You May Be The Luckiest Person in the World
Most people know that compared to the world’s population that they are ‘better off’ than most. Still our first world problems and distractions may lead us astray and create illusions of lack. A focus on what’s missing, leads to wanting… pulling one further from the moment and experience of gratitude. Similarly, feelings of loss, regret, anger, shame or grief connected to past events may hold us in a place of emotional suffering. The thoughts we entertain create our lens and the choices we make, affect how we experience and perceive the world around us.
Trauma Vs A Bad Hair Day
All people have experiences that have caused either physical, emotional, psychological distress, or harm and for many, those experiences remain very much alive and active in thought in their day-to-day lives. For those with either an innate hypersensitivity to traumatic events or who have experienced extreme or repeated traumas, entertaining new positive thoughts and shifting to a focus of gratitude may be especially challenging. For those with an inclination toward perfectionism or ruminating thought patterns, the same may also be true when faced with seemingly small challenges or experiences of loss. Individuals who personify these cognitive challenges may be anyone and for those without these challenges, a “bad hair day” may translate into a small sampling of the experience.
Toxic Relationships: Allowing And The Choice
One of the biggest contributors to emotional suffering, an inability to enjoy the present moment and difficulty with entertaining thoughts of gratitude comes from the failure to set boundaries around toxic relationships. Relationships that consistently bring you to a place of worry, emotional angst or fear are clearly signaling you to make change for your own higher good. Choices made around which relationships to maintain, invest in or to set boundaries with, (whether they be with friends, romantic partners or even family) are some of the most important decisions you’ll make.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
— Mahatma Gandhi
Consent (noun) is defined as; permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Aside from events and situations where there is outright force, coercion or manipulation, we make the personal decision whether or not to allow another’s actions to harm us. If you are consistently feeling negative emotion in response to a person or situation, you are making the choice or consenting to perceived mistreatment. So you may say, “but I would never willingly consent to be treated this way”. If you step back, detach emotionally and take an observers stance, you may more clearly see your role in the allowing. What is in your higher good, feels good. Make a commitment today to love yourself enough to consent ONLY to that which brings you positive emotions and aligns you with positive growth, contentment and a lens of gratitude.
The Role Of Suffering: My Bad Hair Day
Several months ago, I became sick with an infection that required antibiotic. It caused a worsening of my symptoms and vomiting. I couldn’t believe it. Why was this happening to me? At one point, after finally catching my breath, I sat on the bathroom floor and let out a little whimper, wondering why I had to suffer. I thought, “I know about suffering I don’t need this test”. But then it occurred to me that I have not known physical suffering or real illness in my entire lifetime. My thoughts drifted to those with chronic pain and illness and those living in poverty. My perspective shifted. I acknowledged the comfort of my pillow and the cool breeze from my window. My little illness would end. My daughter was healthy and happy in the next room. I had clean water, food to eat and family and friends offering loving support. I had all these things and SO much more. Waves of gratitude came over me. I thought to myself I AM the luckiest person in the world.
The Mind Is Its Own Place, And In Itself Can Make A Heaven Of Hell Or Hell Of Heaven.
— John Milton
The thoughts we entertain are always bringing forth our emotional experiences. Entertain positive thoughts and experience positive emotion. Having a quality life does not require that we monitor our thoughts. A much easier approach is to have awareness of our emotional reactions. When you become aware of an uncomfortable or negative emotion:
- Acknowledge it.
- Inhale and exhale.
- Engage in positive self talk.
- Resist judging negative thinking.
- Shift toward encouraging and positive thoughts as much as possible.
- Repeat as necessary.
The mind is its own place and that place is within us… kindly, take steps toward greater mastery of its contents and in time, you will.