Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Gift Box of Happiness

Happiness doesn’t come in a gift box guaranteeing you a lifetime warranty full of bliss. I know this, because I suffer from bouts of depression from time to time and more often than not. I guess with age, I’m realizing that happiness starts with “you”. I’ve noticed that if I view the world (or my world) in a positive way, my attitude becomes just that. It’s easier said than done. I’m trying. I used to focus so hard on the ‘extreme-type’ of happiness, like finding the perfect higher paying job, owning a big house or obtaining the perfect relationship, but instead of focusing in on the monetary and uncontrolled types of things, I've tried just being content with “me”.  For me, it wasn’t about controlling or stifling your emotions, it was more about seeing things for what they are. It was looking beyond the happiness that “may” come out of all of these things and looking outside admiring the foliage on a crisp cool fall day, or enjoying a hot mocha latte from your favorite cafe.   Surely, that’s not going to get you a house or the perfect spouse, but it does relieve the pressures of worrying too much about the future and too much of what we don’t have.

We still worry about the past.

Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t look back and dwell a bit on the things gone wrong in the past? It’s human. It’s almost like a sense of self-torture: we dwell until it’s almost back into the present time again. This is why many people refer to it as, “taking a step back”. We brought the past right into current times, making our emotions feel the same way it once did when it happened way back when. In my opinion, and only in my opinion - I believe that the human body and mind practically enjoys feeling both extreme emotions. Think about it: why do so many of us like listening to sad songs when we are mourning over a past love? It’s the intensifying of our emotions or, purging for some. To embrace the sadness when it comes is good, but to welcome it for life is another thing. I almost did that, and it nearly killed me each day that I let it. We give the pain of the past permission to linger subconsciously. Sometimes, when we still long for someone of our past, that statement can be quite different: sometimes we need to let go in order to see what’s ahead of us. It’s like holding onto a 5 ft rope that’s tied to a dock and trying to move forward 10 feet. Cut the rope.

Whenever the past comes to haunt me, I’m trying to remember all of the good aspects of what had transpired, and view the things I choose to. I want to remember the fun times, the laughter and most of all, the good in every person I have came across who has hurt me. Whether they have hurt me intentionally or not, ---this does not matter. There’s always a reason to everybody’s madness. I remember someone once saying to me, “Does it really matter”, as I kept asking, "why why why..."  I remember the frustration because I wasn’t receiving an answer to something that really...didn’t matter anymore. I see it clearly now, as hindsight is 20/20, but back then, I wanted answers. I wanted detailed answers of why this happened and why that had to take place. Sometimes, when you’re in that type of predicament, you have to ask yourself: “Will this matter a year from now? Two years from now?”  And at times, we tend to focus on the "hopeful" outcomes. 

It would be nice to receive a gift box full of happiness to ensure our well-being for the rest of our time here on earth, but it’s highly unlikely. We can try to simulate it by distracting our negative thoughts by surrounding ourselves with family and friends, laughing more and seeing how beautiful life really is. I remember someone telling me, “Squish the ANTS!” (Automatic Negative Thoughts). My mind goes through this especially when I’m plagued with an anxiety attack. Negative thoughts can be so detrimental to someone who is trying to heal, which is why some people mourn longer than others. I’m one of them. I’m learning that every single day of my life is not guaranteed, just like my gift box full of happiness with a lifetime warranty.