Sadness. Where does it come from? It seems so easy to blame it on others, when in reality we have to look inside of ourselves and see what it is that is making us sad. After we find this source of sadness we have to act on it and change it. In every situation, there is an opportunity to get rid of this sadness, cope with the sadness or we can choose to let it be. But, what if that sadness rest in something that conditionally makes us happy?
The easy advice that I would so easily give to all of my friends would be to just let it go. I realize though how much easier “said than done” that statement is. How do we become okay with conditional happiness? Is it because it is something we have sought comfort in? What has happened between us and this thing that makes conditional happiness so “worth it”, to keep allowing this source of sadness to hurt us.
I can tell you right now, I am the first person to allow conditional happiness to exist in my life. I am that girl that tries to see the glass as half full, instead of it being half empty. This theory should not be the case in all aspects of my life. I have gone through a series of emotions today from happiness, to sadness, to frustration, and back to sadness. Between crying on and off and just trying to convince myself of something that may not even be real, I am at a cross roads. I prefer optimism over being a pessimist and thats what hurts me sometimes. If only one time I could chose the side of the pessimist and then create optimism within that choice. That just seems to never be the case.
So, Why is it so hard to let go of something that we know is hurting us?
The act of letting something go is not a behavior and should not be the focus. Its all the little steps leading to this emotional cut that need to be focused on. When the mind creates an illusion, sometimes we perseverate on this and continuously go back to what it was that we dreamed of originally to escape reality. We have created something so beautiful in our mind that the actual thought of letting this go seems harmful. In reality, the real harm is done when we choose to skip over reality and continue to fantasize. We begin to find comfort in this fantasy and thats when the real damage is done. Comfort becomes our crutch and we convince ourselves that this comfort we feel now, simply cannot happen outside of our current situation.
How do we come back to reality, get out of our comfort zone, and focus on what is real?
As a behavior analyst, I would set the goal to be; letting go, and then create a list of the actual behaviors that can help me achieve this ultimate goal. I would then set dates to achieve these goals and then do a reinforcer assessment to figure out what would motivate me to keep on track with these behaviors that will help me achieve my goal.
How easy does that sound?
You would think that with the right motivators and small baby steps these things would be achievable. Unfortunately, its not that easy. Your brain, your heart, your whole being has to be ready for what you have planned and if you are not on the same page collectively then your plan will not be successful. You have to mentally prepare yourself for all obstacles, for all the hardships that are going to come with this approach. You have to have the right support and people surrounding you to make these changes. Most importantly, you have to be honest with yourself though this entire process.
What happens when our plan fails and we digress?
Digression will happen, inevitably the first time we implement a huge plan we could fail. It’s not how we fail, it’s how we bounce back from these failures that we learn to create new goals, new boundaries and find new reinforcers. Failure is never the first option, but it has to be one that we expect and are ready to learn and grow from. I would like to think that failure should not be called failure but an experience or learning curve. We have to be willing to seek difference and challenge ourselves and our comfort zone to achieve a different level of happiness. A level of happiness that is not conditional.
Imagine if we could so easily create a fantasy without this conditional happiness. But wait, if we create something without any conditions for ourselves and by ourselves our fantasy could become, reality.