The biggest problem most unhappy people have is that they are constantly reliving the bad stuff that happened in the past. They remember the nasty things their mother said to them. They remember the teasing on the playground. They remember every broken heart, every lie, every cry and shouting match. Our brains remember this stuff because it’s got a lot of emotion behind it. When we have deep emotion in our memory then it sticks more than memories with little emotion.
There are 3 happiness robbers that keep us stuck in the past and don’t allow us to move forward:
Complaining – is contracting, it’s saying, “Hey Universe, I want to attract more of this negative stuff in my life.” If you put all of your energy into complaining about the things you don’t want, there’s no energy left for the things you do want. You can call it “feeling sorry for yourself”, “being a martyr”, “over-giving” or whatever you want to call it. Your basically acting in a way that draws sympathy or empathy from other people. Again, there’s a difference between pointing out to the waiter in the restaurant that your order isn’t correct and bitching to everyone at the table about “how service is so terrible these days” and “why do you even bother going out” and “this place always does this to me…” Do you see the difference? One is just you being assertive in a friendly manner. The other is you being contracted and stuck in the past.
Blaming – is when you are looking to the outside world for the reasons why your life and your happiness level isn’t where you want it to be. It’s because of the economy, it’s because of the school or because of work, it’s because of your spouse, or the president, it’s because of the medication or your doctor. It’s always someone else’s problem or the problem of the Universe itself. It’s also saying that you have no control and no Response – Ability. And we know that isn’t true from one of the other happiness tips.
Feeling Shame – is when we turn that blame on ourselves and bring guilt into our lives because of our past mistakes or failures. I had a client once who came to me with depression. Her clinical depression score was so high that I almost had to refer her to an institution. She was that depressed! Her depression centred around something she had done a few years back that she was deeply ashamed of. She kept playing the scenario over and over and over again in her head each and every day making herself spiral deeper and deeper down into a black hole. With the use of some NLP techniques, she was able to stop the drama playback, look at the event for what it was instead of what she’d built it into (each time we replay an incident, our brains make it bigger and more dramatic than it actually was in reality), and move into working on her future instead of being trapped in the past. I’m very happy to say that she recovered completely and is now doing the work she loves to do as well as raising two beautiful children and all without the shame & depression that came along with it.
The first thing to realise is that you don’t have to keep living in the past. This is what the mindfulness movement is about. It’s about living in the now. I also like for my clients to live with a little bit of an eye on the future. Having great goals to work towards is an easy way to keep your mind from floating back to the past. You can see how it worked for my client. Having something to work towards and look forward to, is all that it takes.
This week, create a jar and put a dollar in each time you complain, blame or feel guilt or shame. This exercise will help you to understand how much time you are spending with the happiness robbers. The happiness robbers will literally be robbing you of money. Call the police and get those dudes locked up! It’s time to start living in the now and the future of you being happy for no reason!
To your improving happiness,