When you hear the term “well-being,” you might think of something to create or strive for.
That’s an especially strong principle that many people live by in the beautiful town, Boulder, Colorado, that I call home. It goes something like this: “Of course I can be healthy, as long as I take my vitamins in the morning, do my yoga, have my freshly-juiced breakfast, bike up Flagstaff Mountain at lunch, do some more yoga, and of course, eat perfectly.” And on, and on.
I get tired just thinking about it.
I don’t think all of that is really well-being; I actually think it’s a control mechanism that people use to try and overcome what blocks them from experiencing their true well-being.
The energy that I understand to be well-being is the core of who you are as a human being.
It’s the kernel of energy you began life with, and it is meant to be the automatic, generating force behind every moment of your life. Your well-being is the source of your ability to just naturally feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also the source of your creativity and uniqueness. It is the energy that fuels your ability to fulfill your life’s purpose. And, it is what connects you to everyone and everything else.
Well-being doesn’t need to be created; it only needs to be uncovered.
An unnatural feeling called Learned Distress is what blocks you from experiencing your natural well-being throughout life. Early in life, you absorb the feeling that “there’s something wrong with me being just the way I am” from how those people around you feel in their negative moments. This feeling becomes embedded in your sense of self, which becomes energy storage bank from which every moment of your life is generated. So, Learned Distress becomes the automatic, generating force behind your negative situations.
And unfortunately, through your brain’s natural, energy renewal process, Learned Distress rises in intensity over time. That higher intensity means that things either feel worse over time or that it takes more effort to overcome the output of Learned Distress. If you’re the kind of person who has always had ongoing difficulty, struggle, and crisis, those challenges just keep growing. If you’re the kind of person who has been able to make things go well for yourself by doing the right things, it just takes more energy to get the same outcomes.
So, what’s it like when layers of Learned Distress get peeled away to reveal your natural well-being?
When your well-being becomes the automatic, generating force behind more and more moments of your life? You can imagine how this will be by thinking about the last really bad day you had (generated from your Learned Distress, of course). How hard did you work to make that day bad? Did you wake up and will yourself to have a bad day? Vow that you would stay the course and do all the things that would ensure that the day would go very, very wrong? Of course not. When well-being is the generating force, your good moments and situations become that effortless.
As this starts to happen for my clients, it’s not unusual for them to use the word “miracle” to describe what’s happening for them.
But, this really is how it’s supposed to work—well-being is meant to work for us, not the other way around. So, someone like my 71-year-old client who has always hated exercise becomes the star patient who recovered faster than anyone her doctors had ever seen from knee replacement and hiked 1.3 miles on a steep, mountain road just two weeks after surgery. Or, a college-age client whose school work has been crippled by attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ends up on the Dean’s List and says things like, “I looked at the first two questions and knew I would ace the test!”
Can you see where Learned Distress is making it harder and harder for you to feel good? Can you even imagine having good things happen as easily as the bad things happen now?
You really do have the energy that I call well-being within you that can allow that to happen, and it just needs to be uncovered.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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