I was feeling downright crappy when I didn’t get something that I really wanted. After wallowing briefly, but intensely, I realized there must be some point to this. With that non-judgmental thought, I opened to an insight.
It’s easy to be happy-go-lucky when we get everything we want and when things go our way. As I mentioned in the last blog, during my Gratitude Experiment I realized I had to also be grateful when things didn’t go how I wanted. This was one of those times – I had to be grateful –and also happy– despite not getting what I wanted.
Why be happy when we don’t get what we want? Because things aren’t always going to go how we prefer. Shit happens. (Yes, even when we envision, go with the flow, pray, meditate, and connect to God.) Being happy regardless of what we get or don’t get is the only way we can be in charge of our happiness; it’s the only way to not be victims of other people’s actions. It’s the only way we can be free from having our feelings dictated by other people and circumstances. They are our feelings.
If we are only happy when a specific outcome occurs, then we’re stuck; we’re dependent, we’re not free; we’re in emotional jail dependent on others to let us out.
Another reason is if we get stuck in a bad mood we won’t notice or appreciate when something good enters our lives, like a new opportunity or rendezvous with a helpful person or even merely the beauty that already surrounds us. We won’t see these things because we’re too busy being dark, sad, pitiful, blaming others, going around saying how bad life is. We can’t see the good stuff when we’re in ‘life sucks’ mode.
How can we be happy when we don’t get what we want? Let’s not pussyfoot around. This can be difficult. It can be excruciatingly painful when we don’t get what we want. Everything inside us feels like we want to throw a 2 year old temper tantrum! But, don’t do that. Or rather, throw a momentary tantrum, get it all out and really let loose! And then, accept things and get to the business of getting happy despite the circumstances. Here’s some ideas:
- Turn our focus on things we do like.
- Say things like, ‘Even though I didn’t get x, I already have y which I enjoy.’
- List random things that we like and appreciate.
- Recognize that not getting this particular thing, didn’t take away all our other good stuff.
- Deliberately look at what good came –or can come– from not getting this thing. This was highlighted in a previous post. But, in a nutshell, when we know and see what we don’t want, we more clearly know what we do want. Also, we can see it as an opportunity for personal growth. ‘What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’ can be a corny adage, but it’s exceedingly true! We can also learn what not to do or how to do something better from our or others’ mistakes or flaws.
- Be aware that we can’t see the full picture. God may have bigger, better vision and objectives for us. This “mishap” may lead to that. We’ve got to remain open-minded, and not think we know the one and only thing or path that is best for us. I love this parable on this subject:
This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console him over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”
A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”
The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”
A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.
So, let’s not get fixated on what we think we “know for sure” will make us happy. Allow some space in there for the Universe to work its magnificence.
Then, every time that crappy feeling comes back about not having what we want – and it probably will- do the above again and feel grateful for the opportunity given to feel true freedom.