Just when I thought I was done growing for awhile, I realized I still am, just in a subtler and more fiercely intense but quiet way. I’ve been thinking about happiness, especially in regards to my relationships with other people. This is kind of rambly but here’s what I think I’ve decided:
Happy people aren’t happy ALL the time.
The thing is, you can’t be. Nobody can be. I think we sort of have gotten into this trap of “positive thinking” where we think that we can be always happy as long as we just “try hard enough.” That sets everybody up for failure and pressure about how you “should” feel. You are ALLOWED to be sad/upset/angry/frustrated/helpless/whatever. My therapist told me a story about a friend who visited Tibet to work in a monastery for awhile. This friend encountered the happiest, most peaceful person he had ever met, an old monk who lived there. When the friend had asked the monk what made him so happy all the time, the monk replied, “I looked deep within me, and discovered my inner pain, and suffering, and fear, and I realized none of it ever mattered in the long run.”
Happy people don’t beat themselves up over sadfeels. Instead, they know truly and deeply that their sadfeels WILL go away and they will be happy again. So their sadfeels don’t bother them nearly as much as they bother the rest of us.
The thing is, when you’re in the thick of it, you can start to feel a sense of hopelessness or despair about your negative feelings, a kind of “I have to solve this or I will NEVER feel better.” But I think truly happy people don’t ever get to that stage. They get sad, they get angry, but in all of that, they know the feelings will pass, so they don’t ever get to the despair stage. I don’t think negative feelings are insidious, but that despair definitely is.
You CAN forgive someone and choose to forget it without allowing people to bully you.
I think we have this fear that if we let things go, we’ll give into bullying behavior and allow ourselves to be a doormat or abused. I think this fear crosses every single demographic line. It’s a human fear, pure and simple, beyond any kind of socialization. We do not want to be hurt, and opening ourselves up to our friends and family opens us up to that hurt. It’s a choice to make ourselves vulnerable when we love people. And deep inside of the fear of being bullied is the fear that the people we love will not love us back in the same way.
The only way you can solve this is by unconditionally loving the people you choose to love, pure and simple.
The question I had struggled with was “how do I forgive without opening myself to hurtful behavior?” The answer is you can’t. You CAN set your boundaries through things like distance. You can understand the behavior when you understand the fear. You can choose to walk away. But you can also choose to forgive. Remember: It feels better for YOU to forgive – it’s not “giving in.”
You can practice ANYTHING to get good at it.
Seriously. Letting go, loving, being happy, anything. Nobody’s bad enough at these things that they can never learn to do it.
All the “rationalization” and “logic” in the world doesn’t change your feelings sometimes.
And that’s okay. Sometimes you just gotta separate your brain from your feelings. But it’s important to realize that because trying to “figure out your feelings” can make things a LOT worse. Stop rationalizing it and let yourself feel it.