When You Listen To What You’re Telling Yourself

When You Listen To What You’re Telling Yourself

“Good Vibes Only.”

It was a nice t-shirt.

But life simply doesn’t work that way.

At least not mine.

I’m a huge fan of good vibes. Love them. Strive for them. But I know that life, no matter what our clothing may say, isn’t always good vibes only.

I’ve come to appreciate all of my vibes. And I’ve got lots of them, too. The good. The bad. The angry. The empty. The frustrated. The disappointed. A full spectrum of emotions and feelings. I’m not sure if I’m complicated, or complex, but I do know at times I can be a lot for me to deal with.

As much as I prefer the good ones, I’ve found, paradoxically, that it’s the not-so-good ones which are the ones that lead me to more of the good ones.

Huh?

I’ve found that I learn from my vibes. Each one has something to tell me. Something to teach me about me and where I am at any given moment. Emotions are kind of my dashboard which lets me see what’s going on inside of me. Instead of fighting the ones I don’t want or feeding them further, I’ve learned to just notice them. A younger, far less self-compassionate version of me would often beat myself up for feeling a certain way. Now, I simply just let them be, without judging. Much like an auto mechanic, I don’t get mad that the dashboard indicator light is on, I use that indicator to get to the source of what needs tending to. Once I know where to look, I can work on getting me back to where I prefer to be.

Sometimes those not-so-good vibes stick around for a while, and I’ve come to accept that it’s OK if they do. Sometimes those emotions just need their space to breathe and not be forced back into the darkness. And in a strange way, being able to befriend the emotions and vibes I don’t really want to experience and learning to work with them helps me to more quickly get back to the positive and happier vibes I want to enjoy.

Self-awareness and a bit of compassionate patience have become such powerful tools for me to try and take better care of the emotional side of me.

Perhaps that’s the most important good vibe of all?

Who Owns Your Happiness?

Who Owns Your Happiness?

Goodbye, New Hampshire!

Moving day. The truck was loaded and we were ready to head a little south. After a brutal winter of construction delays our new home was finally ready for us to move into.

We loved our apartment, but moving into your own home is extremely exciting. Especially your first home. A real sense of ownership, a place to call our own. 

Owning is better than renting.

When it comes to real estate.

When it comes to peace and happiness.

Have you ever wondered who owns your peace and happiness?

I think we’ve all had similar experiences of linking our peace and happiness to things outside ourselves. Of needing certain results or outcomes. Of needing certain people. Of needing certain people to act in certain ways. Of needing certainty.

On my path I’ve gone down many a road looking for that elusive peace and happiness, convinced that this time I was on the right one. Once I got to where I told myself I needed to go I would recognize in short order that it was just another dead end. Whatever I told myself I needed to achieve or attain, once achieved or attained I would eventually feel that all too familiar sense of frustration and disappointment. I thought it was supposed to fix everything.

It never did.

The same can be said for relationships. How often do we need people to be and act in ways which make us happy? Sure, it’s great when that happens, but what happens when they stop? What happens if they change? What happens when they know what we need from them and it is purposely withheld? What happens if they leave?

It’s just renting happiness, and renting provides no emotional equity.

Because we don’t own it.

When we look outside of ourselves for peace and happiness we never own it. If we are fortunate to think we’ve found it, just wait. It’s inherently temporary. Just like renting. Even a lease isn’t forever, and the price of outsourcing your happiness can get rather emotionally expensive. And since the emotional landlord sets the emotional rules the relationship is never one of equals. 

I was quite apprehensive about the idea of owning my peace and happiness. It intrigued me but I didn’t think it was possible. After all, wasn’t I the one convinced it was all outside of me? That’s where I’d been looking for the vast majority of my life.

In having tried many external options, I’d come to realize the one place I’d yet to look was inside of me.

Becoming the primary source of your own peace and happiness was a lot more work than I thought it would be. My relationship with me wasn’t always a good one. Quite abusive at times, actually. I wasn’t ready to love me, so I just started to like me. More like a friend. I started to compassionately work with me and not against me. I started to prioritize me, my wants and my needs, my own wellbeing. From the inside out. 

The better I got at taking care of me, the less I needed things outside of me to take care of me. The better I got at taking care of me, the less dependent I became on others to take care of me. More emotional equity means more freedom, and that freedom is quite empowering.

My peace and happiness are now my responsibility. I know me and I know what I need from me. Sure, I still enjoy favorable outcomes and favorable people, but the equity I’ve built in owning my emotional well being doesn’t make them necessities. 

I just don’t need things or people to be anything other than they already are.

Yes, I still get angry and disappointed at times. I simply don’t allow myself to stay there

When it comes to your peace and happiness, are you owning or renting?

When Was The Last Time You Pee’d On Your Kitchen Floor?

When Was The Last Time You Pee’d On Your Kitchen Floor?

I thought the puppy was going to break into two pieces. The back half of Watson was shaking and twisting uncontrollably in one direction while the front half was shaking and twisting the other way. His head was bobbing up and down and his tongue wagging side to side.

Just because I was home.

I’m always amazed by how excited the dog gets when I come home. I mean, all I do is come home, something I do every day. But in his world that is something to get excited about. Sometimes so excited that bodily functions don’t function as they should and I’m cleaning up doggie pee off the kitchen floor as a result.

