Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Love Yourself Tuesday

For today's love your yourself Tuesday post, I want to talk about dealing with unhappiness/dis-contentedness/general uncomfortableness. Everyone gets unhappy feelings sometimes. There are many different ways that people cope with these uncomfortable feelings. Some people get really busy so that they don't have to think about it; some people gripe at those around them; some cry and retreat inside themselves. There are many, many ways to cope with uncomfortable feelings.

I am not an expert on unhappiness, but I thought I'd talk a little bit about how I cope, in case it might help someone out there cope in a more loving way. First, it can be important to think about what is causing the unhappiness. Sometimes there is a specific thing that makes us unhappy. We can easily identify it. A pet dies. We don't have enough money to pay our bills. We go to the store for something specific, and they are out of it. Both big events and little events can lead to feelings of sadness and disappointment. When I find myself unhappy because of a specific event, I cope by either fixing or accepting or some combination of the two. If a pet dies, I need to accept because it is not something that can be fixed. The faster that I accept saying to myself, it happened, it cannot be changed, the faster my state of happiness returns. Although it is OK to be sad about sad things, there is no reason to allow a state of uncomfortable discontent to linger.

If I can't pay a bill, a combination approach might be needed. First, I figure out what or when I can pay something, and where the money is going to come from. Then I have to accept that the situation may not be perfect which may lead to some long term fixes like finding ways to increase income. If the store is out of something I wanted or needed, I can choose in the moment either to fix or accept. If I accept, I will just do without. If I fix, I may go to another store. Making the decision is the important thing. Acknowledging that this event is making me unhappy, deciding what to do, and letting go, leads to a better emotional state.

The second kind of unhappiness is the kind that is caused by hormones. I have very little control over it, and it tends to strike me exactly 14 days before my period starts, and yes, it lasts two weeks. It is not as bad as it use to be though because I do know how to cope. First I can label it. That helps. I don't think of it as unhappiness although it pretty much feels the same. I think of it as physical uncomfortableness...sort of like a back ache or sore foot or cold. When I start to cry, and there is no reason whatsoever that I can think of, I look at the calendar first thing, and it is nearly always my ovulation day, and it is no longer a horrible thing. It is empowering! It is just part of who I am. Each month, once I have made that revelation, I can move on doing the next thing living my life with that feeling that I know will pass. OK, I have to deal with it half the time, but it is just like a minor disability. Nothing to keep me down! Once again, acceptance is half the battle. Also it is useful knowing that I do things to minimize it. (In my case, take calcium and vitamin D supplements.)

The third type of unhappiness that I encounter is the most difficult to deal with. It is a general feeling of unhappiness that is not hormonal or caused by an obvious event that I can label. When I find myself experiencing this kind of discontent, I really need to set aside time to find out what is wrong! Usually there is something that seems little that is getting to me. Maybe it was easy to deal with to begin with but it has been building up and is distressing me. Maybe I am not doing enough things that I like to do. Maybe I don't have enough free time. Maybe I dislike something in my surroundings. Once again, accept or fix falls into place, but this time the tricky part often isn't the acceptance or fixing, but the figuring out!

I hope that some of you can relate to these types of emotions and find some useful information in this entry to help you cope with your own discontent in a healthy way.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Passion

After a long absence from this blog, I feel compelled to write an entry on passion. My blog tagline is "Following a philosophy of positivity, passion, and play." I think I have talked about positivity a lot here, and most people, if not all, have a pretty good concept of what equates play. Passion is a little tricker.

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines "passion" as "an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction." In philosophy, passions are often seen as a negative thing. These uncontrollable emotional urges that can lead one to sin or folly are seen as the greatest fault of humankind by many philosophical schools. On the other hand, what is the opposite of passion? Could it be apathy? Could it be a life ruled only by reason and logic with one rule following another in a steady march from birth to death?

In my experience, I have tried hard to live a life ruled by logic. My mind works in highly logical ways. I have met others who have also tried, and the result tends to be the same. A life ruled by logic is not only a life with less joy, it is also a life with little accomplished. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said, "Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion." I do not completely believe in that statement. I think some great things have been accomplished accidentally without even intent! I think some great things have happened because little things built up until it was nearly inevitable that they would occur. I think some great things have happened because of logic and reason. I think more great things would happen with passion though, and I think those great things would be accompanied by more personal satisfaction and joy!

So I choose to lead a life where I pay attention to passions, both mine and those of others who I interact with, both those positive and negative. Instead of fighting passion, I encourage listening to it, finding out where it originates, and if it resonates with who you are, following it. You just might be a little happier, and great things may follow!