I have always tried over the course of my entire life to be friendly, genuine, compassionate, empathetic, engaged, happy, authentic and positive. But over the years, I have learned that it is extremely important to also be a realist about life and about what is happening in the world. I am human and just like all humans I am imperfect. I make decisions that are detrimental to my future, I don't always live the values I try to promote and sometimes I get angry, upset or disappointed. I think that all of this is part o the human experience that we all share. We all have feelings...we all have emotions and we are all always trying to control those emotions and the role they play on us as we interact with people and the world.
Some of it I think is genetic, other pieces revolve around the environment in which we were raised, and others are learned societal expectations on how we should act or how we should feel about a certain topic...and to some extent...part of it might be a coping mechanism that we develop based upon the culmination of the life experiences we have had that develop us into who we are.
Today, I was told by someone "Why do you always go to the negative." It is the second time in my life that I have been told that I am a negative person, and I am not going to lie...it hurt...just as much the second time as it did the first time. I have always had a philosophy that I have always tried to follow...I never try to criticize someone's physical appearance to the world...and by physical appearance, I refer to anything public with which someone offers to the world as representation of who they are. So when someone says that "you are negative," I am always shocked by such comments because my first thought is...and who are you to come at me and judge me for my flaws." No one truly knows what you have gone through or experienced or felt. You know that saying, Don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes, it is a powerful lesson to always remember the fragility of the human experience and that you really don't know what someone else has gone through or what they are dealing with and that makes it all the more important to be mindful of how we interact with each other.
I know over the years I have been critical, but I always try to focus my criticism on an action (the intent behind a decision and also the consequences of those decisions) and how they lead to the best or worst version of an individual. As I said...I too am not perfect and I am going to do a lot more in the future to always be more mindful of both sides of a situation and where someone is coming from when it comes to a situation. So if I have ever been overly critical, I am sorry. I have spent a lot of time being bitter, being upset, being frustrated...and instead I am going to choose Happiness over these other emotions.
“Every time your brain has a success, you just change the goal post of what success looks like…and if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. What we have done is we have pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon as a society and that is because we think that we have to be successful and then we will be happier, but our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present then their brain experiences what we call a happiness advantage.”
The world today is crazy. With everything that is going on with Covid-19 and all the sad and depressing news that is being made in relationship to Covid and being isolated and away from friends and family, it makes sense why people are anxious, are depressed, are afraid. But today, more than ever we need to focus on happiness. We need to utilize positive psychology to help us get through these times so that we can beat the coronavirus and bounce back stronger than before.
Over the next 21 days, I am going to try to find my Happiness Advantage by following the simple tasks below:
1) Everyday I am going to post 3 things I am grateful for
2) Everyday I am going to journal about 1 positive experience
3) Everyday I am going to exercise
4) Everyday I am going to meditate
5) Everyday I am going to do a random act of kindness.
What are you doing to create your Happiness Advantage?