It’s an odd question, in a way, isn’t it? On the one hand, we want the people in our lives to be happy (or so we say); on the other hand, we become somewhat jealous, perhaps envious, and maybe even a tad bit resentful when we see them being bubbly and joyful.
And, we wonder what the heck they’ve been smoking or drinking (or where they keep their rose-colored glasses) to have this sense of euphoria that we can’t quite seem to grasp for ourselves.
I heard someone recently comment that shared dysfunction is easier than hanging around a bunch of people and telling them how happy we are -- when they’re not. (Forgive the clichés, but “misery loves company” and “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” come to mind.)
When you consider all the negative and divisive, gloom-and-doom, dog-eat-dog kind of news that surrounds us 24/7, we almost can’t help but feed right into that spin cycle in conversations with our colleagues, our families, and our friends. After all, news about happy marriages, bi-partisan agreements, and peaceful demonstrations rarely make it to the list of “hot topics” at the water cooler. Safe to say, we do like our drama (super-size mine, please!).
And so the fire just gets bigger and bigger – unless, of course, we choose not to feed into it. But that’s not nearly as exciting as watching those brilliant (and toxic) red flames, is it?
Undeniably, we’re creatures of habit and so we tend to forget that we have free will and the power to choose. We can choose peace over war at any time, love over fear, forgiveness over resentment, laughter over tears, joy over heartache. And the list goes on.
It really takes something to be a fire-stop though, doesn’t it? You first have to realize when things are heating up and you’re getting dangerously close to the proverbial fire. So, how do you know for sure? Here are some clues:
1. When you see yourself or the world as negative
2. When something or someone is draining you of your time, love, or money
3. If you feel better when you’re not around a certain person or situation
Perhaps it’s time for a “second-half-of-the-New Year” resolution. Resolve to replace unhealthy habitual thinking with healthy habitual thinking. (It’s not the habit that’s killing us; it’s the type of habit in which we choose to indulge.)
Ironically, we often see no relationship between our way of thinking and our experience of being in the world. (It’s like not seeing the connection between the fast food we’re eating and the escalating number on the scale.)
So, don’t choose the company of misery or you’ll likely have a miserable life. And don’t succumb to the drama that’s happening around the water cooler. All of that is far too ordinary. Instead, choose to be happy; choose to be extraordinary.