Choosing happiness when it's not your habit is like the old joke about how you eat an elephant...one bite at a time.
A friend shared she finds it challenging to switch from negative, unhappy mode (usual habit) to positive, happy mode (preferred habit) and gets frustrated when she feels anything other than what she desires. My response was to remind her about her fairly recent decision to lose weight. Just as she didn't decide how much her target amount to lose was then see it happen by the next day, week, or month, neither should she expect to switch "gears" overnight. She'll accomplish choosing to feel better more readily (and easily) if she chooses to do so one moment at a time just as she approached her new way of eating one bite at a time.
I also reminded her that when an event or situation happens that's more serious or causes sadness, we have to watch that we don't judge ourselves for feeling our emotions or resist feeling them in the initial stages. We have a right to feel what we feel. We also have the ability to choose to respond rather than react.
One of her key emotional concerns is anger. Anger is a useful emotion in that it brings our attention to something that's out of balance and needs our attention. We don't want to eliminate anger; we do want to learn how to manage and use it productively.
We also talked about emotional "triggers." Our triggers are ingrained in us by the age of seven. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to be honest about the fact I get triggered into negativity. However, over the years, I've been diligent about discovering which tools or new "programs" help me move into a positive state of being faster. We don't necessarily delete our old programs as we do on computers, but we can install new ones. This process then begins to look like this:
* We get triggered into an emotion.
* We train ourselves to recognize we've been triggered.
* Take a moment to honor rather than judge ourselves for these feelings.
* Self-remind that we have a new program installed then engage it.
* Take appropriate action, whether at the inner or outer level or both, that leads to head and heart alignment.
Sometimes the most appropriate action is no action because we feel at a loss about what to do. That's not a problem or fault, it's honest. When you experience this, tell yourself you may not know right now, but as soon as you do, you'll do what's needed.
My friend has a dog. I suggested she remember to be as kind and understanding with herself as she would with her beloved four-legged family member; to offer herself the same level of guidance and looking out for her best interests as she would for her puppy. She would never treat her pet the way she treats herself.
I recall wise words given to me years ago: Treat yourself the same way you'd polish silver...gently.
About Joyce Shafer
Joyce Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She's author of "Don't Want to be Your Guru" and other books/ebooks, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles and free downloads. See all that's offered by Joyce and on her site at http://stateofappreciation.weebly.com
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