For many of us, our goal is to simply be happy and share that contentment and happiness with others. Seems easy enough, right? So how do we get off track so quickly with even the best intentions in mind?
The answer may be more personal than we think. You see, when we get fed up with drama or frustrated with the challenges at hand, it's easy to look to others as well as our circumstances to find the joy killers and drama instigators. The truth is, if we look hard enough there will always be an external factor where we can place the blame. We're only human and odds are we've all been tempted to "pass the buck" at some point in our lives.
If you've ever felt his way, you are certainly not alone. But did you ever stop to consider that you could be the source - that you and you alone may be guilty of self-sabotage in your pursuit of happiness without even realizing it?
Often times, we are the source of our own suffering. Things don't pan out the way we planned and our initial reaction is to panic. This is not how it was supposed to be, after all. And before we know it, our negative, exaggerated thoughts take over and we find ourselves in the midst of a cynical, self-fulfilling prophecy that we've created for ourselves.
So how do we stop this cycle and move forward to find true happiness? By learning to be a lover of reality by ditching the drama and embracing what is. Here's how:
Stop Arguing with Reality
The average person spends two hours a day (gasp!) arguing with reality. We become resistant to what is happening by proclaiming that our realities are not right, not what we hoped for or not how the world should be. We find ourselves thinking things such as "my mother should be less involved in my life" or "my boss should have promoted me instead of him/her". The reality is that parents are interested in your life and business decisions are not always in our favor. It doesn't mean the world is out to get you, it's just the reality of the situation. Yes, you can argue with reality, but this is an argument you will lose 100% of the time. Why waste precious energy fighting reality and causing yourself greater aggravation when you could simply surrender and embrace what's happening? Conserve the energy you are expending on the argument and invest it in making a true difference. Use the extra time each day to enhance and increase your well-being and that of others - to add joy and value in your current reality just the way it is.
Edit Your Story, Focus on the Facts
The truth is, our realities aren't all that painful. But our stories that we make up about them are. In fact, the stories we tell ourselves are often harsher than our circumstances could ever be. For example, what if a family friend or co-worker walked by you at the grocery store and didn't say hello? Your inclination might be to think that they are either 1) rude or 2) angry at you or something you did. You have already framed the situation in a negative light and assigned motive for their actions without focusing on the facts of the situation. Did you consider that they just didn't see you or had something else on their mind? All you know for sure is that they didn't say hello, but you don't know for certain that there is an ulterior motive behind it. So why go there? Instead of focusing on our story, we need to focus on the facts - what we know for sure to be true. Once you are able to do that, you will see your situation through new eyes and your suffering and stress will diminish and a happier you will emerge.
Help, Don't Judge
It is a common reaction to critique and judge others when they are struggling. It is the ego's way of trying to quell our own fears that we could actually be next in line to experience the same situation or decisions. By judging, the ego attempts to reassure - that it can't or won't happen to us. While this reassurance feels good in the moment, it is short lived and often induces anxiety. So stop judging and start helping! Ask what you can do to help and contribute. Judging others or being critical will only hurt your journey to a happier life. Remember, when people need your love the most, they tend to deserve it the least. Be helpful, don't add to the problem with judgments that don't serve you or others.
Would you Rather be Right or Happy?
There is a lot of confusion around one's desire to be right or happy. To be right means that you have a desire for others to see you as correct and approve of your choices and your life. To be happy is to achieve your goals at hand and enjoy the results of your efforts. Resist the urge to operate out of personal motive and do what you can for the greater good.
Remember, suffering is optional. We all have extenuating circumstances when it comes to work, life and family. While these situations may not be changeable, our reaction to them is. Redirect your energy to innovate and help rather than wasting it on drama. Be a lover of reality and inner peace, success and happiness will follow.