Inspired by a message from a listener who is in a pretty dark place, I thought I’d tackle the question of finding purpose and meaning in life when you aren’t experiencing joy and happiness. He asked, “What’s the point?”
You cannot find peace by avoiding life
I received an email from a listener of the show who asked the question, “What’s the point of life without joy and happiness?”
This listener is currently in a dark place. It takes a lot of courage to share your vulnerabilities with someone else, especially someone you’ve never met.
He told me of the pain he has inside and how life seems pretty pointless. He asked me, “What’s the point of life without joy and happiness?”
I’ll share my reply to him at the end of this article.
Life is a complex series of events that we define moment by moment. We give meaning to every single thing that happens so that we have some level of understanding of what’s going on in our world.
We are hardwired to learn the how and why of things so that we know what to do next. When we know what to do next, we are more comfortable. When we don’t know, we can be confused and uncomfortable.
Meaning is defined in the moment
Life happens moment by moment, and either we feel as if we have purpose in that moment, or we don’t. We feel either significant and needed, or insignificant and unneeded.
Though, some people have learned to feel neither, and are at peace with either situation. This moment by moment passing of time gives you an opportunity to feel one of those three ways. The question is, which way will you choose to feel most of the time?
The ultimate goal for many people is to find peace and joy in their life. In fact, I’m willing to bet that almost every listener of this show wants to move toward comfort and away from discomfort.
Now, we all have different ways of doing that, but in the end most of us are seeking a similar outcome: Peace.
Now I realize that not everyone seeks peace, because just like every moment in life is defined in the moment, so is every word. The word “peace” to me, means that the resources I need flow easily into my life, and I am able to handle every challenge that comes my way.
However, the word “peace” to someone else could mean something entirely different. They might see peace as having no challenges, no stress and nothing to fear.
My perspective of peace includes challenges, but the other example does not. And of course, there are other viewpoints as well, but working with these two particular examples, can you tell which one would be more realistic, more rewarding and more fulfilling overall?
Since I know that challenges are going to come into my life no matter how well I set myself up for a situation, the realistic approach works best for me. It’s realistic to know that challenges beyond my control are going to happen, so it’s best to evolve myself to be the person that is able to handle those challenges so that I can prepare for even bigger ones if and when they happen.
The great thing about that is the more you face each challenge instead of shy away from it, the more you learn, the more resilient you become and the happier you are.
Yes, happier. When you accept that challenges are a part of life, and that they are there to help you become happier, you start enjoying life a little bit more. Of course, that’s if you choose to face the challenges.
If you see a challenge and shy away from it, then you stay where you are. By staying where you are, you never get closer to that comfortable place you want to be. It sounds strange I know, but facing and going through the hard stuff in life, makes like become easier.
The challenge for many of us is that we don’t want to go through the challenge! We add resistance to the challenges that come our way and cause us to feel fear and repress negative emotions.
The more we don’t want to do something in life and continually think about not wanting to do that thing, the more it festers inside of us, getting buried into our psyche to create our bad mood and eventually lead to depression.
Resistance to a thing keeps that thing alive
In other words, what we resist, persists. It has to, because resistance is a continuous avoidance of what we don’t want in life. By resisting something, it consistently shows up in our life.
For example, many years ago before I got married, I told my fiancee’ that I didn’t want to get married until we were debt free. I kept resisting getting married until I had no more debt. In every sense, I was resisting debt. I was focused on not being in debt, and even added the stipulation that as long as I was in debt, I would not get married.
Finally, the day came where she and I got married. It was the same day we were completely debt free. Yup, we had absolutely no money to our name, completely free of debt and also broke and homeless.
It was so ironic! I didn’t mean to time it that way, our marriage just happened to occur the day we lost our apartment and had no money left in the bank. By definition, we were absolutely debt free!
So my resistance to debt for all those years kept me in debt until I lost everything. This is what happens with anything we resist.
