Question : I have gone through a lot in my life. I usually tend to get into a depressive mood very easily. Lot of my relatives and friends ask me to focus on the positive and focus on doing things that make me happy. They even tell me that being depressive is not spiritual. I try my best to be happy, but the more I try, the more I get back to being depressive! How do I become happy and spiritual?
“What is the obsession with being happy in the spiritual movement? Why is it that this ONE emotion is better than any other? When we act positive all the time, we totally miss out on this huge array of other possible feelings. Trying to force happiness is like trying to force a plant to grow. You can do it, sure, but it’s not real.
Think about it, because I see a lot about “being positive”, but it doesn’t take into consideration that in order to create positivity, one must first take what IS (the negativity), and make it into something new! And you can’t fill a cup that’s already full.”
I have often seen people who reject their darker sides/emotions because they always want to be happy. But remember Carl Jung’s words – “What you try to resist the most, Persists!”
Please do read my earlier post on “What you resist, persists“ to get a more complete picture of what I’m talking about here.
All emotions that the Human Mind feels are necessary for the mind to remain healthy. Many of our negative emotions serve as pointers and reminders to take action. They are all tools in our spiritual growth. Not wanting Negative emotions in your life is like saying “I do not want tires in my car because they get very dirty and go through all the mess on the streets!”
However, it is the birthright of every human to be in a state of Happiness. In this post, I would like to list out a few steps to work with yourself and do your bit to get over those emotions that hold you back.
1. The first step you need to take is to acknowledge what you feel at this moment. You need to recognize all the emotions that you are going through are a part of you. Just because they are negative, they are not bad. They are very real and they are speaking to you. Acknowledge their presence.
For example, you could stand in front of the mirror and just tell yourself “I’m absolutely scared right now that I will be alone all my life.”
2. Take Responsibility for yourself. I have seen that the state of fear is most often at the core of all difficult emotions. Can you recognize the fear that is deep inside of you, that is driving all of these emotions to surface and keeping them in place? What are you really scared of? Introspect and get in touch with your worst fears.
3. Let go of all people involved in the situation. They are not responsible for the way you feel. Whether you like it or not, your emotions are purely yours. You are now taking responsibility for your emotions. It is your responsibility to learn, grow and bring yourself to a point where you do not feel like a victim of life or a victim of other people. Keeping yourself stuck in a “Blame-Game“ is not going to get you out of your emotion.
4. Then, let go of all the things that you feel you could have done better. Do some form of a forgiveness ritual with yourself. Taking responsibility is healthy, but that does not mean you blame yourself. Remind yourself that you really did go through a lot in your life and in all those moments when you weren’t doing what you wanted to do, you were mostly reacting out of pain. It is OK. You can now work through the pain and start making conscious decisions in life.
5. If Life is a teacher, what do you think Life has been trying to teach you? Many spiritualists believe that Life is a wonderful teacher. And your Soul is a student of Life that sets out on a journey of learning and growth.
They say, when you want to learn how to be courageous, life makes you experience moments of extreme weakness, so that you may ultimately find your inner strength. Similarly when your Soul wants to learn how to take care of yourself and love yourself, Life presents you with experiences where people do not reciprocate love and they abandon you. Ask yourself, what do you need to learn in order to experience life differently?
6. Most painful patterns have their seeds in childhood – mostly with our parents. Start reflecting on your childhood and think about all your experiences while growing up. Is there a connection between what happened when you were little and what is happening now? Did you see parents who were themselves sad and low most of the time? Have you ever seen a healthy role-model in your formative years who lived happy? Look around, do you see at least one role-model in your life right now who embodies a happy life?
Perhaps this might also be a good stage for you to start seeking professional help – with someone who can help you work through all of those painful memories and emotions.
It is only when you have worked at acknowledging what is and working your way out of what holds you down, can you rise to something you want to reach up to. Being Happy is good. Being happy is Spiritual. But Being Happy is a process. It is not a quick-fix, overnight solution! It involves a bit of work and a lot of love and compassion for yourself.
Do not force the ‘plant to grow’. Allow it to grow and soon you will see it as a source of shade, comfort and joy to all that behold it.
NOTE : The questions and answers in this series are compilations of discussions during therapeutic sessions with my clients. These are not generic pieces of advice. I am deeply aware that these answers can seem way too simplistic for people actually going through similar situations. Please comment or connect with me if you find yourself grappling with something I have expressed.