Last week I had an inspiring video chat with a friend who I met through Rotary. During our conversation he made a comment after reflecting on my social media pages that I seemed to have a well-balanced life and seem to have things ‘together.’ I replied saying that while I am balanced a lot of the time, I do get really stressed sometimes too (side note - why do we do that thing when someone says something even remotely close to a compliment where we immediate say something negative about ourselves? This is something I actively point out to people when they do it and I pulled myself up on it as soon as the words left my mouth.. back to my point) to which he replied, ‘well we aren’t meant to live like a Buddhist monk statue.’
I have these two-adorable mini baby monk statues at home that I can’t help but smile every time I look at them for two reasons. 1. They were a gift from my aunty/godmother who gave them to me just because they reminded her of me, both were given at separate times and when I look at them I feel grateful for such thoughtful gifts. And 2. They look so incredibly peaceful, like they are in complete bliss without a worry in the world. I feel that bliss for a moment whenever they are around.
As a life coach and in social conversations, I often hear others say that all they want is ‘to be happy.’ In social conversations I tend to just listen however when working as a coach, I always respond to this with ‘happiness is a feeling.’ Yes, we can cultivate feelings within us, however we cannot feel one feeling all of the time. And if we start to label our range of feelings as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we can start to feel like a failure whenever we feel ‘bad’ feelings.
To be a whole human we need to accept our full range of emotions. All of our feelings come with beautiful messages that if we allow ourselves to hear, come with important learnings. Feeling a little stress or nerves lets you know something is important to you. Feeling pure joy helps you know you are on the right path. Feeling sad can be a sign to retreat and be alone or can be a sign to be around others for support. Feeling excited when you hear of a knew opportunity lets you know to go for it. Rather than suppress and pushing down the feels, let yourself hear the message.
People often think that the opposite to ‘happiness’ is ‘sadness’ but really the opposite to happiness is boredom. If your life goal is ‘to be happy’ often what you really want is to feel fulfilled and excitement about your life. So, stop fixating on the idea of being happy and start to think how you can discover ore of your life purpose, what can you spend your time doing that will bring you the most joy?
Let every feeling that comes up for you be fully experienced and then let it pass. Let yourself feel stressed and let it pass. Let yourself feel joy and know that, that too will pass. Let yourself feel excited, nervous, angry, jealous and loved and always let it pass. If you want to learn more on how emotions move though our body and impact us physically I highly recommend the documentary E-Motion.
Remember that you are not a Buddhist Monk statue, you are not here to ‘be happy’ all of the time. You are here to live a full life.
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