There are so many ways we can construct “truths” that may be misleading.
As doctors, we need to put together cause and effect whenever possible. But it is easy to fall into the trap of coincidence and draw conclusions that put us on the wrong path.
For example, ice cream sales are highest in the Summer.
Shark attacks against humans are highest in Summer.
So, does ice cream cause shark attacks?
Likewise, cold weather is most common in Winter.
The days are the shortest in Winter.
So does cold weather shorten days? You get my drift.
Since most people admit to being unhappy, does that mean that being human causes unhappiness? I
s there a shortage of happiness?
Is unhappiness just what you must accept?
Is there only enough happiness to go around for a select few?
If so, then who decides who gets gifted with happiness?
I’ve heard too many people say to me, “I’m just not meant to be happy”. The truth is, there is neither a shortage of happiness nor unhappiness. There is plenty of both to go around.
Your state of being is constructed slowly over the course of a lifetime. It is based on childhood and teenage experiences, the way you were parented, sibling relationships, societal norms and beliefs, religious dogma, feedback from teachers, peer pressure (including bullying), the presence or lack of love in your life, the presence or lack of trauma, etc.
In other words, what you believe about yourself, based on all your life experiences, is what determines your self-value, self-esteem and self-awareness and determines whether or not you will grow up unhappy.
Living in a state of unhappiness tends to limit your possibilities for varied reasons.
I’ll highlight a few here that I believe are universal.
Firstly, exposing your unhappiness tends to create discomfort, so many people keep it to themselves for fear of being judged.
Secondly, reaching out for help puts you in a vulnerable position because you may now be communicating that “you can’t handle things on your own” and that causes shame.
In addition, feeling unhappy leads to self-protection and rigidity, so many will cower from truly emotionally intimate relationships where growth can occur. The truth is, unfortunately, that nothing changes in a vacuum.
Living in a state of unhappiness tends to limit your possibilities for varied reasons. Click To Tweet
What does this mean for those people who feel unhappy? Since millions of experiences may have formed them into the person they are, does that mean they can never be happy?
Remember, human emotional intelligence, based on the development of the pre-frontal cortex, does not fully mature until at least 25 years of age. Therefore, I can entertain the argument that up until that point, we are victims of all that came before. Conditioning is slow, surreptitious and sometimes completely unconscious.
However, once we have full emotional capacity, we have the ability to assess our lives and confront the demons that have led us to this state of unhappiness. AND THIS IS WHERE ALL UNHAPPY PEOPLE MUST DWELL.
Once you can be brutally honest with yourself and let down your internal defenses, you can open up to the power inherent in your adult experience. And that is the power of choice.
Yes, I believe that happiness is a choice. The same way you chose to become a doctor and did all the hard work needed to graduate, get your degree, train in your residency program and eventually become an attending, you can also choose to become happy!
All it takes is the same determination, hard work and commitment that you already proved to yourself that you are capable of!
How do I know this? Because I was a dreadfully unhappy person. I felt the world had it in for me. I felt I was doomed to never be happy. But I am now. And not just a little happy. I am a very happy man, extremely contented and satisfied with my life. How did I do it?
What it requires is that you shed yourself of shame, allow for discomfort (just of a different type since you already live in a perpetual state of discomfort), and accept the fact that it is ok to reach out for help. Pay attention to that word – HELP. Help is a really good thing. You must change your association with the word help and embrace what it can do for you.
To become something different, you must do different things.
If you want to be happy, choose it! Do what it takes to create the transformation. Get the help you need to de-program all of those subconscious beliefs that have you stuck in a world of unhappiness. Change the circumstances you feel stuck in and victimized by. And most importantly, do it for you. Not for anyone else.
That is how you build an authentic life that resonates with YOUR goals, dreams, desires and passions. And that is where you will find happiness.