View this post on Instagram
You’ve been sold a lie.
In fact, we all have.
Somewhere along the line, we were conditioned to believe we’re supposed to be happy and feel good all the time.
So when life throws the curve balls that inevitably it will, we get uncomfortable.
All these other emotions don’t feel nearly as good as happiness does.
While intense, boredom, grief, anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger don’t release the endorphins we get from happiness.
We don’t crave or seek out more of those emotions the way we do with happiness.
In fact, our response to any emotion other than happiness is to try to numb it or to make it go away. We feel as if these emotions are less valid and less valuable than happiness is.
We’ve been sold a lie.
We’ve been led to believe that happiness is the only emotion we should accept and that anything other than feeling good is bad. That if we allow ourselves to acknowledge that we are tired, anxious, scared, lonely—anything but happy—we are broken.
So when those other emotions pop up, when we realize there is a threat to our happiness on the horizon, we immediately spring into action to thwart that danger.
That is where the next lie comes in.
That something outside of ourselves and our own being can bring us happiness and joy.
Again, not true. Sorry. But we sure do doggedly pursue trying to create happiness through artificial means.
Rosé all day! CBD gummies! Essential oils! Take a shot! Go punch something. Throw some axes!
The suggested ways we can create happiness and artificially stimulate those pleasure centers are endless.
We don’t need any of those because we are not broken. We should not feel happy all the time.
All of those other emotions that pop up in life aren’t just valid—they are valuable. They create a full and fulfilling life. Those emotions are what allow us to appreciate when true joy and happiness exist in our lives. They create the colors and stories that shape us into who we are.
When we believe the lie that we are meant to be happy all of the time and numb every other emotion—through alcohol, other drugs, or whatever fix we turn to—we lose the opportunity to grow from the experience.
Life doesn’t happen in a bubble. It is painful, messy, exhilarating, thrilling, anxiety-ridden. It comes with successes and failures. Joy and grief. Highs and lows.
If we are not experiencing the full spectrum of life, then we are not living; we are merely existing. I lived that life already and I know I don’t want to settle for it. I believed the lie that I should be happy all the time. That there was nothing a drink couldn’t fix.
The problem was that this only created a need for more. That’s true for whatever we turn to for our quick fix. We get addicted to the high and the “instant relief” we get from our fix. That could be the swipe of the credit card, the sip from the wine glass, or the puff of the cigarette.
We end up feeling broken because we need our fix. And yet, our fix has become a burden. That happiness we expected to feel all the time is no longer there. What we feel instead is numb. There is no joy, no happiness, no anxiety, no sorrow. In our quest to forever feel good, we’ve become a shell of our former selves. That person who we thought was broken and needed to be fixed.
We were never broken and we still are not broken. We’re beautiful, we’re whole, and we deserve a full-spectrum life. Full of highs and lows, happiness and sorrow, love and despair. That mosaic is where beauty is created. It is where we discover the value of happiness because we’ve endured the pain and growth from every other emotion we’ve encountered.
One of the best ways to work through beliefs that limit us and might be burdensome is by using the ACT Technique.
ACT = Awareness, Clarity, and Turnaround
ACT is a three-step process to undo long-held beliefs. Making a change becomes easier because our beliefs, specifically our subconscious beliefs, will have shifted.
In this case, we will examine the belief that we should feel happy all the time. This names the belief and creates awareness around it.
Next comes clarifying the belief, where it came from, and how it feels inside us. Finally, we turn the belief around by stating a few reasons why the opposite of our long-held belief may be as true or truer than the original belief.
What might this look like in action?
I should feel happy all the time.
I believe that I should always feel happy and good. Everywhere I look that is what is projected. “Have a good day!” “Drink this or eat this to feel good!” “Join me for happy hour!” “Let the good times roll!” No one wants to hear about your bad day, your struggles, or your sorrows. It makes other people feel uncomfortable. Some of your experiences may have created and cemented this belief.
Is that true though? Or have people shown you compassion and understanding when you’ve gone through a difficult time in your life? Have there been times when expressing an emotion like anger or sorrow has made you feel better or created a connection with someone?
Rephrase the initial belief based on what you now know is true. Dig deep to find at least three reasons that the turnaround is as true or truer than your original belief.
Feeling other emotions is normal and helpful.
I cannot control my emotions any more than I can control other needs in my body like hunger or thirst.
Happiness cannot truly exist without feeling bad at times as well.
Learn more about using the ACT technique in The Alcohol Experiment. Over 290,000 people have taken part in this 30-day break from alcohol that allows you to regain your peace, clarity, and happiness!