Growing up, the more I resisted being around drug addicts, the more addicts of all types would appear. The more I resisted situations I was afraid of, the more they appeared.
Over and over again, what I resisted persisted. So does that mean I shouldn’t resist anything and just allow stuff I don’t want to come into my life?
The answer is absolutely not. You can still not want things for your life, but the trick is to not consistently think about that stuff. Thinking about it keeps it in mind. But turning off your thinking is very hard, and usually leads to resisting what you don’t want to think about.
And you know what happens when you try not to think about something right? You usually end up thinking about it more!
But the way to avoid or decrease what you don’t want in life is to accept that it could happen. That’s really strange, I realize, but what happens when you resist is that you stay attached and continually think about what you hope won’t happen. But by accepting that it could, or will happen, you let go of the resistance and therefore decrease the possibility of it happening.
Why’s that? Because you simply stop thinking about it. And when you’re not thinking of something, you’re not seeking references that reinforce your belief in it. For example, when I was in my 20s, I thought it would be fun to pay a psychic to tell me my future. She told me that I would absolutely meet a trashy blonde woman and that we would become intimate.
I thought to myself, “There’s no way that could be true. At the time, I was not into blondes, and was definitely not looking for someone “trashy”. So after I left the psychic, I tried to forget about it. But the problem was, every time I saw a blonde woman, I thought to myself, “I wonder if that’s her?” and would open myself up to the opportunity that it might be her.
Even though I didn’t want what the psychic predicted, I thought if what she told me was true, I better watch for it. Every blonde woman I saw, I questioned the possibility of that person being “the one”.
A few days went by and I became a little obsessed… “Is that her? I wonder if that’s her? How about her?” I found myself getting closer to blonde women than I would have normally, just because I believed there was a chance. I was more open to conversations and I’m sure was presenting a body language that showed I was interested.
Finally, the thought came to mind that I might actually manifest what I don’t want to happen because I keep thinking about it. I kept looking for clues that what I didn’t want to happen was going to happen. Even if my goal was to avoid it, I was almost convinced that my fate was inevitable.
I was almost convinced. That is until I realized I was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was putting myself into situations where what that psychic predicted would absolutely come true. Not only did I ignore anyone without blonde hair, but I made myself more observant of blondes and more available to them.
I guarantee had I continued this behavior, I would have manifested the reality I didn’t want. Because I snapped out of that trance I was in, I stopped paying attention. Soon, I let go of the possibility that the psychic was right and simply stopped resisting what may or may not come into my life.
When you resist something, you stay attached to the possibility it will happen. And you continually think about what you hope won’t happen.
By accepting that what you resist could or will happen, you let go of hoping it won’t, and therefore, decrease the possibility that it will because you stop looking for clues that it might.
Wow, wrap your brain around that one. But it’s true more times than not.
So when you think about the quote, “You cannot find peace by avoiding life”, that, to me, says that when we avoid or resist anything that life may throw our way, we develop stress, fears, anxiety and all kinds of bad feelings. But when we don’t avoid and simply accept that life is challenging and will throw a curveball at us time and time again, we lower stress and anxiety, and get to live peacefully in between the chaos that can happen.
But what gets people is that instead of living peacefully in between the chaos, they choose to live stressfully most of the time.
Joy, happiness, peace, or whatever word you want to use can be so difficult to attain if all you are doing is worrying about the next moment and the moment after that. There’s no escaping stressful times, because that is a part of life. You can’t avoid life.
But, you can prepare for life just a little by allowing what you fear to be a part of your reality. If you still have trouble understanding how peace comes from that, just remember that resistance keeps your fears alive. The more you fear, the more it compounds. And, the more you give in to fear, even though that’s not the best way to say it, the more you’ll experience that what you fear most never happens anyway.
There is meaning in life even when it feels meaningless. There is joy and happiness even when you don’t believe there is. It’s there, inside you, but when you are stressing between the chaotic moments instead of just during the chaotic moments, you never allow it to be.
