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You can be happy even if you’re unhappy pt 4

Here’s an example of how I would apply the insights I’ve been discussing in the last few posts.

Suppose some bully punches me in the face and runs away before I have time to react. Frustrating? Yes! Painful? Yes! There’s no need to lie to myself about that. There’s no need to slap on a happy face about some guy just sticking it to me.

But guess what?

The moment is over now and, as frustrated as I feel, I still have a day to get through. I have employers, coworkers, family, and friends who are depending on me to show up and make a contribution. So, I have two choices: 1) I can label this a horrible day and walk around brooding, complaining, and moping until the entire day becomes about me and how bad I feel or 2) On the other hand, I can find a more empowering way to get through my day.

I begin by focusing on the fact that the event has already happened. I can’t erase the fact that I have been punched in the face. If I can’t do anything about it, why should I focus on it and complain about it? I am not forcing myself to feel good about being punched. I’m simply questioning the assumption that I should place prolonged focus on a negative event that I can’t do anything about.

Secondly, I focus on the positive aspects of my situation. Namely, that it is over and that it didn’t go further than a punch. These are serious considerations worth appreciating. The fact that I didn’t get shot doesn’t negate the fact that I did get punched. But my goal is not to deny the bad. My goal is to affirm and appreciate the good in a way that is honest and truthful. Mission accomplished.

Next, I shift my focus to what I can change. Is there anything I can do to minimize the possibility of this happening to me again in the future? Are there any changes I could make, from taking a self-defense course to changing my route to work, that would give me increased security about my future?

Once again, this doesn’t change the past, but by shifting my focus to what I can change, I lose my sense of being a victim and gain a greater sense of being in control of my life. That’s really the only thing that separates victors from victims. Every one has things they can’t control and everyone has things they can control. Victors are people who practice themselves into a habit of highlighting those things which they can control. Victims are those who do the precise opposite.

I don’t have to come up with any blockbuster groundbreaking ideas. As long as I’m thinking in the direction of what I can change, I identify with being a cause and not an effect.

Lastly, I solidify my empowered stance by reading or listening to something or someone that offers a nourishing, not negative, point of view. For me, that might mean calling my parents or my brothers. It might involve me going on YouTube and listening to an inspiring interview or song. For you, it can be whoever or whatever helps you find your alignment.

My thoughts on this theme have run their course. If you have any questions you’d like to hear me give my two cents on, feel free to post it in the comments. I hope you’ve derived some value from these last few posts.


T.K. Coleman

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