As I was leaving my brother’s place, I felt a little sad and depressed, a lack of happiness in my life. I had visited him to watch the ice hockey world cup semifinal game, where Russia had lost. This wasn’t in any way a big loss for me personally, but my mood was a little off. Many of you sports fans can relate to this, I am sure. Long story short, it was getting late and I took off home. As I walked out of the building that my brother lives in, I noticed that I felt a little empty. I can’t say that everything is perfect in my life at the moment, and just like with everyone else, if I choose to, I can get sad over very many things in a matter minutes. I chose not to.
Each and every single human being gets angry, sad or depressed from time to time. All of these feelings are part of our nature. Because we have grief and sadness, we are able to experience happiness. Because we have anger, we are able to experience love. However, the idea is never to fight any of these feelings, because in the long run, they are an integral part of us. You see, in a battle against your own emotions you will always be defeated. There is you and no one else but you. No one is making you experience sadness, anger or happiness. Only you are in control of your own emotions. They come from the inside, and not the outside. Although you may feel that someone might have done something extremely bad and made you very angry, in the long run, only you are in charge of the way in which you will respond. I know it might sound easier said than done, but it’s true. Unfortunately for me, you, us, this is how it works. Sometimes we are sure that the person on the opposite of us is a true “ass”, that it is all his fault and that we could swear that if it wasn’t for him (or her), we wouldn’t be feeling this down and blue. Although all of this may seem valid, in reality, what really matters is how we respond to the situation.
I am getting a little off topic here. As I was saying, never fight yourself. There are, however, ways to deal with these emotions and feelings. The goal is to become aware of them as they arise. As you all know, hopefully, to be able to change something, you must first admit it to yourself and become aware of it.
So what is awareness? Earlier I mentioned that I chose not to become sad. The reason for this is because I was aware that the feeling of sadness is emerging. If I would have buried myself into grief, it would have been too late to do anything. I am already experiencing the sadness, therefore it is too late. But when the feeling is only beginning to show its symptoms, that is the point that you are still in control of. If you became aware of it before it is happens, you can decide what to do with it, which way to turn it. Towards the better maybe?
Now, there are literally thousands of ways in which you can handle a negative emotion. Like I said, fighting it won’t work. How can you fight something coming from the inside, as if it is something external? Do you think a boxer can lose a fight to the shadow? Would be amusing to see. The same goes for our thoughts. We give birth to them, and they will inevitably arise from time to time. However, what we can do is alter our thinking patters. This can be achieved with some easy, and some not very easy techniques that require a lot of practice. In this post I will introduce one of the easy ones.
Nevertheless, the problem with altering our thinking patterns is that it is not easy to accomplish. It is doable, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Meditation is one very good way of becoming aware, changing thinking patterns, and in result, experiencing happiness. But I wont go into that right now. It belongs to a different post.
Exercising gratitude and happiness
As I became aware, I decided to make a little exercise that I do from time to time. It is truly beneficial. Instead of taking the tram to the railway station, I decided to walk a little longer. As I walked, I looked up at the sky. No matter where you are, the sky is always there, it cannot be taken away. The sky will always remain to be there where it is. The sky can become a good reminder and an anchor of happiness. No matter how crappy the situation is, the sky does not leave anywhere. The same way never should our awareness leave us. So next time when you feel some negative or “bad” emotion, just stop, look at the sky and remind yourself that You are aware (of your feelings), that Everyone has their pitfalls (it is completely natural). It is just momentary, and soon it will pass, so might as well help it pass. Embrace the negative feeling, accept it, understand the root cause of it, and let it go with ease. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to see the beauty of the sky no matter what. I warn you though, you may experience happiness at this point. 🙂 This anchor should be used on a daily basis whenever the need emerges. This way you will create a habit of turning a negative emotion into any emotion that you choose.
As I walked past the buildings of Helsinki (the city that I live in), I watched the streets and thought of the things that all the people in the world had to go through to construct these building and to make the city such a cozy place to live in. Think about it, a city is the result of thousands of years of combined human effort and intelligence so that YOU could walk this planet and enjoy the things that exist today. Transportation, fashion, technology, medication, food, and many other things that we have are there because of the effort that people have put into it. This needs to be clearly understood. I know of very many people who are all spiritual and open-minded, as they say, but what they do most of the time is complain about how bad people are. As I see it, they are completely missing the most important point. If it wouldn’t have been for all of these “bad” people, they would not be walking this planet today. Seeing the best in everything is a true skill that we all lack.
If you are walking somewhere in the nature, then it is even easier to be grateful. Look at the sky again, the forests, parks, animals, listen to the birds chirping. Become aware of all of these things that you see in front of you. Aren’t they all worth living for?
As I walked home, I took a couple of photos because I became grateful for the place that I live in and the life that I have. I felt that I wanted to share them, and that is what I am doing.
Rushing inside through my apartment door, I began to write because I was inspired. Nobody did anything to affect my happiness. As I mentioned in the beginning, I was on the edge of feeling bad. But by being aware, I not only didn’t allow for the feeling to take over, but I also became grateful to life and got inspired. What makes me even happier is that I can record my inner feelings into text and share them with you here. I feel like this day had a special meaning. Hopefully you can take something away with you from this post.
If you feel that something was left unclear, or that you want to add something or share your own experience, please do. I will be happy to see some comments and reflections. This is not only about me, this is about each and everyone of us. Thank you.