Let’s talk about those moments in between the chaos.
Let me start this segment by saying, “You are allowed to feel angry, hurt, sad, fearful, or whatever you want to feel, anytime you want.”
I say this because some people grew up in a household where a caretaker has said things like, “Don’t cry!” or, “Don’t be a baby!” or “Don’t be afraid!” Most of the time, these things are said with good intentions in hopes to make the child feel better. But sometimes there’s anger or fear behind the words.
When we were children, we didn’t always understand what was being said to us, so we took things more literally, and sometimes more permanently. Being told, “Don’t be such a baby! Only babies cry!” can lead to a lifetime of repressed emotional pain which can lead to big challenges in life.
Men typically experience this more than women. A lot of dads out there want their sons to “man up” and face danger with machismo and no fear. But sometimes this programs us guys to swallow our emotions and have less compassion or sympathy.
This happens to women as well, but I’m willing to bet you know a lot more men that have trouble expressing their emotions than women. Regardless of the majority that experiences it, repression of emotion is prevalent throughout the world.
When you repress your negative emotions, it’s like bringing a freight train to a full stop.
You know what that’s like? A typical train with a mile of cars attached to it can take up to that entire length to stop. In other words, once the brakes are applied, the train still travels for one mile before coming to a complete stop.
Imagine how much energy it takes to stop a train! Now apply that to your emotions. Imagine you are in a conversation and someone says something you disagree with, and even angers you.
Using the train analogy, you can continue the conversation and allow your emotions into it. The train is moving forward and so are your emotions. You might say, “You know, what you just said makes me angry. I want to address this right now.”
This is forward momentum. You are choosing not to repress your emotions. Repressing them would be like stopping the train. Remember how much energy it takes to stop a train? Well, apply that to your emotions too. When the train is going forward, then you are flowing and honoring yourself.
Your thoughts, feelings and emotions have momentum. And by not repressing what comes up, you keep that momentum going. This keeps you from storing any negativity that could come up later in other ways.
But let’s say during the conversation you decide not to express your anger. Let’s say that you got triggered, felt a lot of anger, and swallowed it instead. This would stop your train of emotions.
The energy it took to do that was tremendous. And by stopping that flow of emotions, it’s like stopping the train. You end up swallowing those emotions stopping the forward momentum.
But, the energy it takes to stop the flow of emotions has to go somewhere, right? Just holding back builds more negative emotions about the situation.
I don’t typically use ambiguous words like “energy”, but it seems like the perfect word to use when you repress an emotion. You stop the forward momentum of emotional energy, and stuff it down, repressing it.
I was talking to a coaching client a few days ago, and we talked a little about invalidation. Invalidation is what happens when you feel you don’t matter. Lots of people have made us feel this way in our lifetime, but what’s worse is when we invalidate ourselves.
Self-invalidation stops the forward momentum of emotional energy too. We’ve all done this, and I still catch myself doing this from time to time.
Here’s an example: You’re upset that your partner ate dinner without you. He or she does this more times than not even though you ask them to wait until you get home.
But instead of expressing your hurt or anger, you instead invalidate what you’re feeling by thinking something like, “Well, they were probably hungry and couldn’t wait any longer” or, “Maybe I’m just being selfish” or even, “I’m probably being a little mean by forcing them to wait until I get home to eat.”
Everything you come up with could be true but your emotions now need an outlet. They need to be expressed, dissolved or swallowed.
When you express something like, “You know, I’m angry that you didn’t wait to eat with me”, you are going along with forward momentum. You are not repressing, but going where the flow of emotions take you.
But by swallowing your emotions, then making excuses why they would have eaten without you, you suddenly feel invalidated. You feel like their wants and needs are more important than yours. This self-invalidation leads to even more bad feelings about yourself, so not only do you swallow your anger or hurt about the moment, but you also swallow the new emotions that arise because you feel like you don’t matter.
