Questions Provide Space For Dreams To Take Flight

Happiness - What If I Had known?

It is almost sacrilegious to think that happiness is not for everyone, however look around, how much happiness and laughter do you see?  I have memories of my father being happy however he died at thirty three.  I was eight, the oldest of six children. As the oldest, many duties fell to me to be whatever help an eight year old could be. My childhood as I knew it, and being carefree, ended at eight.  From this vantage point it is clear that from that time there seemed to be no permission to be happy.

I felt guilty having moments of happiness when my mother was ensconced in grief and then illness.  . Out of loyalty to my family of origin and life experiences, I was not happy.

Our mother took us to live on the mainland, in hopes of providing an opportunity for a better education; however, she became seriously ill.  Too ill to care for us we went to an orphanage for many years run by the Sisters of Mercy. The nuns certainly did not encourage such “nonsense, “as happiness.

My unhappiness was due to faulty thinking inherent in my life story, and reinforced by those who had a strong influence...  As children we absorb the moods of those around us. My belief was that if people around me were unhappy, I had no permission to be happy...  Until all around me become happy I had to wait-and wait.

Over the years I have seen clients depressed and anxious who because of faulty beliefs or other reasons had forfeited their happiness. It was not until much later in psychotherapy after resolving my grief, and confronting many faulty beliefs, that happiness became possible for me... My old patterns and beliefs were deeply entrenched and had to be confronted many times, and at many levels... Learning to be patient with myself, made space for more compassion with others...  Be kind to yourself as you move out of patterns, and change faulty beliefs. We all have different rhythms and our own signature ways of tackling change.

I share my personal journey to say if you are unhappy, you are not alone.  Unhappiness was my familiar, for many years, and I have encountered many people in the same kettle of soup. There were clients who believed that they could not be happy until everybody around them felt the same way. They hesitated sharing their dreams, loves, successes because it might further dampen the spirits of people around them, family and friends.

We may say that our unhappiness is not due to family loyalty but due to our life situations. It is often both. While some of our beliefs, behaviors and feelings are due to conscious knowing much of what directs our experience is in the unconscious. Many faulty beliefs actually run the show. Unconscious loyalty to our family of origin may extract a much higher price in our lives than we realize.

Do you carry the burden of unconscious guilt that shows up when you have something wonderful happen and you are happy?  I have encountered clients who cannot fully enjoy the happy times for fear if they do so; something bad is just around the corner to punish them if you will, for disloyalty to the family struggle.

I know a young woman who sabotaged her new marriage because her mother, a widow, demanded so much of her time.  She  had a belief that if she spent more time with her mother and less  time with her spouse, she would provide her mother enough happiness to go on.

On the one hand I say happiness is not for everyone and now I say it is possible for everyone to be happy.  So where is the truth? If you and I have an intrinsic ability to be happy, why would we not choose happiness?  It is not a gift reserved for the few.  If anybody can be happy, why then are so few of us happy?

When the slings and arrows of life come our way, and one thing is certain, they will come, why do so few come out of the other side of suffering, free and happy.  Some people’s spirits are smothered under minor upheavals, while others come out of the rubble more resilient and with a continued optimism.

From personal experience, as well as in my practice, I say with a resounding yes, you can do this. It is a choice, as well as a feeling of deserving happiness... Continue renewing your intention when the follow through gets difficult.

This does not mean ignoring others.  If people around you are unhappy do the best you can for them, and reflect on your behavior around them.  Do you drop into a lower octave, suppressing your natural exuberance or gift of laughter?  Do you deny your happiness to appear more in tune with their heavier energy?

 Take care of yourself, by feeling and expressing your happiness.  You will feel stronger and more authentic when you stay centered in your integrity. You may by your example, influence somebody to let go of faulty beliefs in order to create a happy passionate life.

Journey into a Passionate Life, a Transformational System addresses a more in-depth study of Happiness, giving you the strategies, tools and exercises to help you accomplish what you want to do.

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