misses the real point that needs to be discussed. Maybe we can get that point out into the open and into the national and world-wide dialog—Why do most people seem to view the horrors that exist in the world today, and the people who perpetrate them, as "normal"?? And what can those of us who recognize where the real "mental illness" lies, do about it?
It seems to me that those of us who are creative, sensitive, and empathic in this harsh world are here, not just to feel the pain and suffering of a world gone mad, but to raise awareness that it is, in fact, madness to continue the way we have been going. Perhaps we came here with the purpose of pointing out that this particular emperor—the emperor of greed, war, hate, fear, and oppression—is one without clothes, and to expose this madness for what it is? And perhaps Robin Williams gave us an opening to start a much-needed public conversation about that.
First, of course, the sensitive ones must find a way to live in this world, as it is, and find a way of having joy and being grounded while navigating the energetic waves of pain. We must learn to find and focus on the goodness in the world, to envision the world as it could be and share that vision with others.
A fond farewell to you Robin! I feel a touch of envy, knowing that you are Home now, embraced in a Love we cannot comprehend here in the world as we know it. Our world has lost some of its sparkle with your passing, but you served as a bright beacon while you were here, and you left a luminous legacy, both in your living and in your leaving! And we are grateful!
|And Now a Break from Energy Surges|
|It seems that people have been experiencing some extremes in the last couple of weeks: emotional flare-ups and aggravation; a sudden increase in activities and issues; or feeling stuck and unable to move on anything. We’ve been under the influence of some strong energy, so just try to be gentle with yourself, no matter how you feel or what happens.|
We went through the August 8 (8:8) Lion’s Gate, a huge energy portal said to be Mother Earth’s birthday. Whether we could feel the influx of energy or not, we all had to integrate it, which can show up as fatigue, sleeplessness, indigestion, nausea, headaches, and flakiness.
The SuperMoon on August 10 brought a lot of emotional energy up (and storms), and the day before the SuperMoon we had the culmination of what astrologer Richard Nolle calls the Mars Max cycle that started in December. That’s similar to a SuperMoon, where Mars has been closer to the earth than usual, emphasizing all the Mars issues, such as violence, conflict, recklessness, belligerence, etc. Think of the increases in violence since December, and especially at the beginning of the month! We’ll get one more parting shot as Mars squares Saturn on the 25th, and then things should calm down a bit.
The Venus-Jupiter conjunction on the 18th can usher in some fun, so take advantage of it and go out and play!
|Check out these offerings from the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS):|
AUGUST 28-SEPTEMBER 31—Annual Conference in Newport Beach, CA. "Hope. Healing. Life Transformations." Live streaming and video are also available.
MONDAY MORNINGS 11-11:30 am EDT(ongoing)—The IANDS NDE Radio Show, with host Lee Witting. Listen online to interviews with researchers and those who have had Near-Death Experiences (NDEs).
On May 12, 2014, I was interviewed about my NDE on the Show. Use the link on my website or listen to the archived show on their website.
Listen to recordings of other shows where I've been the guest or host, talking about my NDE, on my website!
Find out if there's an IANDS group near you! Local groups offer discussions about NDEs and support to those who have had one. Check it out on the IANDS website.
|Here's what you'll find on my website, www.LionMagic.com:|
2015 CALENDARS will be available in September! Enjoy images of Alaska, Bermuda, Grand Canyon and Sedona, Jamaica, Ireland and France.
Information about my Intuitive Coaching and Reconnective Healing services, and Young Living Essential Oils.
My metaphysical fantasy novel, The Search for the Crystal Key, an adventure for all ages about believing in yourself and the power of love, based on information I received during my NDE.
Downloadable mp3s of my Journey Through the Tunnel presentation and guided meditation to go through the Tunnel of Light and feel the unconditional Love of Home.
The complete list of "What I Learned from Dying," and my articles in The Sedona Journal of Emergence.
Free Videos and Recordings of presentations and radio interviews, with discussions about my NDE and the Shift.
|I am an Intuitive Coach, Public Speaker, Author, Reconnective Healing® practitioner, and a Practical Mystic. A Near-Death Experience (NDE) in 1985 expanded my psychic abilities and created a link with some very loving—and humorous— Guardians of humanity and the ancient wisdom, who gave me a huge amount of information about life and the evolution of mankind.|
I bring this knowledge and connection to my clients and audiences, along with over 30 years’ accumulated wisdom and understanding of metaphysics, life on earth, and Who We Really Are.
I am the author of the metaphysical fantasy novel, The Search for the Crystal Key—an adventure about believing in yourself and the power of Love; and I am writing a new book, Creating Heaven on Earth... One Soul at a Time; A How-To Manual from the Perspective of a Near-Death Experience.
Find out more: LionMagic.com.