That is what I mean by stopping the flow of forward momentum. You are stopping the train of emotions, using a lot of your energy, and creating more negative energy inside of you.
You end up swallowing your true emotions and feel worse afterward.
The third option I mentioned is dissolving your emotions. Your emotions can dissolve in the moment when you realize you were just wrong about the situation. If you found out that your partner ate without you because they had a long day at the car dealership getting you a birthday present, your negative emotions could squash right then and there.
Grateful emotions can cancel out negative emotions
I’m sure this has happened to you at one time or another. You think you’re right about something, and then you find out how wrong you are. The emotions you feel get canceled and you no longer feel bad.
But, back to self-invalidation. This causes the flow of emotional momentum to grind and screech to a halt, creating that bad feeling inside of you. You swallow the bad feelings and start the flow again, hoping to regain that forward momentum for the rest of your day.
I hope this train metaphor isn’t lost on you. The point I’m trying to make is that when you choose to invalidate yourself instead of express or at least acknowledge the emotions going on inside of you, that’s when you build resistance. It’s the swallowing of negative emotions that create this resistance.
When you walk around carrying this internal resistance, you feel it. You feel bad most of the time because it’s still there, unexpressed and unresolved.
Now this doesn’t mean that every time you feel hurt, fearful or angry that you simply express those emotions right then and there, because sometimes you could be in a situation where doing that would be counterproductive or harmful.
But it does mean that by acknowledging that you feel a certain way, and letting yourself feel it so you can either express it now or later, you don’t repress the negative emotions. By not repressing them, you don’t feel as bad, or bad at all.
Repressing of negative emotions eventually leads to depression. Depression is a state of practically not feeling anything at all. It’s very numb and dark, and not a healthy place to be.
This is why I always emphasize how important it is to express your emotions, in the moment if you can. And if not in the moment, with someone you label as “safe”.
The safe person can be a friend, therapist, relative or anyone that can be there for you and just listen without judgment. When you have a safe zone and you can say anything that’s on your mind, you get to release the build-up inside you. It’s that build-up of repressed emotions.
Repressing your emotions stops the flow of life inside of you. When someone triggers you, and you decide to hold back what you’re feeling, it stays inside you until you find a place to release it.
When I talk about the “moments in between the chaos”, I’m referring to all the times you have available to you to be free of feeling bad. But when you are storing all those unexpressed emotions, the times between the chaos are just as bad as during the chaos, creating an unhappy life.
This is not where you want to be, but it is absolutely where you end up staying when you keep stopping that train. When you keep stopping the forward momentum, the flow of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that just want to be continually expressed. All the good and not so good ones that bubble up need an outlet.
It’s the pressure valve analogy. When you hear something funny and want to burst out laughing, but instead hold it in, the pressure inside you builds up. Fortunately, you feel good with this build-up, as it is laughter you are holding in after all.
However, when you feel this hurt, fear or anger and want to burst out screaming or crying, the pressure inside you builds up the same way, but with different emotions – the kind that are unpleasant.
And when you walk around with this pressure, never using the release valve, you get grumpy, sad, irritable, and have a low level unhappiness just sitting there as the foundation for everything you do in life.
The moments between chaotic moments in your life aren’t as fulfilling as they could be because of that layer of unhappiness.
You remember when I told you the story about when I burst into tears and let out decades of anger and hatred about my stepfather right? If you haven’t heard it, just know that one day during my depression many years ago, my girlfriend at the time wanted to know what was wrong with me.
I simply didn’t know. But shortly afterward, I realized how all those years I’d been swallowing my anger about my stepfather. I lived with him for twenty years of my life, and never once chose to hate him.
I invalidated myself, making excuses for him. “Oh, when he isn’t drunk, he’s a very nice guy!” and at the same time saying things to myself like, “I’m being overly dramatic. I shouldn’t be angry with him, because he’s so nice when he’s not drinking.”
