“I understand life has waves of positivity and negativity, in fact, it is probably unhealthy to only experience happiness. So how can we cultivate a happier life? More-so, everything to be happy is here. How can we learn to appreciate smaller things such as being on the bus or waiting line for a fast food place or being in a situation where nothing goes your way. To sum it up: How can you be happy at any time.” – Zenmaster6
Seems to me like you’re not clear with where happiness actually comes from…and what its absence really means. Let’s straighten that out right away:
Happiness is what you feel when you’ve picked up a lot of momentum around being focused on what you like.
Meaning that if you’re in a situation where you haven’t already been focused on what you like for a long time, then, AT FIRST, you’re not going to experience happiness. At first, you might be starting at anywhere from as high as boredom or frustration or as low as disgust or rage.
At those points, your job is not to get yourself to happy. Your job is to just feel one level better. And I don’t mean ‘calmer‘ by the way. I used to hinder a lot of my own progress because I used to think that appearing calm on the surface is better than expressing the upsetness I felt inside. It’s not.
Emotions are not a fake it ’till you make it sort of game.
Emotions are a game of rewiring your brain– one moment at a time– so that your wiring is more optimized for being constructive an3d appreciative rather being optimized for being destructive and ungrateful.
What’s key is that WHEREVER you find yourself— be it on the bus, or waiting in line at a fast food store—you need to feel yourself however it is your feeling. Even if it’s a subtle feeling. Like, slight boredom. Or slightly intrigued for what’s coming. You need to feel out however you’re feeling because that feeling is going to be your starting ground.
AFTER THAT, I recommend you ask yourself one of these two questions:
- What do I like about now?
- What can I do to like now a little more?
Question #1 gets you focused on what’s present that you already like. Question #2 gets you to actually do something that’ll make what’s present more likable for you. Both are necessary for a great life.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that there IS value in feeling bad.
Feeling bad lets you know that you’re focused in a way that you don’t like, and it’s there to signal you to change course. It’s NOT there for you to put up with it, as I used to have the HABIT of doing so. It’s there for you to take it seriously, listen to it, and constructively work with it. If you don’t dismiss them and instead, actually investigate them with a kind of genuine curiosity, your darkest emotions will lead you to your brightest discoveries.
Buckminster Fuller, the brilliant thinker who coined the word ‘synergy‘ and invented the geodesic dome, almost took his own life so his wife could cash in on the life insurance. He was in his early 30s and had just become a dad, and no matter how hard he tried, he could not provide for his family— a situation I am personally deeply familiar with. In his feeling of being complete and utter failure in life, he was about to kill himself when he had a life-changing idea that led to him not only providing for his family but also allowed him and his family to thrive. And this all WHILE he was getting to do what he was most naturally pulled to do from the inside out. You can read about that truly life-changing idea in the well-written article here.
The reason why I share his story here is that no one ever thinks that exploring your suicidal thoughts and feelings will lead you to a life-transformative idea, but that’s exactly where those life transformative ideas like to hide. But you’ll only ever discover the gold at the end of those caves by going into your own feelings with a non-judgemental attitude that is genuinely curious and just wants good things for people. When you go in with that attitude, in your darkest emotions, you’ll truly find treasure.