Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Many of my clients, patients, friends, family, and once or twice people who I have just met, have heard me raving about a book I read recently. A book that I always begin by describing as “not my usual type of book”. Part of this is because, I suppose, I am a little be embarrassed by this and also because the fact that I did buy it and then read with the ferocity that I did. Anyway the book, The Universe Has Got Your Back, was recommended to me by Amazon – based on what, I don’t know. But I went with it, because y’know, Universe.
Around the same time, a friend came to me with a problem that, I will be honest I didn’t know where to begin with in helping them. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t feel I was in a position to counsel them and I felt like it was a situation that I couldn’t relate to. I slept (badly) on it and went back to them the next day and I did the best that I could to help. However, it’s lingered in my head and I have had to try and find a way to resolving this for myself.
The truth was, it made me feel really sad. I found myself questioning a lot of what I had seen and heard and I started to doubt my own ability to read and know people. I know that I am not alone in ever having had this feeling, and I am certain many of you can relate. I found myself going back to my default position of “protect your heart” or as one of my closest friends has said “protect your soul”. But in doing this, sometimes we just shield ourselves and we don’t deal with things. I had to find a way to reconcile my own feelings, rather than shut down and distance myself as in this situation I really wasn’t able to just step away emotionally.
So, going back to “The Universe” book, the Bernstein speaks a lot about leaning into joy and away from fear (bear with me!) and while I read this a lot of it made sense. In every situation we can chose how we view it, and how we react. It’s the old cliché, “happiness is an inside job”. And as annoying and as irritating as that phrase is, it’s actually painfully true. Because even on the crappiest of days, there is something good. (I’m sure that there is another “pintresty” quote there but I won’t allow myself to be pinterest enough to think about it. See, inside job!)
I truly believe funk days are good, lord knows I have plenty of funk-moments myself, however if you are going through a major hardship, not just a funk; a loss, the end of a relationship, you don’t have to see the good in the day. That can wait and it will come. But in everyday life and with every day challenges, we can change our perspectives and flip things to help us reframe it and move on. While I read the book, I came across a line that stuck with me, but that I cannot for the life of me find again. However a quick google and I came across this, also from a Bernstein book, and it makes as much (if not more) sense to me, “Whenever we place our happiness and peace in anything outside of ourselves, we'll inevitably feel unfulfilled and stuck.” *
I was finding myself falling deep into the funk whenever I thought about my friend’s situation and while I told myself, “not my circus,”** it still stuck with me and I knew that I had to change how I felt about it. I was allowing this it to drag me down, because it was making me doubt myself. On top of being down about it, I was also getting annoyed that I was allowing myself to be affected so much by someone else’s actions. My peace was being fully determined by the actions of someone else, someone who I had then distanced myself from and yet I was still feeling this way.
This is something that we are all guilty of though, we allow others to dictate how we feel about ourselves, and this isn’t good for anyone. So what do I recommend?
· Ask yourself “does this even matter?”
· Step away from the situations that make you feel “funky”
· Decide what you can and can’t do
· If you need help, ask for it
· Find the positives, laugh about what you can.
· Realise that it is nothing to do with you.
It's not just problem situations that can lead us to depending on others for our happiness, it can be the invite you didn't get, or the text or the call back that never came. It happens to us all daily, what we need to do, for our own happiness, joy or peace of mind is remember in the end it's all down to us.
**”Not my circus, not my monkeys”, one of the greatest pieces of advice I can ever give.