About 15 years after moving away from home, after a failed intimate relationship, I was in a pretty moderate depression. I couldn’t feel happy – but I also couldn’t feel sad. Just feeling anything would have been nice.
But, I was starting a new relationship, and my girlfriend wanted to know why I was so depressed. She couldn’t handle it and wanted to get away from me. That’s when I snapped out of it and 35 years of hatred towards my stepfather came out in tears.
That was the first step out of my depression: Admitting that I hated someone I thought I loved for all those years. I told myself, “I shouldn’t hate anyone. I’m just not that type of person.”
Nowadays, I say things like “Hey, if I feel hatred, I’m going to accept that. I’m going to acknowledge that I hate, and let it be felt inside of me.”
I allow the worst of the worst thoughts and emotions to come up and out of me. I don’t yell and scream, but I do acknowledge and accept that I am capable of hating someone. I am capable of not caring if someone is alive or dead. I am capable of having no sympathy or compassion for another human being.
And especially, I am allowed to feel that way.
That’s more important than anything. You are allowed to feel what comes up for you. What this means is that you don’t invalidate yourself. You don’t make excuses that negate how you feel and give credit to others like, “Well, he’s probably tired so I shouldn’t be angry with him.” or “She probably didn’t mean to say that. I need to not feel like I’m being rejected.”
It doesn’t matter what’s really true, it matters that you allow yourself to feel.
I’ve read, watched or listened to too many people tell me not to hate, not look down on others and to shower people with compassion. It’s the teachings like, “Just be grateful for everything in your life, and you’ll manifest everything you want for yourself.”
I don’t disagree at all with these teachings, but the critical component that was missing was that you need to allow the real feelings you have to come up first, so that after fully acknowledging and expressing them, those other things like feeling grateful can happen on their own.
That’s the missing link. That was what eluded me for most of my life. Honestly, I had a hard time feeling grateful for many years because I still had this crap about my stepfather inside of me.
I was told to have compassion because he was an alcoholic, so I did. But I resented it.
I was told to love him because he is a human being just like me, but with his own set of challenges. So I did love him… but I resented that too.
I was also told that ‘it’s not a good thing to hate. Hatred just fills you with hate and you become a bad person.’ So I chose not to hate. And that built up the resentment even more. Not towards the person I hated, but towards myself.
I denied myself feeling what I wanted to feel because I was told what to feel instead. This belief system caused me unhappiness for most of my life. If I wasn’t unhappy in the moment, the underlying unhappiness crept in to everything I did.
Now there’s an important takeaway here that I want you to get: After you allow whatever thoughts and emotions to exist and fully acknowledge and accept them, the emotional charge behind them decreases or disappears.
All those years I was told not to hate, so I stayed unhappy. But as soon as I broke down that one day and yelled to my girlfriend, “I hate my stepfather!” and cried for about 15 minutes, I released 35 years of pain and anger towards him.
I released almost all the negative emotions about him. I let them all go. I didn’t try to release them, they just disappeared!
I finally spoke my truth. I gave my deepest, darkest emotions a voice and spoke a truth that I repressed for so long. I was covering hate with forced gratefulness. I covered anger with a smile. I completely hid from the world how angry I was because, “It’s not good to hate anyone.”
I never would have thought by embracing hate I’d actually be able to let it go.
I never would have thought by considering how much I didn’t care if someone lived or died that I’d actually feel grateful they were in my life. And I don’t mean we’re going fishing together. I just mean when all of that negativity is released, you see things differently.
I saw my stepfather as a powerful lesson for me. I saw him as a completely dysfunctional mess, but also a wonderful teacher that had to be who he was so that I could be the man I have become.
Do I thank him for being that way? Um, hell no. I would have preferred a kinder upbringing. But I am grateful things happened as they did, because I’ve learned so much that could help others along their journey.
