I’ve heard this statement “I should feel happier than this” twice this week and it leads on from my last blog http://louiseramsden.com/our-inner-coach/ in which I discussed that ‘shoulds’ get us nowhere except for feeling uncomfortable!
In both cases, these people had what society often defines as ‘having it all’ including a new home, a promotion, a new relationship and a first baby. Media and advertising thrive off the assumption that having certain items or experiences bring ‘happiness’ and they use this to market everything from the latest diet/face cream/investment to the must have techie gadget.
Conversely we make mass assumption that losing someone or getting ill is the worse thing that could happen. If this is true then how is it that I had a client who came to me to figure out why, when she had cancer, she had the best time of her life, writing a blog, travelling, exploring new things and since she had become well she felt totally depressed. No wonder she was confused. Her experience as in the cases above did not fit the expected model of when I experience ‘a’ I will be happy or when I experience ‘b’ it will be difficult.
I know for myself that in the past I often experienced life differently to what I expecting. Experiences that I wasn’t looking forward to like going into hospital turned out to be ok and a holiday that I was really excited about didn’t turn out to live up to my expectations. Recently, I chose not to reserve my airline seat and I got assigned seat 13a. I’m not generally suspicious but if I could have gone back and changed that number I would have. Instead I let it go and gave it no further thought until I got onto the plane and chuckled as I was the only person in a crowded plane to have the whole row to myself.
Since completing my 3 Principles based training, I spend much less time in expectation or assumption. I have come to realise for myself that what creates my experience/mood/feelings is simply my thinking in that specific moment. If I ‘think’ that I should be happy when in reality I’m not, all I’m going to experience is self created criticism and pressure that I am not happy, adding to my unhappiness. If I ‘think’ that a certain numbered seat on a plane is going to give me a better experience, I’m going to spend a lot of time worrying about it or wasted time trying to change the seat.
As soon as I realise that my feelings are telling me NOTHING about the experience and EVERYTHING about my current thought, I can stop expecting my external experience to bring me happiness and I can stop blaming my external experience when it doesn’t fulfil my expectations.
This becomes easier when we live as fully as possible in the present moment. Only there can we become conscious of how thought is creating all of our experience including our ‘shoulds’, expectations and assumptions.
Keep an eye on my blog to hear more about the nature of thought or book in a coaching chat.