Wed. Oct. 19, 2011
By Michael Kline
Wouldn’t it be great if happiness could be found in a seminar? Pay close attention to the workbook, note good notes, and go home to live happily ever-after? Let’s face it, if there was such a seminar, unhappy people would not be inclined to attend because much of unhappiness comes from the attitude that things are bad and it’s going to stay that way.
It turns out there are many seminars on finding happiness; most may be a bit abstract for the mainstream market. Most also assign too much homework for the chronically unhappy to bother with.
Setting aside the complexities offered by some great gurus and philosophers, theologians and psychologists, I’m convinced this is a pretty simple subject. I’m not saying it is easy; I’m saying it is simple. Albert Ellis, PhD, developed Rational Emotive Therapy back in the 1950’s. The simplicity, with which this concept (now called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) helps us live more enjoyable lives, makes me wonder why this isn’t taught everywhere.
Much of the work surrounds the concept of taking control of our emotions and taking responsibility for how we feel and how we behave in response to those feelings. Too often, we blame others for our feelings. For example, have you ever said “He makes me mad. She frustrates me. The boss got me upset this morning. or Tourists tick me off with their driving.”?
We blame others because we see them as the source of our feelings, when in fact, our own subconscious mind has been programmed to interpret the meaning of events and how we feel as a result.
We then respond, or behave according to those feelings. In situations like this, STOP trusting your feelings! It’s time to stop acting in negative and counter-productive ways based on how we feel. We need to act differently than we feel in order to break the cycle and reprogram our minds with neutral thoughts. Notice I did not say positive thoughts; positive isn’t necessarily the solution to negative. To develop the skill of thinking before responding to an event is to put you in control. To be programmed to always respond positively might leave you at times, being too passive to protect yourself. The goal is to not rely on pre-programmed responses from our subconscious mind, but to spend our energy on actually thinking.
This sounds like a lot of work, but with practice, it becomes second nature. If you were shopping for any other item to enjoy, you might want the best, most custom made-just-for-you, guaranteed to fit solution. So when shopping for happiness, does it make sense that you would want the custom made, well thought-out behavior to every situation?
When we behave in reasonable ways for the situation, when we eliminate the negative talk to others, and especially to ourselves, we end up much happier. Do you get feeling down when you hear someone constantly complaining and putting you down? Are you sure those voices aren’t in your own head?
Michael Kline is a local retailer, success coach and trainer. He may be reached through his website, www.klineseminars.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.