When I expressed all my anger and pain about him, it went away. It was gone. In the same way, when I got divorced and expressed all my anger and pain about her, it went away. It disappeared and I healed.
This is what happens when you start to express very deep and sometimes painful truths – the pain disappears. It happens bit by bit, but every little bit is the removal of one more obstacles blocking your path to joy and happiness.
The joy and happiness starts to seep into your life, and the moments in between the chaos become more calm and peaceful. You feel better and you are better prepared for the stressful moments.
And stress does come, but it’s so much better when you’ve had some time off of the stress so that you can live most of your life in peace.
In the last segment coming up, I’ll tell you what I believe to be the “point of life”. And I’ll read you the reply I sent to the person who wrote to me asking that very question, which inspired this article in the first place.
Of course, I’ll change some of the details to protect their identity. Stay with me.
What is the point of life without joy and happiness?
That was the question I received. It was accompanied by a story of dark times and bad feelings. So many people have experienced such hard times in life, and it’s sometimes difficult to find the joy and happiness that we all deserve. But my take on the point of all this, or the meaning of life, is something I said at the beginning of the show:
Meaning is defined in the moment.
The purpose of life is about seeking purpose for every moment in your life. It’s not about defining the minutia, but more like the highlights.
This goes along the lines of “there’s a reason for everything” thinking. If you have the belief that there’s a reason for everything that happens, then you will discover purpose in your life. If you believe there’s a reason for your pain and sadness, and those reasons will reveal themselves in the future, then you raise your toleration level of what’s happening now.
If you feel worthless or upset now, and there’s a reason you’re feeling it now, you will discover that reason later – and it will help you become more clear on the things that happened in your life in the past.
Just like I can look back and see the reason for the childhood I had. I can add purpose to those moments in life and discover now what those moments have led to. A half life-time of challenging events led to where I am now. There was a purpose, and I can look back and attach meaning to what happened, making me feel like I wasn’t just wasting time until something good came along.
You may not believe there is a reason for everything, and if that’s the case, create the reason. Beliefs take you to where you end up, if that makes sense.
Your beliefs should be here to serve you, not take you down dead ends with no hope or meaning. Your beliefs are here to help you through the hard times and get you through life using a compass instead of just stumbling around in the dark.
I chose to adopt the belief that everything happens for a reason, even though I am open to being wrong about that belief.
I recommend you choose a belief that serves you so that when you try it out for a while, you get to experience what it’s like having that belief.
If you don’t believe in God, try out what it would be like if you did. And create a belief that serves you. If the God you hear about isn’t right for you, create a belief in one that is.
Or, if that makes you uncomfortable, then think about a belief that if it were true, would be good for you. Like I mentioned before, for the longest time I had a belief that having bad thoughts about people or hating them was wrong. I would mentally punish myself for having bad thoughts about someone, causing me to feel worse and worse.
Then one day I questioned that belief. I asked myself, “Why is that wrong? Why can’t I just hate someone?” so I tried it on. I let myself feel whatever I wanted to feel. And when I did that, my hate went away.
That blew my mind! 35 years I had this hatred stored inside of me, never letting it out because “it was wrong”. And within an hour of adopting the belief that it was okay to hate, I released it.
What? That’s so counter-intuitive! It doesn’t make any sense! Well, it didn’t at the time. Now I know that my resistance to feeling it is what kept it alive. So my new belief is to allow whatever I think and feel to exist, so that it can keep the forward momentum going forward.
No need to derail the train of emotions when I can just let it pass by!
What you resist persists, so develop or modify a belief system that will serve you. My belief is that the meaning of a moment is defined in that moment. When the traffic builds up and I am late for an appointment, I might think to myself that I am being purposefully delayed so I don’t get into an accident.
It can be silly to think that way sometimes, because sometimes a traffic jam is just a traffic jam. But this belief has calmed me in many ways. It’s like there’s a team on my side helping me get to my destination, whether in traffic or in life in general.
