it takes courage to be positive and happy when you’re hurting
sometimes we all need a little quiet contemplation
Reading back through my blog I’ve realised that so many of my posts are negative, critical of others, and quite cynical. My only excuse is that in recent years my heart has been hurting and my head has been confused. There is no cure for that unless one wants to change. You can’t stop being negative until you realise that there is another way of looking at life.
Well, there is going to be no more of that. It’s way past time that I looked on the bright side of life.
The world is a wonderful place, filled with dreamy clouds and blue skies if you have the will to search for them. Most people are good, interesting, and kind; and if you come across the other sort, someone truly toxic, then walk away from them, and don’t look back.
Be crazy, be weird, be stupid, be creative, be whatever ~ life is to short to be anything but happy.
I’ll get by with a little help from my friend.
Marmaduke is always happy
happiness is what we find at the end of the road
Right now, this minute, I’m damn happy. I have walked away from the person who was making me miserable, and you can make no more positive step on the road to happiness than that.
Not the Bob Marley original, but a happy version nevertheless.
Don’t worry, be happy.
most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be
there are so many good reasons to be happy
I’ve been miserable, depressed and stressed for months. All of that comes from within, but with a malevolent influence from something else. I would rather be happy than constantly suffering the slough of despondency. Most men are just as happy as they make up my minds to be. I’ve made up my mind to finally walk away from the alcohol that was the source of my unhappiness, and today I am happy.
So, some happy pictures for today.
Have a very blessed Tuesday.
the rocks were all painted by school children
there is only one happiness in life,
to love and be loved
I may not be your first date
first kiss, or first love
but I want to be your last
have a very loving day
every day is a new beginning, take a deep breath and start again
Yesterday I fouled up again. I wrote a post called It’s Too Bad That Love Is Blind, which was both a bit negative and quite misogynistic, and that is not the way I generally feel about the world these days. I guess I was having a bad time yesterday. You may already be aware that I have some very bad interludes in my quest to be a very cool guy living a really great life.
For years I suffered from an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) ~ which really fucks up your life. Now I have had a proper diagnosis, but have still had no treatment for this malady. To a large extent that’s OK, I can walk a long way down the road to recovery using self-directed therapy, which actually means buggering-on and doing the best I can to do things that will help me to get better. With the help of two very close friends I am much, much healthier in body, mind, and spirit than I used to be.
And wouldn’t you know that both of those very close friends are very remarkable women.
I quite firmly believe that without their help I wouldn’t be here today. Some 10% of suffers of BPD commit suicide, (which is about 1,000 times more than in the average population), but far more succumb to accidents, alcohol and drug abuse, and general ill health caused by a poor diet and bad personal care. A couple of years or so ago, before I was on the road to recovery, I managed to contract pleurisy, double pneumonia, and somewhere in there I also broke 5 ribs, (and I have no idea how that happened). I believe I would have died without the help of those remarkable women.
One of the symptoms of BPD is extreme and rapid mood swings, and in my case my emotions veer between happiness and anger, (poor labels but they’re the best I have). The extreme and uncontrollable emotions I suffer today are nowhere near as extreme and uncontrollable as they used to be, and the negative episodes are fewer and father between. Yet, sometimes there are days I am so angry I could cry, for no good reason whatsoever. I guess yesterday was one of those days.
The tears I cry are just as wet and painful as anyone else’s, and the emotions I feel are real. However, these feelings occur for no good reason except that somewhere in my childhood Borderline Personality Disorder was hard-wired into my mind.
Some say that crying is cathartic. And that there is nothing wrong with a grown man shedding a few tears. All I know is that almost unbearable mental anguish will have my crying tears of frustration. I also know that tomorrow will be a new day.
after all, tomorrow is another day
from discord, find harmony
When you are in harmony with yourself, four things are aligned: what you do, what you say, what you think, and what you feel. In those mindful moments, things flow without any sense of stress, tension, or negativity. Your senses, feelings, and emotions fit together and your life has less anxiety, depression, guilt, upset, and stress.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Gandhi
Being in harmony with yourself and others is all about being authentic, honest, open, kind, trusting, loving, reliable, and at peace with yourself. It is hard to be at peace with the people, places, and creatures around you when you yourself are not at peace. It is impossible to be at one with nature when you are not at one with yourself. Your heart and your brain should be in harmony.
He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe. ~ Marcus Aurelius
Sadly, most people never experience long-lasting harmony in their lives. Most chase after material gain, instant gratification, and transitory relationships.
To be in harmony is to do the simple things right, and to the very best of your ability, energy, and strength;
- If you want to stay sober, then stop drinking booze ~ don’t think you can ever take just one drink once in a while because you can’t.
- If you want to stop smoking, then stop going through the motions and get serious about never, ever, smoking another cigarette.
- If you want to lose weight and be fitter and healthier, then eat and drink well, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
- If you promise to help someone, then remember to be there for them and do the things you promised.
- If you think someone is being unkind and toxic, then stop pretending that all is well between the two of you. Share what you truly think and feel, and then do something about that relationship.
