I’m a bit of a kamikaze when it comes to happiness – and life in general, really. My instinct is to power through my fears, attack my insecurities, and figure out how to handle my issues.
Sometimes being an action hero of happiness is kind of dumb.
Like, for instance, when I try to do something about my feelings. My therapist had to remind me constantly that “the only thing you can do with feelings is feel them.” I always hated that answer. When I discovered that I had pain about my childhood or anger or fear or anything bad, I immediately wanted to know how to fix myself.
“OK, so what do we do about this now?” I would ask.
“The only thing you can do with feelings is feel them,” she would say, and I would mentally give her the finger.
But she was right. Of course she was. And the funny thing – the part she didn’t tell me right away – is that letting yourself feel feelings is actually the best way to fix… er… move past them.
Recently I’ve discovered that avoiding feelings might also be a plausible option.
Now, just about everything I’ve ever written suggests the exact opposite. The action hero of happiness recommends facing down fears and embracing your feelings. Onward! Upward! Forward! Through! I imagine an army of us bravely charging through the battlefield of personal growth.
I’ve been trying to do just that lately with my own angst about money. And, in the process, I’ve been getting myself all tangled up worrying about selling a book and doing more public speaking and earning more of an income and how many books do I need to sell to break even? The dollars and cents mess me up hard, and that makes it really difficult to write and speak and connect with people from a place of authenticity.
A friend of mine, a life coach who is giving me free coaching in exchange for letting him record the sessions, suggested that maybe I could just stop worrying about how many books equals how many months of rent and just focused on the part that I believe in: the message about taking ownership of your happiness.
“But everyone says you have to have specific goals to be successful in business,” I said.
“So what,” he said.
“Can I just not worry about the money part?” I asked.
“Are you a happiness expert asking me if you can stop doing something that doesn’t make you happy?”
“I knew you were going to say that.”
Maybe we don’t always have to be charging through our issues. Maybe sometimes the best choice we can make for ourselves is to accept where our walls are, at least for a little while.
The truth is that blasting through fears takes work. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting, and it requires a personal investment. I feel like there are times when that investment might be better made somewhere else – like in fueling our passion for helping people.
Facing our fears and pushing beyond our comfort zones are two awesome ways to be happier. But, so is acceptance. Sometimes that means just accepting what you’re afraid of or what you’re struggling with and deciding to stay the hell away from it for the moment.
Do you avoid anything in order to be happier?