Practicing happiness 15

Are you practicing feeling better/less bad?

It’s very powerful. I continue to have profound insights as I practice feeling better – I even have to remind myself “feel better” rather than digging into these wonderful insights; that’s how enticing they are!

For example, I just had the insight that even my efforts to feel better are coloured by my belief that I am not good enough in myself.

Feeling better is still the answer, but I had an expectation of “and then…” as if feeling better was leading to something transformative.

I call this my “escape” mode, or my “search for answers” mode. It’s a maladaptive attempt to regulate painful emotions by putting all my hopes in a transformative enterprise.

Just feeling better is instead about learning to self-regulate emotions constructively. That’s what feeling good is all about – being able to stay in positive emotions and sustain them.

I rejected that kind of goal in the past because life just seemed too miserable for emotional-regulation to be of value. To my mind that amounted to wilful blindness or self-sedation. It was better to be unhappy and searching.

But now I can see how that conclusion was itself the product of my environment. There were reasons why I felt that awful to begin with. Unfortunately my forays into religion and spirituality convinced me that life was supposed to feel awful, that there was something fundamentally wrong with the human condition.

So as I feel better these beliefs and ideas crop up occasionally, and I just keep on feeling better, appreciating them as they’re let go. As feeling better becomes more reliable and stable, I don’t need these maladaptive thoughts and strategies anymore.

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