I feel like we, as a generalized collective, are obsessed with happiness. There are endless “happiness studies” and how they correlate to our levels of satisfaction, fulfillment, and access to certain privileges.
But if you think about it…
Can we really expect to be happy at ALL times? And aren’t rewards and other peaks of life easily habituated into normal routines anyhow? And, most of all, shouldn’t we learn to accept the natural ebb and flow of human emotions?
On the days that I stub my toe (AGAIN) on the bed frame or realize we’re out of peanut butter at the last minute…when some crazy driver cuts me off or a stranger is rude for no reason…when I have a headache and then my computer crashes. These are all normal situations that arise multiple times in a short span of memory. All the same, I get deeply disturbed by my own emotional disturbance! I want to hurry and feel happy again. This isn’t just personal but a relational thing too: my spouse gets incredibly upset when I’m “cranky.” I get that furrowed brow and a barrage of “what’s wrong?” “how can I make it better?” and so on because he “just wants me to be happy all the time.”
I mean, feeling bad and cranky is certainly not a NICE feeling. And we would never want our loved ones to feel terrible. But maybe we should aim for balance over perma-happiness. We should be able to recognize, work through, and accept cranky situations and bad emotions.
1. Accept that all people have emotional cycles. Having a bad moment is neither unexpected or unusual.
2. Mindfulness is not about controlling emotions but accepting them (and yourself) with kindness and allowing them to pass.
3. Situations are inherently neutral and meaningless. The bed frame is not out to get you. Running out of peanut butter is not a personal attack on you by the universe. And some people are just rude.
4. Given all that, it is up to us on how we choose to respond to situations and our own emotions.
<3 Ms. Cranko
(By the way, this is very different from those who are habitually angry)