Monday, 22 May 2017

I Was Guilty... & The Truth About The Search For Happiness

I wrote the majority of this post flying at 35,000ft.

It's often where I get my best insights and ideas.

This time I was fuelled, seeing a magazine article in the airport titled 'How To Be Happy Everyday'. Those of you in my Facebook Community 'Compassionate Inner Light' would have seen my Facebook post as it happened. 

Maybe I misunderstood the article.

Maybe I didn't.

Often though, articles like that bring more pressure than pleasure.

Yes, we are the ones that attach meanings to situations... yes we create how we feel. However I feel the need to clarify a few things because there are so many misconceptions and misleading articles. 

With 5 years of professional experience in the self-awareness world, I've seen a lot of rubbish out there and I've also seen many authentic, heart driven professionals. I've lost my way a few times too, trying to find the balance between putting the message out there without trying to make anyone feel broken. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not, and in the last year especially I've realised the importance of this. 

Professionals are not in charge of what the reader feels and what meanings they attach to things however I believe we have a responsibility to put out a message of hope, reassurance and support - emphasising that no one is broken. We may feel broken at times, though at our core, no one is. And it deeply saddens me that there can be individuals reading magazine articles like the one I saw, thinking 'I'm not happy every day... there's something wrong with me... I need what they're selling'.

Stop right there. 

There is nothing wrong if we don't feel happy ALL the time.

Click To Tweet: "We're not the emotions we feel... we're just experiencing them" Emma Bradford

For most of my life, I was caught up in what people call 'Spiritual Bypassing'. Only focusing on the light. Ignoring the shadow. Suppressing and ignoring heavier emotions. Probably why a few challenges came into my life to slap me in the face and 'wake me up' - so I could finally start acknowledging my fears.

I'll be honest, being a naturally optimistic person I still have my moments. Though thanks to NLP and great life challenges the steps towards wholehearted living are even more frequent. 

The most important being honesty with myself.

To live wholeheartedly avoiding spiritual bypassing doesn't mean we have to broadcast publicly every single time we feel an emotion (whether that's on social media or other) unless we feel called to do so.

What it means simply is being as authentic and honest as we can. Living with awareness towards our perfect messy humanness. To live wholeheartedly means that we acknowledge how we feel... being honest with ourselves and others, noticing, observing and expressing that as we feel the need, in a healthy way whether be it through creative activity such as (dancing, writing...) and/or heartfelt communication etc.

So that magazine article title got me thinking...

There's a HUGE difference between desperately searching for instant happiness every moment, running away from pain compared to creating long lasting satisfaction and happiness of life accepting the ups and downs.. 

1) Desperately searching for happiness, often invites us to use vices that bring only short lived pleasure or obsessively setting goal after goal seeking to improve our lives out of fear of where we are... never feeling happy with the current moment. "I'll be happy when I have___(fill in the blank)___". This state is fearful, future based and unappreciative of the gifts the present moment can bring.

2) Creating long lasting life satisfaction is actively connecting to what we love and what fills us with joy at a deep Soul level regularly. Engaging in uplifting activities that speak to us, and help us reconnect and enjoy life. Noticing what we feel grateful for, simple pleasures in life. This state is active, present and grateful.

Life has polarity.

We have Yin/Yang, night/day, light/dark. And I'm guessing it's so we can really appreciate one by experiencing the other. It's so we can really feel and learn from this human experience to the full, by appreciating all colours life has to offer. We can even see from recent films such as 'Inside Out'... Sadness has it's value.

In my humble opinion I believe much of life is about this fluidity, moving through the highs and lows finding our balance as we do. There's no need to remain stuck in heavier emotional states and fall victim to how we feel... blaming outside influences for it as we do.

That's where NLP comes in handy. We have the ability to influence how we feel anytime, anywhere. Remembering that we are not the emotions we feel... we are simply experiencing them.

There's also no need to suppress and ignore what the shadow brings up. This also includes constantly and obsessively using practises to feel happier and energised whilst ignoring the deeper messages challenging emotions have to offer. Spiritual Bypassing has long term consequences - I know... I'm still healing from years of it.

If you think you've been caught up in the desperate search for happiness or have been Spiritually Bypassing and feel the need to regain balance try this...

  1. Be kind to yourself. We have all been there, it's ok. 
  2. What fulfils you at a deep Soul level? What little things generate a sense of joy and satisfaction? Brainstorm a list, what I call the 'I love...' page. A few of mine would include cups of tea in the sunshine, flowers, taking photos of beauty in nature, listening to podcasts whilst creating in the kitchen, dancing like no one is watching etc.
  3. Chose ONE thing from that list and bring it into your life regularly noticing how that feels as you do. One simple thing... daily or weekly... you choose. As some would say, we often give ourselves enough pressures and duties in life... life is simply about being authentic reconnecting to what we love. Remembering what fills us up from the inside out and living life according to our true self as much as we can.

Now I'd love to hear from you! In the comment section below let me know one thing on your 'I love...' page. Studies show stating new habits and goals out loud increase our chances of actually creating that shift.

Have a friend that would find this useful? Please share and spread the love even further :-)

More information and FREE downloads on my website