So, do you like to be sad? Probably not. It’s quite likely that at least a part of you doesn’t want to be sad at all, and would much rather be happy. If you feel very strongly about this, I’ve got some bad news for you:
Happiness is really no better than sadness.
“What??” you might say. Let me explain.
Happiness and sadness are both just part of the emotional spectrum. Either emotion, you feel it, perhaps in response to events, and then you do your best to respond to that feeling. But if we feel as though sadness is a bad thing, we can tend to act rather unhelpfully around sad people. Continue reading →
Ever had a feeling and then thought to yourself, “I’m stupid for feeling this way.”? And then have you tried to stop the feeling, and restrict your emotions? Well, those emotions are like people in chains. And the ones holding the chains are the voices inside you who are saying, “You’re so stupid for feeling that way!”
Thoughts like: “I can’t believe I’m so upset.” “I can’t get this angry!” “Damn it, I need to tough it out, not get so down about everything…” – these come from restricting your emotions.
“But… but I can’t just let my emotions run wild!” you might say. Yeah, part of me thinks the same way. I think – well, if I just let loose, well, who knows what could happen? I might get out of control – I might go in a direction in life I don’t want to. I might do stupid things, I might get egotistical. Better to shut my self down, right?
Well, I think there’s another way. Do I know what it is yet? I have theories, but… no, I don’t know.
One thing to keep in mind is that when you restrict your emotions, each emotion is coming from a part of yourself who you are devaluing. You think – “if they are acting that way, they must not be worthy of my attention.” But you know what, they are. Who says one part of you has the right to treat other parts of you in such a way?
Or do you really want to drag yourself, kicking and screaming, to every goal in life? The part of you kicking and screaming might have something important to say about it all.
So, today I discovered that unless you befriend your “inner child” (whatever that means to you…), and decide to work with it to achieve greater joy and happiness in life, it will try to cause havoc and distress inside you to try and get your attention.
If you feel distressed in this way, look for the voice that says something like “…hellooooooo? are you listening????? are you just going to be lazy and blah for the rest of your life??? I want to be happy you bastard! RAWRRRRRGGG”
or just ask yourself “ok, inner child, what’s wrong?” If the reply you get is full of complaints, refocus on “well, what is it that you WANT?” By showing that you want to focus on a solution, you resolve the inner conflict.
Many people, in response to this kind of inner problem, turn to addictions – alcohol, food, the company of other people. But the problem can only be solved with attention to your own needs and desires. Don’t ignore yourself! : )