We are always going to have problems. That’s just part of the package of life.
Truthfully, though, a lot of us have far fewer problems than we think we do. Illness, death, starvation, war, abuse… These are problems. And I don’t pretend to have answers.
No, I admit, the majority (but not all by any means) of the problems I encounter in my life or through other peoples’ are #firstworldproblems. As in, we wouldn’t have these problems if we weren’t lucky enough to live a comfortable lifestyle.
I just spent three days with someone who could speak without complaining. It made me very sad because it was readily apparent that everything that frustrated her was also created by her. Call it playing the victim, call it ingratitude or attitude… Beneath it all, that kind of behavior is a form of masochism, which is why it’s so repellent.
I’ve met many people like this. I remember being one of them.
This person doesn’t want to be happy, at least not right now. This person wants to suffer, but why?
From what I’ve seen, I believe this masochistic negativity is triggered by heartbreak and trauma and sustained out of fear. Negativity in the form of complaining and resentment functions as a security blanket. By complaining, we protect ourselves; we place the blame for our pain outside of ourselves because we are afraid of it being our fault.
When we cling to our negativity, we are afraid that letting go of it means we are saying that whatever was done to us was okay or that we somehow caused it just by being who we are.
But blame is not really the point.
Taking responsibility for our well-being is not the same thing as taking responsibility for what was done to us. Nothing will take away the events of the past or the scars they gave us, but our hope for happiness lies with our choice to have it.
Happiness is not a perfect state of eternal and constant bliss. As before, we will always have problems. You can tell, though, the people who are generally happy, who maintain a sense of positivity and are able to bounce back after life gives them a knock. Sure, sometimes this is a result of privilege, but it is something that is accessible to everyone who truly wants it…and is willing to do the work for it.
The right work. Becoming a more positive person is not a matter of whether someone is hardworking or lazy. It’s a matter of bravery.
When we truly want to be happy, we make it happen.
The first step is committing, from this moment forward, to be responsible for our own happiness.
The second step is making that commitment again and again and again and again.
We have to let go of our unhappiness in order to be happy. It’s just common sense. We have to let go of our hold on the past to move forward. Yet this is not a one time purchase.
Life will poke at our negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. That’s not something that will ever stop. In fact, when we start on the path of happiness, we’ll notice the poking even more. Our default patterns will want to take over, and we must over and over choose to be positive.
This is very tiring work. Sometimes we will fail. We will choose poorly. We will default because it’s easier. But we will also succeed, choose well, and change. And it gets easier because it’s what we truly want. Over time, we change our default setting.
We first change our behaviors, until we’ve changed our overall energy. We go from making positive choices to being a positive person.
When we become positive people, we don’t stop having problems, but we can solve them. Maybe not always as in “solve for x,” but we can figure out how to handle our problems. It’s true that sometimes to solve a problem, what’s needed is a fresh set of eyes.
It’s possible. It happens. Happiness and positivity are ours for the taking when we really want them.
It’s a huge change, and change is scary. But it is absolutely a change worth making.
After all, it’s only the rest of your life.
So the next time you feel the urge to complain or someone complains at you, take a moment to discover a positive choice to handle the situation. You’ll know what to do, then do it. Each small step adds up to miles.