- If you feel anxious, depressed, and sad, then recognise and accept the emotions ~ in fact whatever emotions you feel, recognise and accept them. But, if you want to feel better, then start acting as if you are 100%
If you want the grace to live your own life, in your own time, then be strong enough to live in harmony with yourself and others and all of nature. Be authentic, honest, and open. Some toxic and untrustworthy people will pull away from you, but if you do all this you can expect to have more authentic, honest, open, kind, trusting, loving, and peaceful friendships and relationships.
Some say one thing while they are thinking and feeling the opposite. And most people lie, cheat, and steal. All I know is we compose our own harmonies in our lives.
to enjoy the scent of a rose
you must first brave the thorns
Our decisions make us who and what we are ~ and who we will become.
Perhaps happiness isn’t for me. In my life I know that I have made 3 very bad decisions, but more often then not I made no real decisions at all. I would just sit back and go with the flow, be a nice guy ~ perhaps say yes to often. And all those times I said yes were like small pebbles being dropped onto the top of a mountain. Eventually all those pebbles became the start of an avalanche which crushed me to death. Happiness doesn’t seem to be around for me just now.
am I happy?
I guess that would be a no.
So, I need to change something, probably me.
Happiness will not come to you. Happiness can only come from you.
There are lots of books, TV shows, podcasts, and blog posts that purport to tell us how to be happy. Some focus on the practical aspects, some on emotional states, some are spiritual, and some others are religious. Personally, I wouldn’t give much weight to anyone with religion telling me how to be happy, because it will always involve God, (in one way, shape, or form).
God and I went in different directions some time ago.
There are also lots of pithy inspirational sayings about happiness.
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Not everyone would agree with Roosevelt.
Therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, priests, and inspirational speakers can most likely give us a host of things we can do to improve our happiness. From; building a growth mindset for happiness, to being optimistic, to ending negative thinking, to taking breaks from social media, to trusting in your higher power, and having a healthy lifestyle. Having a healthy lifestyle sounds like a good start to me.
Another good start to greater happiness, that comes both before and after having a healthy lifestyle, is dealing with your addictions. I have yet to meet an alcoholic, problem drinker, drug addict, casual drug user, chronic gambler, someone who often has casual sex, or anyone with an eating disorder who was happy in any way shape or form. Addicts and people who go against their inner beliefs always live with inner misery.
In fact the list of people who live in utter misery is both long and heartbreaking. The very sick, the starving, the poor, people living on the streets, those who have recently lost a loved one, refugees, and anyone who abuses their body, mind, and spirit are likely to enjoy little real happiness.
However, some say that you only need 3 big things to be happier;
- Work. Most people don’t like or enjoy their work, which is sad and bad. Those people should bite the bullet and find a better job for them. But being out of work means you’re going to be broke and miserable, and work gives you money.
- Money. Money can’t buy happiness, but try living flat broke in modern society to know what misery is. Having just enough money will make you happier than being broke.
- Marriage ~ or a stable long-term relationship. This gives you things like friendship, security, and sex. People who live alone for too long are usually miserable and can become mentally ill.
It’s much more complicated than that, but I guarantee that if you don’t have all of those three things you will be very unhappy, probably depressed, and perhaps even suicidal.
Some say that money can’t buy you love. And that sex without love is just a meaningless mechanical act. All I know is that for a healthy person to live without sex and companionship is almost the definition of misery.
friendship, companionship, and sex may come in many different forms
All happiness depends upon courage and work.
For a little while I’ve been trying to work out what is really important in Life. In as simple terms as possible, what is that we all strive for, what do we really want, what is life all about, really? So help me, I came up with; Health, Wealth, and Happiness.
I don’t think these desirable states of being are even on the standard Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. However, I believe that you can’t have good health, sufficient money to live reasonably well, and sufficient contentment to deem yourself happy, unless the criteria within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also being met. You know, Maslow was much smarter than just drawing pyramids, he was also a deep thinker when it came to the science of happiness.
The only happy people I know are the ones who are working well at something they consider important. ~ Abraham Maslow.
Wishing people health, wealth, and happiness used to be a very common toast in my part of the world. Perhaps these days some people may turn their noses up at the ‘wealth’ part ~ most likely those people have never know what it is to be dirt poor.
- Health. By this we really mean having Good Health, for the great majority of your time on this Earth. But, like all things, good health is a paradox. In comparison to our forefathers we are all in good health, but future generations may well look back and pity the standards of health and fitness we know today. For my personal health I like yoga and long walks.
- Wealth. Conspicuous wealth isn’t so important, but having enough money to comfortably meet the criteria of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is desirable. Money may not be able to buy you love, but money will get you a fair amount of sex. Money gives you freedom from many worries. Having a little spare cash creates opportunities. Personally, I’d rather be miserable with a few pounds in the bank than miserable and broke.
- Happiness. The great imponderable. For many of us happiness comes from being fit and healthy, and having enough money to be free from many worries. Happiness is also not having a host of negative emotions; anger, envy, fear, jealousy, lust… There are as many ways to real happiness as there are people on this planet of ours.
