Okay, this is a trick question because we can always be happy, albeit only if we believe we can and only if we believe it’s a good idea. That’s called free will. We do have a choice about when we are happy and just how happy we want to be. Sometimes we’re okay. Sometimes we’re ecstatic. Sometimes we’re jubilant. Sometimes all is well with the world and we are at peace. We humans are brilliant about creating nuances of feeling that are just perfect for the situation and we don’t even have to think about it.
But here is one situation where thinking about it can be freeing. When we realize that we are rejecting happiness because we believe it doesn’t serve us, that’s the time to reconsider your definition of happiness.
Here’s an example from an Option Method dialogue. Alicia was extremely upset when her daughter stayed out all night. Now, Alicia’s daughter, Sasha, is 19 years old, still living at home and Alicia tends to worry just like she did when Sasha was younger. Alicia’s worry had gotten to the point where she couldn’t sleep, replaying the conversation she would have with Sasha over and over and over again. Her goal in doing the dialogue was to free herself of worry. We worked through her feelings of anger and blame over Sasha’s behavior. “How can she worry me this way? Doesn’t she know I’ll worry? Why couldn’t she at least call me?”
Ultimately Alicia was able to see the key beliefs behind her unhappiness – That Sasha should be different, meaning her behavior was making Alicia unhappy. Most important, Alicia saw that if she dropped her unhappiness it would mean it was okay that Sasha stayed out all night. When I asked Alicia why it would have to mean that, she could see quite readily that it wouldn’t really have to. She could stop being unhappy and let Sasha know that she would at least like a phone call so she would know everything was okay. However, when I asked Alicia if she was done with worry, she still felt an attraction. When I asked her why, she said, I see I don’t have to be unhappy now, but I’m not okay with being happy. As we discussed it, Alicia realized she was imagining jumping for joy and being completely apathetic about the situation at hand – something that made no sense to her whatsoever. So I asked her my favorite question in this situation, “Since you don’t want to be unhappy and worried, how would you love to feel?” Her answer: “I’d just like to be at peace,” a feeling that seemed totally accessible and attractive.
So if you find yourself in a situation where you are not allowing yourself to be happy when you want to be, think about what you really mean by happy. Is it an accessible and attractive feeling, or does it seem off-putting and perhaps even a little crazy? We don’t have to stick to a version of happiness that doesn’t suit us. Often when we reject happiness, we aren’t really rejecting feeling good, but are rejecting a version of happiness that we believe will actually hurt us. How would you really love to feel? At peace? Okay? Not unhappy and I’ll let you know? You choose.
Find out how The Option Method can help you live the life you’d love to live. Call Wendy Dolber for a free 1/2 hour consultation @ 973-714-2800.