Just because I was home.

When was the last time you were so excited that you pee’d on your kitchen floor?

Sometimes life sucks the puppy out of us, doesn’t it? Sometimes we become that old dog, the one averse to the new tricks, the one content to simply curl up and stop chasing Continue reading “When Was The Last Time You Pee’d On Your Kitchen Floor?”

What Happens When The Plastic Horse Is No Longer Good Enough?

What Happens When The Plastic Horse Is No Longer Good Enough?

She didn’t even care. And I’m certain she never even thought about it. It looked like fun, especially the ones which moved up and down.

Behold the world through the eyes of a six year old.

Going through some old photos, I found a picture of my daughter at an amusement park from a few years back. There she was, with a smile from ear to ear, her eyes as wide open as they could possibly be. She was holding on tightly to the brass-colored pole which connected the plastic horse to the mechanism which allowed it to go up and down.

When it comes to exciting amusement park rides, the carousel pales in comparison to the more modern gravity-defying, vomit-inducing rides. But there she was. In the moment. Fully present. Simply enjoying the ride. Never comparing the Continue reading “What Happens When The Plastic Horse Is No Longer Good Enough?”

Who Needs To Change For You To Find Your Peace and Happiness?

Who Needs To Change For You To Find Your Peace and Happiness?

Surely the world would be much easier for me to navigate if everyone lived and acted in ways which made my life more like I hoped it would be.

But we all know it doesn’t quite work that way.

You can wait a very long time if you’re waiting for the world to change.

How often do we look at people, events, and situations and wish they were different from how they actually are, hoping they would change to better accommodate our growth or happiness? We point to them as the reason for our inner frustrations and unhappiness. Somehow we’ve come to view them as variables which can be changed and manipulated, for our benefit, only to become more frustrated when they don’t.

The people whom we wish would change are actually more like constants. Mathematically, constants are known values, already defined and unchanging. In relationships we can often view ourselves as the constants, unchangeable nor should Continue reading “Who Needs To Change For You To Find Your Peace and Happiness?”

The 3 Most Important Things To Be Grateful For

The 3 Most Important Things To Be Grateful For

I used to have a real issue with gratitude. Especially when life wasn’t going my way. When I was frustrated or disappointed, logically I knew things could always be worse than the way they were. But logic is often no match for the emotional.

When others would sense my frustrations they would offer their compassion and empathetically remind me things, in fact, could always be worse. Which would really piss me off. Because they didn’t really understand MY problem or MY situation. Being grateful for life not being worse than I thought it was still didn’t get me to where I Continue reading “The 3 Most Important Things To Be Grateful For”

Embracing the Radical Idea of Unconditional Happiness

Embracing the Radical Idea of Unconditional Happiness

What if you just decided to be happy, right now, for no particular reason?

Certain things make us happy. That usually happens when the outside world meets or exceeds our expectations. Then we allow ourselves to be happy. Happiness becomes the result when our terms and conditions are met.

But what happens when the world around us lets us down?

Think about how a rainy day off from work makes you feel. We establish our expectations for what a “perfect” day off should be, and then the rain ruins everything. Our expectations are not met and our disappointment undermines our ability to be happy.

Why do we place so much of our capacity for happiness into the hands of the outside world of which we have zero control over?

Continue reading “Embracing the Radical Idea of Unconditional Happiness”

What’s Getting Stuck On You These Days?

What’s Getting Stuck On You These Days?

Some days I wear my dog to work.

With the bone-chilling cold of a New England winter upon us, I often rely on my fleece jacket to keep me warm. Fleece is great, but due to static electricity it’s also quite magnetic. Especially when it comes to dog fur. Just walking close to my dog and his hair seems to jump right on me.

We all have something in common with fleece. Things stick to us, too. How and where we spend our time greatly influences what actually gets stuck. Spend too much time in any negative environment and you will see that negativity start sticking to you. Fortunately, it Continue reading “What’s Getting Stuck On You These Days?”

Expecting Green To Be Blue

Expecting Green To Be Blue

Funny how most of the important parts of our lives don’t come with any instructions. But buy a $10 toaster and inside the box you’ll find an owner’s manual with detailed instructions on how to turn soft room temperature bread into warm crusty bread. Usually this information is translated into several different languages, ensuring that a language barrier will never prevent any one from enjoying the simple pleasures of toast.

As much as I enjoy toast and the science and technology behind it, I’d like to think that a troubleshooting guide to life’s deeper questions would be far more valuable than figuring out how to get my bread to toast a little lighter.

Life, and all the questions that come along with it, is just one of those things you have to figure out on your own.

Perhaps life is just far too complicated to have all its mysteries resolved by following a few simple steps. And since no two of us are Continue reading “Expecting Green To Be Blue”

Be Your Own Sunshine

Be Your Own Sunshine

Are you waiting for the world to make you happy, waiting for the warmth of the sun to make you smile?

We’re all hoping for sunshine, but in the end the weatherman, no matter how experienced and informed, is basing his forecast on something he really has no control over.

Sort of how we hope for happiness.

So much of the happiness we seek is far too dependent upon forces we do not control. We empower things external to placate the internal. We Continue reading “Be Your Own Sunshine”