What does it really mean to have happiness from within? Doesn't happiness come from laughing with friends, having a family you love and enjoying your work? Certainly there are many ways that you can find happiness outside yourself. But lasting, enduring happiness comes from within and isn't so affected by whether you lose your job or a friend moves half way around the world. You can develop happiness from within in many ways. Here are a few ideas that make sense to me.
Emotionally Sensitive People are capable of great joy. You are the person who lights up the room and makes any get-together a memorable event. Your sensitivity also means that your capacity for joy can be lost, buried under depression or fear. Here's some ideas for how to recover your ability to live fully with all the joy and love you naturally have. 1. Be mindful of your fears. Are you making decisions based on fear? Maybe you fear not being good enough, being rejected or being hurt. Those fears can keep you isolated and alone. So think about it. Really focus in a purposeful, nonjudgmental way on the decisions you are making. Do you truly want to avoid life rather than experience difficult emotions? In ten years from now do you want to look back and say, "I'm so glad I isolated and didn't take any chances? " You could be dancing, planting community gardens, listening to music or playing music, singing, taking your grandchildren to the park and other pleasurable activities. You risk people not approving, talking negatively, and saying hurtful statements. You risk feeling sad and hurt for a time. Be mindful of what you really want for your life, not just about what you fear. Pay attention, on purpose to what is your heart's desire, not your fear. If you are making decisions based on fear, then decide if you want to change that.
Making decisions in emotion mind often has very difficult consequences. Being in emotion mind means more than experiencing strong emotions, it means your emotions are controlling your thinking and actions. Demanding in anger a divorce (that you don't really want), quitting a job you need when upset and you don't have another one, and walking out on your best friend who you still care about are all examples of acting on your emotions in ways that hurt you.
May is Borderline Personality Awareness Month. To fight the stigma that is so difficult for individuals with mental illness and particularly for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), I encourage you to learn more about the disorder. Stigma can be devastating to individuals who are already struggling with intensely painful emotions and a fear of not belonging or fitting in. Stigma also can stop individuals from getting the help that is available or in continuing in treatment. The symptoms of BPD are discussed in this video. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqofOfBtb7o[/embed] Myths about BPD abound. Part of fighting the stigma is to know the facts.
While emotionally sensitive people are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder, too often being emotionally sensitive is pathologized. Being emotionally sensitive is not a disease or a disorder. Accepting your own emotional sensitivity can help...
When conflict with others is managed well, people talk calmly with each other and work to solve problems. Unfortunately, relationships are full of situations in which even the most skilled at remaining calm cannot do so. There are times that you find yourself saying unkind words to those you love and losing your cool when you promised yourself you wouldn't. There are many ways of coping with conflict and with behaviors from those we love that just annoy us no end. One way to do this is to prevent the conflict from happening in the first place. If you really don't like conflict, then preventing it may be a great choice for you. If you have a pattern with someone of repeating the same conflict over and over, then prevention may be a wonderful choice. One way to prevent conflict is by using satiation.
Eating when you aren't physically hungry can be so frustrating as well as damaging to your health. Afterward, you're miserably full and bloated and upset that you overate or binged yet again despite your determination to not do so. Overcoming emotional eating is very difficult and can be a constant challenge. Food is everywhere and tempts with immediate pleasure and relief. You can't practice abstinence from food.
Are you cringing with dread about the deliveries of red roses that will come to the office to what seems like everyone but you? Are you hoping to sleep Valentine's Day away and avoid all the celebrations of romance that will be everywhere you turn? With hearts everywhere you turn, avoiding reminders is impossible.
In 1965 Martin Seligman "discovered" learned helplessness. He found that when animals are subjected to difficult situations they cannot control, they stop trying to escape. They become passive. Human beings are the same. If you have experienced devastating defeats, a persistent situation that you couldn't change, or experienced terror and been out of control of escape from that terror, then you may have lost hope for your ability to change your life or to change painful situations.
What is your reaction when someone causes you harm of some kind? Do you forgive and forget so easily that you keep letting the same person insult, hurt or otherwise damage you over and over? Or are you the person who never forgives so that one mistake is remembered forever? Perhaps good relationships are lost over one mistake. Maybe you aren't spending the holidays with people you love because you haven't forgiven actions that happened many years ago. Either style can be a way of protecting yourself.