Happiness isn’t…




 

 

The people who know me well might scoff loudly when I say I’m always attempting to better myself.

My diet is not the healthiest, I’m prone to self-doubt and the whole “working out” thing has never been for me. So, in all fairness, it’s easy to see how friends and family might take the sentiment with a grain of salt.

But despite all evidence to the contrary, I am speaking the truth. Nary has a day gone by where I don’t consider the ways in which I live could – and should – be fixed. But a little voice inside my head is always abetting me, feeding into my worst impulses, whether it be procrastination, drinking on weeknights or the instant gratification of fast-food.

The problem is always the follow through.

Over the last several months, and for varying lengths of time, I have taken on several “things” in the hopes of reaching some kind of life-changing actualization moment. Each one sticks for a few days before my motivation begins to dwindle down to nothing.

For instance, I decided on a whim to get a gym membership at Planet Fitness. As my stick-thin arms signed the paperwork for a Black Card plan, I could hardly contain the feelings swelling up inside me. I walked out the doors confident as I have ever been.

“Today is the day,” I thought. “I am going be so jacked. So strong. The Black Card was the right choice – I need that massage chair after all the work I am going to do.”

A month and a half later, I have worked up the energy for four visits. I tell myself I am going to get up and hit the weights before work every morning, but the plan has yet to be realized. It’s not just working out, of course. The dream I have for myself involves becoming The Happiest Human Being Alive.

I am going to read the stack of books in my room. I am going to learn the guitar and piano. I am going to be more assertive. I am going to quit the junk food.

Which brings me to the other day. After interviewing a hypnotherapist for work, I decided to undergo a session of my own. I had always wanted to do it, and jumped at the opportunity for an experience (and another chance for improvement).

A major misconception surrounding hypnotherapy is the client is a mindless drone able to be easily manipulated. I am no expert, but from personal experience, hypnosis is much closer to a deep state of relaxation, despite having to tackle often painful memories while under.

One of the things I do remember from the session is visualizing, with encouragement, personifications of my self-doubt. All those words of discouragement in my mind, telling I’m not good enough to write, or get in shape, or quit eating poorly, came to the surface. And, for the first time, I was told to embrace them. To give them a big hug and assign new, more constructive roles.

It might be too early yet to recognize the full effect of this exercise. But a single thought has been lingering in my head since the time I emerged from the session: perhaps it is this endless daily pursuit of perfection that is driving down my capacity to simply live life.

I could work my entire time on this planet trying to change these things, beating myself up for perceived shortcomings. Or I could give a warm embrace to my flaws, supplant the “I can’t do this” with a “don’t force it” and keep moving. stunningley@mihomepaper.com


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