The Psychology of Happiness Part 2: Being Human
The first ingredient of being happy is to accept that you are human. Too often we believe that being happy means being happy all of the time. This would be impossible. We need to start by accepting that our emotions going down as well as up is a perfectly natural part of being a human being.
As we accept gravity as part of the physical nature of the planet, we need to accept that painful emotions are a natural part of human nature. By accepting that we have this “state of mind” we are more likely to come to terms with our feelings – deal with them and move on.
Again, you do not need to say whether these emotions are right or wrong. They don’t need to be labelled as anything other than what they are. “this is anger” “this is hurt” “this is not comfortable place to be.” If you accept you are angry, you may find that the anger no longer has a hold on you. Most often your internal workings just want to be acknowledged rather than “mended.”
There is no doubt that we can find ourselves in a paradox where we get more of what we don’t want. By thinking “I don’t like this situation” or “I don’t want to be here” we are bringing the negatives of the experience more prominently to mind. It’s like the “don’t think of a pink elephant” saying. What do you think of? You have to think about a pink elephant in order to not think about it. In the same way, you need to pull all those negative feelings into your mind in order to tell yourself what you don’t want or don’t like.
Next time you feel a negative emotion, give it a name. If you are angry stop and say to yourself “this is anger.” After you’ve acknowledged it, your anger may not immediately disappear, but your attachment to it may not seem so strong.