“I am afraid of being wrong, of making a mistake.” “I feel judged so often.” “I am angry that I always get hurt.” “Why does this happen to me?” Statements that keep us stuck, that allow us to repeat patterns.
How often do we think these things? How often do we say them, to ourselves? These thoughts cause us to stay still, to take the safe path, the one we always have taken. And by taking the same path, we don’t grow, we don’t experience all there is and we stay, very often, stuck in old patterns. That pattern reinforces the statements of unworthiness, of judgement and of shame. We believe we will be wrong and make a mistake. We believe the judgments that we hear in our head and assume others are making. We believe that we are the victim. We believe the anger. We believe the frustration. We believe this is how we are and it’s too hard to change.
We don’t believe the people who tell us otherwise, of course we know better. We don’t believe we are good enough. We don’t believe we are smart enough. We don’t believe we are enough. And so we continue to play it safe, don’t make the changes that would create the life we really want, we think we deserve the life we have, the good and the bad. We aren’t really happy, we aren’t really unhappy. We just are. And we believe that happiness is really an illusion, that Heaven is when real happiness occurs. Then we hear all of the pundits tell us that happiness is an inside job and we laugh. “Sure it is,” we think, our belief is that all these people/circumstances/events in our lives created this less than blissful state, right?
Happiness is an inside job. The events and circumstances around us don’t have to have that negative effect on our happiness for good. Yes of course, there are moments in our life that those events dictate periods of sadness, anger, confusion, grief. But those feelings shouldn’t become all encompassing, not allowing for our true happy wonderful selves to come back. Those should be temporary. They are momentary dips into feelings brought on by an event.
We actually have to choose to be happy. The first step to move to happiness is to choose that state of being. Once we make that choice, everything we do should be aligned with choosing happiness. In order to align with that we have to take many steps, in some cases we may need a therapist to help us understand and release the patterns. For many, the best way to change these patterns is to understand them, and then create new thoughts, that equate to new feelings and thus create a different action for us to take than the old pattern of behavior. That new action will lead to a different result. The best place to start are those negative thoughts, or negative self-talk.
Gabrielle Bernstein teaches a simple yet not so simple technique of “choose again.” If the thought is one that is an old pattern, a thought that doesn’t lead you to happiness, in the moment, choose a different thought. The next best thought, not one that is the opposite, as you and your mind won’t believe that thought. Just choose the next best thought. Go from “I’m not good enough,” to “I’m better than this thought.” Then the next time choose again, increasing the positiveness of the thought until you get to where you are aligned with you goal, with choosing happy.
Let’s all try this technique this week on our patterns, on our negative thoughts and get just a bit closer to happy. I, for one, choose happiness.