Better said, do you want to have the ability to feel good no matter what comes into your life?
You do have that ability already. However, most of us need to build up that muscle a bit. Identifying this ability and improving it in ourselves is the basis of these pages, and my path in this life.
I make a distinction between wanting to feel good no matter what, and having the ability to feel good no matter what. It seems obvious that we all want to feel good all the time, but the truth is, if you haven’t already discovered this, that having some “bad” in your life really makes you appreciate the “good” ( you can’t have a rainbow without rain, eh?). I use the quotation marks as a reminder that “good” and “bad” are judgments that we apply to things, but those judgments may change over time, or they may only partially describe an experience.
Cass Elliot of “The Mamas and The Papas” (a vocal group of the 1960′s) was hit on the head by a falling pipe during the salad days of the group (“bad”, yes?) and afterward her already-impressive singing range was increased by three notes (“good”, yes?). So was that “bad” or “good” or a “mixed blessing”? Overall do you suppose she figured, in the end, it was a “good” thing?
So, let’s say we want to feel good at least most of the time, if not all of it. We all have that ability to some extent. For example, when something “bad” happens, like a car accident, very quickly the people involved will find things to be relieved about. “At least no one was hurt”, “At least we were insured”, etc. The desire to feel better is very strong and we “instinctively” look for the “up” side, particularly when the unpleasant feelings we are having are intense and unexpected.
However, throughout the day, every day, we are faced with things we label as “good” or “bad” and then feel the appropriate feeling about. It is essential to understand that every thought we have has a feeling that will accompany it. “I am no good at this” will always feel irritating, frustrating. “He always drinks the coffee before I can have a cup in the morning” will always feel resentful. “I am so good at this!” will always feel energizing. “That was so thoughtful!” will always feel affirming. My point is that each time we react to an event in our lives with a thought/judgment, it will generate a feeling. More importantly, each thing that happens can be interpreted in more than one way. The key here is to recognize that if you really want to feel good, you must consciously choose the perspective which will give you the good feeling!
For example, you wake up with a headache, there’s no coffee left, you hit all red lights on your way to work, the computer at work won’t boot up, your paper files seem to be misplaced… You get the point. Each of those things taken by itself is not a big deal, but the accumulation of them sends you into a downward spiral. You find yourself saying, in your head at least, “This isn’t my day!” and “Now what can go wrong?”
I had a day like this recently, and despite all my practice in focusing on the positive, it took until the afternoon for me to see the humor in everything I touched exploding. I heard myself complaining and being outraged at the continuous catastrophe, but I didn’t take the time to calm down and look for the ways in which I could appreciate it all, and as a result it got worse. When I finally got tired of being frustrated and angry, I was able to see it as ludicrous, and therefore laughable. At that point I could go back and look for reasons to be glad the day had gone as it had. After all, the point wasn’t to be “realistic”, it was to feel better about it!
So even if you can’t control all of the things that come into your life, you always have control over how you choose to think, and therefore feel, about them.