One of the most profound things we can learn about life is that high expectations are very often unrealistic and they can set us up for painful falls.
As soon as we remove our expectations, we are able to see things as they truly are, rather than how we imagine they should be.
Whether it was through our parents, peers or society, the majority of us have been intentionally or unintentionally conditioned to believe that happiness is something that must be sustained. This can make many of us feel like a failure when we cannot keep a firm grasp on it.
If someone asks, “How are you?” we usually feel compelled to respond with positivity. We believe that no one wants to hear our woes and neither do we want to drag anyone else down with us, so we mask our emotions, put on a brave face and try to convince the outer world that we are doing just fine.
The trouble is we aren’t always okay, but because we all wear a happy disguise, we try to fool people so that we aren’t the odd one out. We post smiling pictures on our social media accounts, send upbeat text messages and temporarily lift ourselves if someone unexpectedly calls.
Then when the curtains are closed, we crawl back under the radar and once again hide inside the familiarity of our solitary unhappiness.
However, happiness is a mindset and it can be achieved in an instant regardless of what is going on in our external life.
The truth is, we can change the way we feel simply by changing the way we perceive our circumstances. If we see the situation we are in now as a stepping stone to a better future, we will have more patience to endure the more difficult days, knowing they are leading us towards better times.
For our future to be brighter, we also need to take full responsibility for our happiness and make regular alterations so that we achieve what it is that our heart desires. We cannot expect anyone else to be accountable for how our life is turning out, regardless of the role they have played in our past. We are the only ones able to create inner happiness as we are the ones in control of the thoughts that take place in our conscious mind and ultimately decide upon which path we will venture on.
We aren’t always able to change our situations, although, we can always change how we think and then eventually change how we feel. We can also change how we feel about the people who may have caused us harm so that we transfer resentment or bitterness into compassion and forgiveness. This allows us to release the pain, turmoil and tension those memories have caused us.
If we think we cannot cope and life is too tough and complicated, we will eventually believe this to be true and we will attract all the things that confirm these thoughts. We will then fall deep into the darkness of the vortex and struggle to find a way out.
If our thoughts are rational and they are focused on moving forward and we are prepared to acknowledge where things went wrong, rather than blaming ourselves or someone else for any errors, we can untangle any confusion that is around us and put everything neatly into context.
Negativity clouds our thinking and keeps us wound up and rotating in circles. It prevents us from seeing things clearly and causes us to lose sight of the things we can currently control and change.
When we are emotional everything appears very different than it actually is. Fear is one of the emotions that obscures reality and causes the greatest delusions. Whenever fear is present everything that we are going through is magnified and minute problems can feel like overwhelmingly powerful avalanches.
Fear is a necessary tool as it alerts us to danger. However, much of what we feel fearful of has nothing to do with real danger, it has to do with perception and paranoia. Therefore, the fear we feel is pointless and only serves to hinder rather than benefit us.
When we work on our dysfunctional relationship with fear we will start to see that fear rises up constantly where it is not needed. We can even get into a bad habit with fear and allow it to linger around everything we do as we have become so used to its presence.
Removing unnecessary fear allows us to see that that our difficulties are nowhere near as bad as we are imagining them to be. We will also start to see things with clarity and work around any problems rather than denying them, hiding, or running away from them.
To see how rational our day to day thoughts are, we should try to project our situation and imagine that it is taking place a year in the future. Often when we think about how we will might feel about something a year down the road we see that the scenario may seem irrelevant, or not as severe as it seems today.
Although our tougher times can make us forget that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with the right mindset and determination we can overcome anything. We need to empower and comfort ourselves by remembering that we are resilient and can conquer whatever comes our way.
Not only that, our tough times are possibly our greatest teachers and enrich our lives with valuable wisdom. We often learn the most when we learn things the hard way.
We all go through struggles and have difficult days and sometimes these days will last for weeks or even months. They arise to show us where we need to change direction, where we are going wrong in our lives, what we need to focus our attention on and ultimately so that we appreciate our easier days.
Life is a mixture of yin and yang, positive and negative, dark and light. Every cell in our body consists of a positive and negative charge. We will always experience tough times. We can either allow difficulties to define us or we can accept them as an inherent part of nature, and therefore allow them to gracefully pass by.
Tough days are real and can be horribly and excruciatingly painful. Though, we have a choice. We can either allow the tough days to defeat us or we can rise up, understand why they are here, and allow them to move through us.
When the tough times hit hard we can reverse, swerve, go over, under or we can fall to our knees and weep. Or we can change our thinking, lift ourselves up and just keep walking while repeating, “The only way out is through.”
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Joe Jukes