I'll be posting various resources that I learn about that I think might be helpful, and of course I learn the most from my clients, so anything you'd like to share with me would be most appreciated.
from a conversation today: What are we attached to? Looking at how attached we can get to our identities, our image, our narrative, to others' views of us; but also to things, things we want, feel we need, lust after, cling to, hoard. Or fear. We can get attached to success, to happiness, but also to pain, to suffering, as well as the future focus on those things: wishing and hoping for the former, and fearing the latter.
But it all just is, the good and the bad. If we can remove the added layers of attachment we have to our experiences that comes from this ever-present future lens of hope and fear, then we are left with what is right now. And the challenge to more fully experience it now, whatever it really is now, not what we hope or fear it will be. And that is a different experience, often far less bad than we fear, sometimes more good than we let ourselves experience.
There is often a developmental stage people get to in which they stop focusing on acquisition, and they start clearing out, cleansing, purging. It's a simple cycle, eventually going out with what we came in with, for that to be enough, for there to be a fullness in the things that are there for us, without having to hold them, the things that are there for us, now. Detachment, release, surrender, acceptance.
This is an incredible power we have: whatever we focus on, we amplify.
This phenomenon works for us both within ourselves, and interpersonally. And it works both negatively and positively.
When I am down, I see the world through a negative lens, and consequently find more to be down about. When I am actively looking for the positive, I see more positive. So when I did the 100 Days of Happiness project, taking a picture of something that made me happy 100 days in a row, I started to build awareness around those things, and so I started seeing them more. This is what Gratitude research is all about; when we log three things we are grateful for every day, we are honing our focus, building awareness, and so we start seeing more of what we focus on.
Interpersonally, when I get focused on what I judge as negative in you, I am showing you a frustrated, angry, withheld part of me, all hard edges and cold eyes, which of course makes you tense, self-conscious, and resentful (for example), guaranteed to bring out the worst in you. When I focus on the positive in you, and especially when I actively reinforce it, you feel the warmth and good energy, which helps you relax, be yourself, and respond in kind. So simple, yet so powerful.
To fully understand this dynamic is to recognize a profound power that we all have.
This video does an excellent job of addressing the issue of normalizing mental health problems that almost everyone has at one point or another in our lives. Check it out:
I agree with my friend and colleague Jonathan Kopp, who wrote this:
"We act as if happiness is happiness. But it's not all one thing - there are different types of happiness.
In my experience, CONTENTMENT is a type of happiness that is underrated and even disparaged by our current culture. Every day, I see people in my office who really struggle to actually enjoy each new accomplishment or adventure. Their happiest moments are when they are *just* about to get there, and then the moment they do, they are lost to an anguished longing for the next, bigger thing.
This piece (linked below) says it well. I know that the word "mediocre" was used for effect , but I wish they hadn't. I think it undercuts the piece's strongest message.
Thanks to Claudia Bates Physioc for the pointer."