Better Than Happy

Today, I want to talk to you about a life that is better than happy. I love that this is Jody Moore’s podcast title, because I totally believe it is true. As humans, our main objective in this life is to be happy. And this totally makes sense because that’s one of our brains main jobs. It’s to seek out pleasure. And pleasure is a very positive feeling. But what if you could live a life that was better than happy? What could be better than happy? Well, for me, better than happy is a life fulfilled. It’s like looking at two paintings. One’s monotone, just one color, not even variations of that color, just one solid, boring color. The painting next to it has different blues and pinks, purples, golds, and more. It really holds your attention as your eyes scan from one side to the other, then you begin to notice the different techniques and textures and how each one adds upon the next to create a new element of the story.

The longer you look, the more connected you feel. Like you’re becoming a part of the scene. Why go through life feeling just one color, even the cheery colors like yellow, for example, I would say that to cheery color, but if all I could see was yellow, that wouldn’t be very fulfilling. In fact I think about a rainbow, whatever rainbow was just yellow, one big golden arch. That sounds so boring to me. So similar to just one color, why go through life being happy when you can feel joy, which is way better than happy. Here’s the thing. Life is 50/50. The way I learned this concept was a circle was drawn and a line drawn down the middle. On the one side are all the positive emotions and the other, are all the negative. When I first learned this concept, I didn’t like the fact that it was 50/50.

My first thought was, well, why can’t it be 90/10, or I’d even be happy with 80/20. Then I thought about it in a way that made a little more sense to me. Imagine the yin-yang symbol. There’s a delicate balance between light and dark, sometimes extreme light on one side and a little darkness. And sometimes there’s extreme darkness and a little light. Life is messy and fun, and hard, and amazing. With the yin yang symbol, each side eventually balances out the other, with half of it white and half of it black to make a complete balanced whole. I know so many people wanting to achieve balance in life. But it’s easy to forget that balance requires equal weight on both sides. That doesn’t mean 12 hours of the day is happy in 12 hours or sad or six months of the year are awesome, so the next six months will be awful.

Take last year. A lot can argue that last year was harder. So maybe this year we’ll feel a little easier. Day-to-day life might be the same, but I’m quite certain it’ll feel easier because now we’re a lot more resilient and stronger. It’s just like the analogy of somebody trying to push a Boulder up the hill. For a while It might feel like the rock is not even budging, but we know as you continue to push on it, you are building muscle. So you’re stronger, even if it doesn’t feel like you’re going anywhere. You see how that works. So maybe last year was 80/20. Maybe it was 80% hard and 20% easy, but maybe it was 50/50 for you. If we’re looking at life on a whole as 50/50, then in order to understand what pleasure feels like. At some point we need to feel pain. And if we’re willing to feel despair, then we’ll get to feel true Joy.

The more intense on one side opens you up to being able to feel that same intensity on the opposite. Does that make sense? If we’re willing to feel disappointment, then we will also get to feel excitement. Now I’m not saying that I want you to go out and try to be disappointed. What I’m saying is don’t hold back from doing something because you might be disappointed. Who knows you also might get to feel thrilled or fulfilled. The point is if you’re willing to feel disappointment, then you’re more likely to try new things and to push yourself further because you’re not afraid to feel the negative emotion. What I see happening with my clients is that they don’t want to feel any negative emotion, because yes, it’s uncomfortable. So they seek for ways to numb the feeling. But then later that ends up having a negative net effect.

For example, say you were feeling stressed, so you come home and you turn on the TV to wind down, but not before you grab that new bag of potato chips you just bought. And I’m not talking about the single serving size either. As the first episode is finishing, you remember the project, you plan to finish that at night. You look at the time you’re reminded about what’s causing you the stress to begin with, and so one more episode wouldn’t hurt. By the end of the third episode, the entire bag of chips is gone and you’ve spent two and a half hours not doing the project you promised yourself you’d finish that night. The biggest bummer is, you’re still feeling stressed. This is what I call buffering. Some might call it avoidance behavior, but it’s more than that because yes, you avoided your problem, but now it’s back and you’ve had it on the guilt for missing your project deadline.

And your body is dealing with trying to process an entire bag of chips. You’re worse off than when you started. Negative net effect. I hope you’re following. I’ve got some good news though. When you stop and feel an emotion, it doesn’t feel as bad as our brain is making it out to be a feeling has caused when neurons in the brains, fire off and signals are sent to somewhere in the body. They are felt as vibrations to various degrees of intensity. So what does sadness feel like in your body? For me, it feels slow, dark and heavy in my chest and stomach. Depending on the severity, it can feel like everything I do takes more effort. Like, I’m trying to do it while in a VAT of molasses, my limbs feel heavier and my brain is foggier. This is when I know I’m starting to dip into a depression. But, dialing it down and becoming aware that that’s what’s happening, is so empowering. Because then I start to search what might be triggering, it and possibly even solve for it.

