I recently just finished another favorite self-help book (they don't all get put into my favorite list) and it is The Book of Hidden Secrets by Deepak Chopra. During the reading of it I received a text from a friend that is pregnant. She knows that I have dealt with depression and mental health and was wondering how to deal with all of the ICK feelings during pregnancy (body image issues, hormone waves of self doubt, constant negative talk, etc). It was crazy, because as much as I know from experience of how to climb out of suffering (and I don't recommend learning that way), I had just turned the page where he explains the "formula for suffering", and oh man, it hit the nail on the head.
THE HANDBOOK OF HOW TO SUFFER
step one: overlook actual facts
step two: adopt a negative view on the situation
step three: reinforcing the negative view with obsessive thinking and talking (and googling)
step four: getting lost in the pain without looking for a way out
step five: comparing yourself to others
step six: cementing the suffering through relationships
to make it fun, I'll give you an example from my own personal life that has been a source of suffering for me and how I was able to release it and be joyful. It was YELLING. I didn't start yelling at my kids until my 4th pregnancy, and then it went on to grow to epic proportions. there is pain when you yell at your kids, inside of you. and I took that pain and morphed it into total suffering. enough so that I drove myself to almost the brink of insanity. maybe I'll talk about that in another post, it's fun! hallucinations! hearing voices! it's a real page turner. but for now...suffering.
So, I yell at my kids. Let's put that into the handbook:
1. overlook actual facts.
do I yell all the time? no. do I love my kids and show that love? yes. did I always yell? no. does this mean I will ALWAYS yell at my kids? no! have other people learned how to not yell at their kids? YES! have successful happy adults come from homes where their mom yelled? uh...YES!
2. adopting a negative view: I CAN NOT CHANGE. I will always yell so I'm going to ruin their lives (and my own)
3. reinforcing the negative view with obsessive thinking/talking/googling.
one of the best things I heard about this was from my friend Kathryn: her dad was a school teacher and as they were driving to school she was talking on and on and on and on about some fight that had happened at school and how she was right and they were wrong and just dramadramadrama and she was worked up enough about it she could barely take a breath. her dad just looked at her calmly and said, "if you stop talking about it, you'll stop feeling it." and it is truth. just let it go!
ok women, I know you are mad I just said let it go. because we are amazing at NOT DOING THAT! and if you don't understand how our brains work then you will just think that what you think and feel is TRUE because you see it everywhere. you will see horrible moms yelling on tv if you think it's true, you will see them at the store, you will see them at Disneyland, you will see it everywhere. you will see that moms can just never change if that's what you believe.
4. getting lost in the pain without looking for a way out:
"yelling hurts me, and I know it hurts my kids. But this is how I am and this is how it will be. I can't change. so we will always be a house full of sadness and hurt and me yelling."
now go fill up a jacuzzi with all those thoughts and beliefs, and then soak in that for 20 years and tell me how it feels. it sounds AWFUL. and there is always a way out!
5. comparing yourself to others.
I feel like this is self explanatory. don't ever compare. it is the biggest and easiest excuse to feel sorry for yourself. "You are a child of god with great worth"- Gordon B Hinckley. God didn't send us here to be miserable. He didn't say, "well some of you are going to have it rough and will only be able to be miserable your ENTIRE LIFE, so sorry you got the short end of the stick!" no! he gave all of us the innate God given power to create the life you want. you are here to learn how to be happy, not hopeless.
COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY- is one of my favorite quotes and is from teddy Roosevelt, a small, sickly boy who had no hope for success. no, his older, stronger and handsome brother was going to be the star of the family. instead of comparing himself to his brother, Teddy took his talent (his mind) and dedicated to making a healthy body and successful career for the rest of his life.
6. cementing the suffering through relationships.
ok, this one is going to be a tough one to write. but it's true. and the truth hurts. if you are tired of a negative thing in your life and you really truly want to change, look at your friends. do they also have that negative quality or circumstance in their life? if you are tired of being depressed and tired and yelling, look at your mom friends. if they are always depressed, and tired and yelling without looking for positive parenting tips and self-help books and trying to grow and be better then it's TIME FOR A CHANGE honey. Pick the 5 people you hang out with and in 5 years you will be just like them. I know these are some hard apples to chew, but it's true. you don't have to be rude about it, but start hanging out with people who inspire you. People who are progressing in their life, who take their obstacles and turn them into stepping stones, not excuses. love everyone for what they've taught you about your life and what you want in it, bless them, and move on. or you can use my favorite saying, "BYE FELICIA".
I hope these steps to suffering will also help you to see the steps to HAPPINESS!
1. look at all the facts (ALL OF THEM)
2. always look until you find the positive view of a situation
3. reinforce the silver lining! by talking about it!
4. always look for ways out of the pain (hit your bed with a tennis racket. get a massage. scream into your pillow. imagine pushing that person off a cliff. write all the negative feelings down and then burn the paper etc...so many ways to get the negative out)
5. don't compare yourself (duh)
6. surround yourself with positive and uplifting people, places and things!
from one recovering miserable person to the next, I can tell you that there IS joy and peace inside of you. there are ways to learn how to change, surrender and let go of the old you. and the more you learn about how we choose to suffer, you will be able to see how to choose how NOT to!