I grew up hearing that moods were a “gift” that you needed to go through in order to become a better person. I’m not sure how anyone came to that conclusion but that was what was passed down to me. Even heavy or dark moods were a gift.
Turns out it was simply and excuse for bad behavior. I was in my mid-twenties before I figured that out. I was going through one of those times where I felt completely ill-equipped to deal with whatever was going on in my life. It had only happened a few times before, but when this kind of depression descended I felt no other desire but to lock myself away from everyone and everything. I did so by shutting the drapes and unplugging the phone. I just allowed my self to disappear for awhile.
I didn’t want people to see me this way. I slept a lot, thought a lot and did a fair bit of feeling sorry for myself.
As I looked out of my window at the blizzard moving in – I felt the words “you’re choosing this, you can choose something else” come into my consciousness.
That seemed somewhat ludicrous when I considered what I had accepted as the truth until now. Moods were given, not chosen. They weren’t things that you really had a choice about. But I couldn’t shake the phrase. It just kept going around and around in my head; “you’re choosing this, you can choose something else”.
So, I did the only thing I could think of at the time; I put on a warm layer of clothes and grabbed a shovel out of the breezeway and began shoveling sidewalks. I cleaned up the public pathways and neighbors walkways for blocks and blocks. The snow continued to come and I continued to shovel. Hours later when I finally felt compelled to stop – the depression was gone. I had distracted myself long enough that I was able to choose a different emotion.
I look back at that moment twenty years ago now and recognize the gift my inner being was giving me in saying “you’re choosing this, you can choose something else”. I realized I had a choice in how I wanted to think about what was going on in my life in that moment.
Stuff happens! Sometimes things don’t go as planned. But whatever it is we always have a choice about how we’re going to think about it. Is it a curse or blessing; a problem or an opportunity? You can ask yourself “what’s the upside here?” or “is this situation giving me more clarity on what it is I really DO want?”
What happens when you shift the thought is that you get a glimmer of relief and once that bit of relief shows up you can begin a journey towards “moods” or emotions that feel better in your whole body. I know this seems like a really simple idea – and for some of you there might be a bit of push-back but all I can say is that this concept has greatly improved the quality of my life and by extension the life of anyone who was affected by my moods.
You may not always be able to choose what happens in your life but you can always choose how you’re going to feel about it.
When you get good at choosing better thoughts and feelings you create an energy shift that will dramatically increase the joy level in your life. Does that sound like something appealing to you?
If you want; the next time something makes you sad or angry or depressed or overwhelmed – allow yourself to feel it (don’t just shove it down and pretend it doesn’t exist), feel it and then make a deliberate attempt to feel something a little bit better.
Or if that seems impossible; DO something that gets you a little distracted from the moment at hand until you can look at it from a more pragmatic point of view and ask yourself some questions like:
- What’s really going on here?
- Is there room for another perspective?
- Do I need more information?
- Could I have misunderstood something or over reacted?
- Am I giving someone else power to make me feel something I don’t want to feel?
Learning to see situations from new angles is a life transforming skill.
There’s nothing more potent then the knowledge that you can control your thoughts and emotions. You can choose to feel better. It won’t necessarily be an instant change but change at any pace is still change. With practice you get quicker results. Practice is the operative word.
For many, the “holiday season” is loaded with opportunities to learn about choosing how you’re going to feel. If there are people or places that trigger negative stuff for you – are you willing to look at things differently? Are you willing to assume the responsibility for how you feel and quit allowing others to dictate that for you? If something happens that is less than ideal – take the time to reframe it. Believe the best in everyone even if they don’t give you lots of reason. Learn to see the good in every person and every situation and before long that is all you will see.
This holiday season – give yourself this amazing gift. Learn to see the LIGHT in everything and everyone. Choose how you’re going to feel and react. You are in full and complete control. Enjoy.
If you want to get better at choosing your emotions, check out my website below…
Layne Schmidt is the creator of www.RubyShuze.com, an on-line course for individuals who are interested in understanding what is getting in the way of experiencing what they want. With clear pragmatic exercises; RubyShuze will open you up to a whole new way of thinking that will transform your experiences in regards to Health, Love, Money and most importantly, your Sense of Self. All course work is practical and simple and is 100% Guaranteed. RubyShuze.com offers all kinds of additional resources, including a Free Monthly Newsletter.