I found real happiness the day I stopped being a wage slave. Happiness also comes from not being pestered by idiots, such as your boss. Phone calls from telemarketing people, Google filling my screen with crap and not what I searched for, Facebook targeting me with advertisements for things I’ve long since moved on from, and people with clipboards wanting to talk with me in the street ~ all of these things seem designed to disrupt my health, wealth and happiness. I have a simple answer for those leeches~ fuck off, and please don’t keep in touch.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. ~ Shakespeare.
Being at peace with myself, knowing that I’ve not been a leech or a jerk, means that I can go to bed at night feeling somewhat happy. But, like most people I’m never totally satisfied with my day’s endeavours.
On the other hand, I can easily walk a dozen miles a day, I can do yoga on the beach in the sunshine, I eat well, I have no money worries, and don’t go to bed feeling like crap. So, perhaps real Health, Wealth, and Happiness is possible after all.
yoga for men is cool
We cannot control our emotions.
Various psychologists, behavioural scientists, and sundry people in white coats, disagree a little on just how many human emotions there are. They also tend to disagree on exactly what these feelings do to us.
However, trolling through their divergent opinions, and adding a little basic common sense, we can come up with a more or less definitive list of the main human emotions. These are; Anger, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, and Love. Personally I’d add another, I think Lust is a very powerful raw emotion. Or maybe Lust only affects men?
We can call these raw emotions by other, more polite, names. Lust is transformed into desire, and many of us call the feeling of desire Love. How many men have said; ‘I love you’, when what they truthfully meant was; ‘I desire you, I want you’? I know I have fallen into that despicable sexual trap in the past.
For most of us, by far the strongest emotion is . It’s what keeps people in dysfunctional relationships, lousy jobs, and mind numbing routines. We are afraid of change, we fear abandonment, we fear loss of status, most of all we fear death.
Those of us who have, or have had, a psychological / mental illness have an intimate relationship with fear. The emotionally disturbed are often a maelstrom of Fear and Anger.
For aeons the heart was thought to be the seat of emotions, especially Love. Now, most respectable scientists profess that the brain is where emotions live. Although, some left field professors say that the gut is where emotions begin. Me, I’m neither respectable nor a scientist, and the last time I wore a white coat was at a costume party. I don’t know where our emotions live, and I don’t know exactly how they work.
However, I do know where your emotions come from.
Our emotions and instincts are hard-wired into our body, mind, and spirit. They originate as far back in time as when the first thing crawled out of the primeval slime. Emotions and instincts are what drove the survival behaviours of things that could never be described as intelligent life. What do you think drove the raw savagery of Tyrannosaurus Rex? What do you think makes sharks such a successful life-form?
Instincts and raw animal emotions bypass the intellect. Emotions have nothing to do with intelligence and common sense. Emotions are powerful in exactly the same way that thought isn’t. From the moment life began emotions controlled the behaviour of all life forms, and emotions still control human behaviour today.
Intellectually, a man can know that some particular woman is bad for him, yet will he willingly give her up? Probably not because his emotions completely override his common sense. If she thinks about it, a woman may know that it’s stupid to stay with a man who mentally, emotionally, physically abuses her ~ yet how many women are trapped in abusive relationships because their emotions won’t let them leave him?
Most of us will do almost anything to assuage our emotions. Some of us will go to any lengths to satisfy our raw emotions ~ up to and including the death of self and / or others. Emotions are the most powerful driving forces in each of our lives. Positive, or negative, or a mixture of both, we are each controlled by our feelings. All that intelligence and intellect does is to overlay some civilisation on top of our innate savagery.
Me, Us, You, Them, can do something about these emotions that drive our every action. We can’t stop the feelings, and we can’t control the feelings, but we can control what we do.
You may get so angry with your partner that you want to stab them in the eye with a sharp knife. You may fear the outside world so much that you never want to leave your home. You may think you love someone so much that you willingly sublimate your identity just to please them. Yet our intelligence and intellect will eventually tell us that we need to escape into the broad sunlit uplands of rationality.
At that point you may seek counselling, psychiatry, medical help, inspirational speakers and writers, or self-help groups. Trust me, none of that will do you any good at all. These people will probably tell you to control your emotions, and that’s as impossible as turning back the tide.
The only thing we can do is accept these emotions and at the same time unconditionally accept ourselves. We must recognise that life is difficult, painful, and mostly beyond our control. We must be prepared to make some brave choices. Leaving the one you’re with may tear your heart in two, but that’s just a raw primeval emotion, the feelings will pass, and the sooner we make those brave choices the sooner our emotions will stop torturing us.
Your emotions are utterly beyond your control. Your emotions also lie to you. Your emotions may make you feel bad or good, but those are just feelings, they have nothing to do with reality. The reality is that your emotions lie to you, that’s their job, they developed to keep a cave-man alive. In this day and age we need the sense to accept our emotions for what they are, a very broad brush indeed.
See beyond your emotions. See the world in it’s true colours. Enjoy your emotions when they are good, but don’t get carried away. Live with your emotions when they are bad, but accept bad emotions as the storm flags they really are. And, at this time of year, let yourself feel the innocent joy and of love of Christmas.
these thoughts are mine and mine alone