I could be completely wrong about my belief, but guess what! I allow space for that too. I can be wrong, if that’s what’s necessary to adopt an even more resourceful belief system.
So when you’re feeling resistance anywhere in life, adopt or modify your beliefs until they feel right – until they serve you. It doesn’t mean you have to do it permanently. Just do it until things straighten out for you, then you can return to your original beliefs, or move into something entirely different.
Make the moments in life meaningful – give them purpose, or find a purpose. The purpose may not reveal itself right away, and sometimes that moment may be just a sign and not the purpose in that moment, but just stay aware and observant and see if your life begins to change just a little.
And with that, I’ll finish the show with the reply I wrote to that person who inspired this article:
I remember when I lived in Florida. There was a point in my life I really didn’t care about anything or anyone. I didn’t even care if I lived or died. I was depressed, but I didn’t know it. Being depressed caused me to have suicidal thoughts. The thoughts would come and go, but it was strange to me to have them, because I always thought I was one of those “positive thinkers”.”
Yet, there I was thinking, “Jeez, it’d be so much easier to just go…” Then I thought about my mom and how it would absolutely crush her if I did that. She might have been the reason I didn’t pursue that path, because I just imagined her living the rest of her life in pain and misery.
Suddenly I felt selfish. I felt like just because I don’t like being here at this moment doesn’t mean others wouldn’t suffer I left. So do I suffer so that others won’t?
That was my dilemma. I pretended to imagine what people who loved me would go through after I died. How would they be? Would they think of me?
There are lots of people that would think of me, I know that’s true. After I chose to live so that no one else would suffer, that did bring some (tiny) consolation to my suffering.
Then a few years later, I remembered when I felt depressed and was so grateful I didn’t take the path I was contemplating. I reached the bottom, but made the choice to stick around.
I look back in my life now and remember all the times I didn’t feel good and how I wanted some moments to just end. Then I think about the happier times I had and realize “Wow, I just needed more time to feel better!”
What I realized about depression is that the decisions we make during that time are “clouded”. And because they are clouded, they may not be reasonable nor what we really want for ourselves. Just like an airline pilot shouldn’t fly a plane when he or she is too tired, people shouldn’t make life-changing decisions when they are clouded, especially decisions that would end their own life.
Finding a “safe” person to share everything with, all your pain, shame, embarrassment, regret, anger and hatred and anything else that comes up does feel better. But it also feels like failure.
You can feel like a failure when you tell people what hurts you most. It feels like you didn’t get very far on the evolutionary scale, and that you now have to admit defeat to the emotional pain you are experiencing.
It feels like failure, so you’re probably scared to do it. After all, who wants to fail? But failure is the exact direction I want you to go. If you really want to let all of this go, you have to fail.
And I mean “Fail” in the sense that you must be vulnerable and let people know just how bad or hurt you feel from all the terrible things that have happened in your life.
Saying the hard stuff like, “So and so cheated on me” or “So and so abused me” or “I hate that person and wish they were dead! They made me feel like an idiot and I’m so stupid for following along!”
These are the deeper thoughts and feelings I started expressing to release some of the deep rooted anger I was feeling. When you find that someone you can feel safe talking to and fail in front of them by expressing that anger, shame, embarrassment, and feelings of inferiority and other things, you can start releasing years of unexpressed, unresolved anger and fear.
This does work.
I’ve found almost always that, when I allow my fears to come true, they don’t. When I step into what I resist, what I resist disappears.
It’s this resistance that causes the hurt, and when we repress the hurt, we stuff the negative energy of that hurt down within us creating clouded thoughts and blocking the joy that wants to come out.
All I can tell you my friend is that I’ve been there, and after it passed (and yours too shall pass), I was able to think more clearly and make more resourceful decisions for myself.
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but don’t be afraid to fail because that is the path to peace. Fail by becoming vulnerable with someone.
