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Don’t micromanage your emotions

Having a bad day?

Feeling like you’re in a bit of a funk and can’t figure out why?

Feeling bad may not be the problem. The real issue may be that you’re feeling bad about feeling bad.

What’s wrong with me?

We all deal with various emotions throughout the day, but the ones who seem to be happiest and healthiest are those who allow themselves to feel whatever they feel without negative judgement.

Being sad or frustrated is a passing inconvenience, but labeling yourself as lazy, immature, unlucky, unenlightened, or evil as a response to what you’re feeling, is a fast and easy way to turn temporary discomfort into long-term suffering.

“But aren’t we SUPPOSED to be happy?”

I believe that “happiness” (as long as we define that term precisely enough) is the goal of life, but sometimes the best way to reach a goal is to back up a bit and pursue it indirectly.

C.S. Lewis wrote,  “the man who tries to measure how quickly he’s falling asleep is likely to remain awake all night.”

Constantly checking up on our happiness quotient typically results in more stress and often ends in a self-perpetuating loop of negative reinforcement.

Too much direct effort can lead to emotional micro-management and “analysis paralysis.”

Rather than attempting to change the way you feel, try changing the context within which your feelings are processed.

Building healthy habits turns happiness into a habit

One of the most practical habits you can develop is setting a few clearly defined goals that require you to take small, but specific, action steps towards results that are personally important to you.

These goals should be creatively fulfilling and mildly challenging. It’s usually best to choose goals that are separate from your existing familial and professional obligations. Make it about you and something selfish you would like to be, do, or have.

Most importantly, these goal MUST be significant enough to you that, even on your worst day, you will still be able to recognize the “beyond the moment” benefits they’ll bring to you by remaining committed.

What does this have to do with happiness and having a bad day?

As it turns out, quite a bit.

A sense of purpose not only enriches our lives in ways that far exceed being comfortable or problem free, but it also provides a context for our feelings that literally transforms emotions into creative energy.

When you’re living life with intention, you don’t feel bad about feeling bad because you experience the energy behind your emotions differently from those who lack what Napoleon Hill called “definiteness of purpose.”

To the creator, feelings aren’t burdens to carry, they’re a valuable source of fuel that can help drive you towards your own decided destiny.

That’s my two cents.


T.K. Coleman

You can be happy even if you’re unhappy

Here’s a distinction I’ve found to be useful:

There’s a difference between being happy ABOUT something and being happy IN SPITE of something.

Being happy ABOUT something means you feel good when you focus your attention on it. It’s the way you feel about your favorite sport, your best friend, an upcoming vacation, a delicious meal, or a nice run of good luck.

Being happy IN SPITE of something means you make the choice to not allow that particular thing to ruin your day IN SPITE of the fact that you dislike it.

You don’t have to make yourself feel happy ABOUT the things you hate in order to live happily IN SPITE of the things you hate.

There will always be something to be unhappy about

No matter how much you accumulate or achieve, there will always be things going on in the world that displease you. If you win the lottery today, there will still be people somewhere who are starving to death. Does it make you happy to think ABOUT that? I doubt it! If you’re fortunate enough to work at your dream job in 5 years, there will still be people somewhere who are overworked and underpaid. Does it make you happy to think ABOUT that? I doubt it! Even if you’re in perfect health, someone somewhere is dying painfully of an incurable disease. Does it make you happy to think ABOUT that? I doubt it!

If happiness requires the elimination of that which is unwanted from our world, then our pursuit is hopeless. If any measure of happiness is attainable in this life, then we must learn how to be happy IN SPITE of the things that displease us.

I’m an unhappy optimist

For the most part, I’m happy all the time. But I’m not happy about everything. If I use common standards, then I would say there are at least a hundred things going on in my personal life right now that I have a legitimate reason to be unhappy ABOUT. Yet, I am not unhappy.

Sheer determination and will power? No!

If I possessed those traits, my abs would be in a far more advanced state.

There are a few things I’ve come to understand about being happy. In Tomorrow’s post, I’ll share some of them. It wont be an exhaustive list, but I hope you’ll find it useful.

I hope you’ll join me. In the meantime, create a great day.


T.K. Coleman

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