Has stress transformed you into someone you barely recognize?

A tired, anxious, irritated, perpetually guilty version of yourself? And you’re confused because you actually have everything you need? And if you have everything you need and you’re still not happy, then doesn’t that mean there is something wrong with you? (quick answer: NO)

 

This kind of stress has been a visitor over the last year and it got me to dive deep into researching and recommitting to the practices that really help.

 

Today, I’m sharing a portion of that research:

There are three Happiness myths that when we believe them, actually lead to more unhappiness.

In my periods of stress (and suffering) of the last year, I knew 3 things:
1) I knew changing my outside circumstances weren’t REALLY going to help (even if it was way easier to think that it would)…
2) I knew EXACTLY what I needed to do/not do to get back into appreciating and loving my life.
3) I knew that I did NOT want to do these practices.
So… I preferred staying trapped in my stress and in the happiness trap, even if on some level I knew better.

 

Today, I choose to forgive myself for this, celebrate my humanity and to transform this experience into compassion and love for those I am meant to serve.

 

Without further ado, here are the 3 happiness myths:

 

Happiness Myth # 1: As long as our needs our met, our natural state is happiness. 

In it’s extreme version, this happiness trap goes like this:
As long as our needs our met, it is natural for us to be happy. (Read: We’re supposed to be happy, smiling, loving contended buddhas who are basking in contentment all the time, because everything is going right in our lives).
Let me ask you: Have you ever had the thought:
“I have EVERYTHING in my life and I’m still not happy?”
You’re feeling a million different things, right? anxiety, pain, pleasure, giddiness, exhaustion, irritation, love, overwhelm, … ? All in one day, right?  Right.  
This myth is a trap because we think that if we have everything we’ve ever wanted, but we’re still not happy, it must mean there’s something else to do and something else to fix in our outside environment for us to get there OR that our outside environment isn’t exactly right for us. (i.e. it’s the partner’s fault, the job’s fault, the weather’s fault …), and this is crazy making.
The truth is:
We experience a gazillion emotions every day, all reacting and responding to the situations outside of us and inside of us. Pleasure and joy are a part of that, but definitely not the ONLY natural states of being human. It’s natural to experience the whole range of being human.
Giving up this myth means to stop blaming our outside circumstances for our lack of happiness.

Happiness Myth #2: Happiness means feeling good

When we use the word happiness, we most often contentment, joy, pleasure, enjoyment, … We mean the “positive spectrum of emotions”. 
If we want to experience lasting happiness, which is the goal for many of us, this is simply impossible. 

The truth is: 
Life invites us to feel the full spectrum of human emotion. The “good”, the “bad”, the “ugly”. Only reaching for the “good” is like telling life “no. I don’t want what you’re offering.” We split ourselves up and we end up suffering more. 

Let’s redefine happiness as living a rich, meaningful and fulfilling life… and accept that that sometimes means facing hardship, experiencing uncertainty and anxiety, experiencing loss and sadness, maybe even having to experience anger to fight for what is right. Let us INCLUDE all of that in our new definition of happiness. 

 

Happiness Myth #3: If you’re not happy, you’re defective.

Permit me to lose my shit for a second:
AAAAAARGHHHHHHHH this is the worst one and we TOTALLY BUY INTO IT!
(Proof: Are you or are you not kinda dissatisfied with your life as you’re looking through other people’s highly produced highlight reels on instagram? and are you or are you not feeling a vague sense of inadequacy as a result?)
Let me be real clear here:
THIS IS NOT TRUE. Human beings are meant to experience the full spectrum of human emotions. Period.
Feeling more than happiness does not mean that there is something inherently wrong with you. You don’t need to a better life, you don’t need to be fixed, you don’t need a pill… but there ARE things you can do to help ;).

 

Isn’t it crazy how our ideas about happiness are what lead to suffering in the first place?

 If stress/suffering/unhappiness has turned you into a less version of yourself (perpetually tired, cranky, irritated) … will you let me help transform you back to the prince-ss that you are?

I’d like to share a few teachings I’ve come across that have really helped me understand myself & stress better (including some neuroscience!) and I’d like to invite you into some programs that will really help transform back to the lovely loving person you really are…
(If you do, there will be a small opportunity to get a discount for the services I will be offering). 
Love,
Inge

 

The Next MBSR

The next 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program starts on Monday, March 26. Click here for more details.

About Me

I'm Inge Broer, mindfulness meditation teacher. It is my mission to help driven men and women dial back stress & dial up self-care with mindfulness meditation training.