Yes, you have been hurt and betrayed. So who can you trust to tell anything to? I mean your deepest, darkest secrets or pains or fears?
And if you can’t think of anyone, find a therapist. And if it gets really bad for you, and you’re thinking about taking your own life, then at least call the suicide hotline first. You can share your story anonymously. They want to hear your struggles and have helped others going through the same thing.
Their number is 1-800-273-8255.
I’m not saying you’re on the verge or not, but I would be foolish not to suggest you call that number if your thoughts are taking you down that dark road. (you don’t even have to identify yourself when you call).
I “fail” everyday (or at least once a week) by revealing a vulnerability about myself on the air – to the world! Once I started doing this, my healing and growing multiplied and soon I had nothing to hide, and the joy and happiness started appearing on its own.
You are not alone my friend. I’m honored you shared your story with me.
I never did meet that “trashy, blonde woman” I talked about near the beginning (the one the psychic told me about).
Once I let go of the idea that it might happen, I stopped looking for references that it would. When I stopped searching for clues, the possibility that it would ever happen fizzled and disappeared.
How much of your reality do you actually create and how much of it just happens on its own? What beliefs do you have in your mind that might be helping you create your world?
Our perceptions of the world define how we respond to it, but it’s interesting to think that when we believe something will happen, we might actually manifest it. So be aware of your beliefs and how they serve you.
When you step into your power and be firm in your decisions and actions, you will end up creating the life you want. Then soon, you’ll discover what I already know to be true about you, that you are amazing.
When I worked in radio (a million years ago), one of the stations I worked for had an owner who would routinely bust into the studio in the middle of our air shifts and give us a scathing critique of everything we were doing WRONG. If I was having a good show beforehand, my whole focus would change. I became totally focused on NOT making further “mistakes” (or what he considered to be mistakes), and as a result, I would make MORE mistakes. I understand that he ultimately wanted us to sound better, but he went about it the wrong way by using negative motivation. It actually produced the opposite result.
Since I was easily affected by the input of others (especially others in authority, like the guy who signed my paycheck), I let my thoughts and feelings manifest negativity in response to negative input. As where some of my co-workers would just write-off the owner’s random rants as just rants, I let that input “sink in” and would dwell upon in obsessively, to the point of letting it ruin my show (and the rest of the day, week, etc). I didn’t recognize, nor did I have any tools to deal with my high sensitivity at the time. It’s still something I deal with, but with a lot more awareness today!
Don’t you love micro-managers that can’t be satisfied? No matter what you do right, they’ll find what’s wrong.
I’ve met highly sensitive people, and it’s more difficult for them for sure. Little things become big things. Hope you’re gaining traction there!
Might have to do a whole show on it one day. 😉
Thanks for your comment!
For the past couple of weeks I’ve listened to this podcast sometimes twice a day during my commute to work to try to give some meaning as to why I keep driving and haven’t just given up life. Like you I don’t give up for my family and seek a way out to a happier future and just stopping resisting what may or may not happen. I am under major pressure at work from a very demanding new boss and it takes a lot just to show up every day. I have probably had a dozen peaceful nights sleep in the past year and last year ended up in the ER with multiple anxiety attacks. With resources such as yours I’m becoming more at peace with not fighting and doing the best I can, but what will be will be. I am not there yet but appreciate your material as an occasional grounding lifeline.
Thank you so much for sharing this Jeff! I’m so glad to be able to join you on your commute to work.
I’m even happier that you are not giving up. Someday you’re going to hear the right words at the right time and take the steps needed to help you get out of the funk.
I appreciate you my friend.
seems ironic to start with a quote from Virginia Wolf who took her own life!
Presumably she was caught up in her words
Great observation! Still, it is a wise quote even if she didn’t follow her own advice. Though, she did live about 95% of her life by that point considering the average life span for women in the 40s was about 65 (she was 59).
Still, yes, very ironic. Didn’t realize it at the time this was written.