The State of Happiness

A huge part of my job as a therapist is to help people learn that emotional states which are out of proportion in intensity or duration of time to the actual in-the-moment circumstances are what are called emotional memory from experiences that happened in the past.

 It’s rarely prudent or wise to behave/react based on emotional memory.  In a later post I’ll explain more of what I mean.

 In the meantime, Laurie Fessler puts what I struggle to teach in a simple, direct and wise way.  Here’s her post:

The Absence Of Happiness
By hibernationnow

http://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/

I used to think you were either happy or sad but I’ve discovered a secret. The absence of happiness does not necessarily mean sadness. There are many things in between this range of emotions. Contentment is one of them, so is acceptance; not swinging too high for expectations or too low for disappointment like trapeze artists in the circus. Life, if you choose it, can be one continuous ride, gently swaying back and forth, back and forth as if you were sitting on an old, white porch swing. Things can change around you but they do not necessarily need to change you within.

It doesn’t mean you have to live without emotions nor does it mean you have to feel overly anxious, happy, too sad or very depressed. It means accepting what comes your way and not fighting like a roaring, clawing tiger but also, NOT laying limply against a rock, waiting to die.

It’s a state of mind that is hard to describe but delicious to live through. I sat on a chair in a lobby yesterday and learned a great deal from an older gentlemen that I did not know. It’s listening more than talking. It’s not overreacting like every nerve ending is set on fire. This man talked in hushed whispers all about his experiences as a young man. He spoke to my dog like he was Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer, noting her behavior, her adoration, her anxiety, her love.

Try and stay in the shadows of your emotions, step back in your mind, reach for the neutral button or better yet, the pause button. Reach out to others with kindness, honesty and inspiration. You will find what you are looking for more from leaning back to listen than leaning forward to interject. Kindness is here, believe in it. Lessons can be learned from everyone and every thing. Wait for it, with patience, it will come.

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