And sometimes I can’t. And so I just do depression that day. That is part of the 50/50. On the opposite side, what does happiness feel like? For me, it’s fast and light and energetic all over my body. But I can especially feel the endorphin rushes in my brain. For me, happiness feels similar to feeling motivated. But my brain dials it in a little tighter with more focus. Each emotion has a different resonance and shows up in a specific way in your body. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to learn what each emotion feels like in your body. Have you ever felt sad, and didn’t know why? I have. It can be a bit challenging, because you become sad and confused because you don’t know why you’re sad. But I have even more good news. The reason you are feeling anything is because of what you’re thinking.

I know! Mind blown. Remember the neurons firing in the brain? What caused them to fire was a thought. Thoughts can be so simple as, “yes! I’m awesome”, or “they shouldn’t do that”, or “I don’t know how”, or “what if…”. If you’re not used to listening, it can happen without you even realizing it. It can be described as brain chatter and your brain is offering you a whole lot of thoughts. Did you know that the brain can average around 65,000 thoughts a day? The best news is that no one can force you to think a certain way. You get to choose how you want to think if what you’re thinking isn’t what you want to think? And if you want to change what you think. This is where some people get a little tripped up. They say, so if I don’t want to feel sad.

I can just change my thoughts? Well, the short answer is yes, but sometimes we want to feel sad. Example would be, if somebody you love dearly, all of the sudden passes away. Of course, you’re going to feel sad because odds are, you’re not a psychopath or a robot. So you feel sad. Here’s where the work is. Why do you feel sad? Because they were a great person and you will miss having them around? Or, is it because it shouldn’t have happened or it’s not supposed to be like that. These are two very different types of pain. One is clean pain and the other is dirty pain. Clean pain is cleansing and it allows you to move through it and continue on. It’s like having a really good, hard, ugly cry, and then you feel so much better after. Dirty pain is a story that comes with it.

Like that’s not how it’s supposed to be. It’s a pain that keeps you in resistance and keeps you stuck and unable to move forward. For example, I have a client who had a hard time conceiving, so they eventually adopted a boy. As they waited for placement, she would picture all of the fun times they’d have together and dreamed of all the wonderful things he’d accomplished in life. They struggled from the day he came home. Then when he was 11, he started running away and coming home, running away and coming home. Now she said she went to counseling and she got him into counseling. She went to different trainings and try lots of different programs to help him. But he just got worse. Eventually he became addicted to pornography, started doing drugs, drinking, stealing, lying, and skipping from school until he dropped out. It’s probably not a surprise that my client was heartbroken.

Here she had all these great dreams, and this is what’s happening. The problem was, she had a lot of dirty pain that kept her stuck for a long time. I can remember she would joke saying, I knew I would be a great mom until I had kids. She thought that because she followed the counsel of so many wise people, that meant that her son would grow up happy and successful. She’d say this isn’t supposed to happen like this. And it’s not fair. She had a lot of guilt and shame around if maybe she could have done more, she’d pick apart her past and say, if I had only done this or that, then maybe… She tore herself apart. And she buffered so much that she was having a hard time feeling anything below the surface. She was living a very one color monotone life, believing that she was a bad mom and buffering the pain away.

It took my client a lot of work to change her belief that she was a bad mom. She was not a bad mom. She still has pain, but now it’s clean pain. And it’s been fun to watch her start discovering herself again. Here’s what her clean pain thoughts sound like. I’m sad that this is the path he’s chose for himself because life will be harder for him. This is exactly what he needs to find his way. The choices he makes has nothing to do with the kind of mom I am. I don’t have to like his choices to love him. So that was a situation, that I would label on the 50% negative side. Moving her out of the dirty pain and into the clean pain really helped her start moving forward and living a more authentic life. Being aware of how emotions feel in our body is important.

It’s what allows us to gain more depth as a person and live a more fulfilling life. It’s just like the rainbow. You don’t want to just stare at one golden arch. Well, at least me personally, I would love to see all the colors of the rainbow. And here’s, what’s crazy when you stop and actually feel these emotions, you realize it doesn’t feel as bad as your brain is making it out to be. Are you willing to open yourself up to feeling negative emotion, more intensely, so you can feel positive emotions, more intensely? That’s what you get to decide. I’m hoping you’ll join me, because life has so much more to offer if you do. And because I really appreciate you listening to me. And because I like to party, I am celebrating the launch of this podcast. So in celebration, I am offering four great prizes.

First, the grand prize is four private coaching sessions, which is a $600 value. Second prize is a pair of air pod pros. What!?! Absolutely! Third prize is a $100 Amazon gift card. And for everybody who enters, they will get a free worksheet on how they can refocus and start achieving their goals today. Now I’m doing this because I want to share all of these gifts with some of the lucky listeners who subscribe and rate and review the podcast. It doesn’t have to be a five star review for you to be entered. Although I really do hope that you are loving the show and I would love some honest feedback. I want to create an awesome podcast that will provide you tons of value. So to learn more about the contest, visit: myinnerlove.com/podcast-launch. And I will be revealing the winners on an upcoming episode. That’s all for me today! I hope you have a fabulous week. Bye.

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