We limit our own growth and spiritual development.
“I’ll be really happy if Negative Neil doesn’t come to the party.” I go to the party. Sure enough, Negative Neil attends. I grouse, complain, and shuffle off to a corner to pout. Neil has a great time.
“I was so looking forward to the event in the community center this weekend. But some so-and-so sat in ‘my seat.’ How dare him! He ruined the event for me.”
Each of the above examples demonstrates how we can (and do) limit our own happiness. Not the toxic person at the other end of the room or the person sitting in “my” seat—who probably does not even know me or that I have staked out squatter’s rights in my mind.
In these situations we might do well to ask if it is the disturbance that disturbs me or something inside of me.
Singer examines the connections between thoughts, emotions, and actions. Using the metaphor of a thorn, he speaks of inner disturbances that rob us of peace.
Consider a thorn that is embedded in your skin. It hurts. A lot. But, rather than remove it we protect the thing which stunts our development. We leave it be and allow it to bother, irritate, and hinder our growth. We orchestrate our lives to avoid “dealing” with it as that would be, in our minds, just too tiresome and painful. So we continue with the pain the rest of our lives. We torture ourselves and limit our growth.
The same happens between neighbors, city leaders, or racial, ethnic, and religious groups. Rather than deal with the disturbance (the root cause), we avoid it. The pain and fear fester.
Video recommendation for the week.
How can you identify and then remove your inner thorn?
The thorn and our avoidance will impact wellbeing for ourselves and those near to us. Of course, Singer suggests, we hinder our own happiness.
“Your happiness of course is under your control.
It’s just that you don’t really mean it when you say you’re willing to stay happy.
You want to qualify it. You want to say that as long as this doesn’t happen, or as long as that does happen, then you’re willing to be happy….any condition you create will limit your happiness.”
“I’d be happy if that negative guy were not here!” “I was ready to be happy tonight but that moron took my seat!”
We grumble. We make ourselves unhappy. Blame others. Protect the thorn. And stew in our misery.
And as Singer says, we are “not helping anyone by being miserable.”
Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
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(c) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.