For the past three years, I have felt the heavy weight of failure. For the first time in my life, around the delicate age of 20-years-old, I tried really hard to be something and I chased a childhood dream. I failed. Hardcore. And because it was my first failure, I thought that it truly meant that I was simply wrong. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think about it at all. I knew I was a failure and that was how it was going to be. I did not know at the time that it was a part of life and that this failure would serve as a learning experience for me.
I did not feel that happiness was in the cards for me. I thought, unknowingly, that I was incapable of achieving happiness. I actually walked around thinking that I deserved all of the bad things coming my way. I put up with a lot of awful things and talked to myself in a very horrible way. I thought I was unhappy because I was intrinsically bad. That’s actually not the case at all. As a matter of fact, Author of Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz puts it like this, “It is largely a matter of selection, attention, and decision. Nor is it a matter of being either intellectually honest or dishonest. Good is as “real” as evil. It is merely a matter of to what we choose to give primary attention and what thought we hold in the mind. Deliberately choosing to think pleasant thoughts is more than a palliative.”
There is a way to choose happiness. There are people out there that have done bad things, have regrets about their past, and wish that they could turn back time and just like me, they suffered greatly because they thought that they didn’t deserve to be happy. I’m learning that happiness is not earned and that you don’t get “happiness points” because you are:
- a saint
- etcetera etcetera
or any other random thing you use to compare yourself. People choose to be happy and it is simply that- a choice. If you’re anything like me, you love the idea of being happier just because you’re breathing but you’ve carried so much guilt for the horrible person you think you are. Never fear, I’ve found some reliable, digestible ways for you to be happier.
In the book Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz lays it out for you. In hopes that I will not unintentionally plagiarize his work, I will be quoting the book quite often,
“Thomas A. Edison lost a laboratory worth millions in a fire, with no insurance. ‘What in the world will you do?’ someone asked. ‘We will start rebuilding tomorrow morning,’ said Edison. He maintained an aggressive attitude, he was still goal-oriented despite his misfortune. And because he did maintain an aggressive goal-striving attitude, it is a good bet that he was never unhappy about his loss. “(location 2064)
Creative Visualization Exercise-
“Form the habit of reacting aggressively and positively toward threats and problems. For the habit of keeping goal-oriented all the time, regardless of what happens. Do this by practicing a positive aggressive attitude, both in actual everyday situations which come up, and also in your imagination. See yourself in your imagination taking a positive, intelligent action toward solving a problem or reaching a goal. See yourself reacting to threats, not by running away or evading them but by meeting them, dealing with them, and grappling with them in an aggressive intelligent manner.”
And for real guys, another HUGE thing we need to start doing. If you know something doesn’t make you feel empowered, positive, or happy, don’t fucking do it. I love Netflix. Like, if I wanna zone out, Netflix is my go-to, but I feel like poop after I do. I know what i’m going to feel like after I watch it. I’m going to feel….blegh! Which is never really what I needed. It’s one thing to chill out and watch Netflix when you’re going to bed or maybe when you’re winding down from a stressful night but we all know that sometimes we just want that background noise and sometimes, that background noise needs to be our own voice.
Also, I know how i’m going to feel if I look at my ex’s Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. So, I don’t do it. Make a habit of choosing something more positive in those moments. I’ve started to read instead of going down rabbit holes of sadness. It actually works.
“Part of the solution was obvious. Stop Reading the papers. Stop thinking of the Dempsey menace, Jack’s killing punch and ferocity of attack. I simply had to close the doors of my mind to destructive thought- and divert my thinking to other things.”
There are sneaky, sneaky ways that unhappiness creeps into our lives and it is important that we keep ourselves aware. I never realized that thinking of a bad childhood memory could dampen my mood for hours but after I read this quote, it was pretty clear that I did that way too often,
“I resolved to impose certain restrictions on my thoughts. If I thought of the past, I would try to let my mind dwell only on it’s happy, pleasing incidents, the bright days of my childhood, the inspiration of my teachers and the slow revelation of my life-work. In thinking of the present, I would deliberately turn my attention to its desirable elements, my home the opportunities my solitude gave me to work, and so on, and I resolved to make the utmost use of these opportunities and to ignore the face that they seemed to lead to nothing. In thinking of the future I determined to regards every worthy and possible ambition as within my grasp. Ridiculous as this seemed at the time, in view of what has come to me since, I see that the only defect of my plan was that it aimed too low and did not include enough.” (location 2115)
I highly suggest that you go out and purchase Psycho-Cybernetics. I started to feel better about myself pretty quickly. One thing I didn’t realize before, was that my thinking was flawed. The conclusions I would draw about myself came from a flawed thought process and I needed to shed light on that flawed thinking to actually recover. Finishing that book is one of the best things that has happened to me in a long time. Go for it!
The Curvy Broke Girl