On a recent trip to Israel, I suddenly realized something I have been doing wrong all these years. Like many others, I occasionally bitch and whine about misfortunes. Granted, not too often anymore, and, even when I do, it is performed with enhanced awareness. But when bad luck, or simple stupidity for that matter, strikes, I blame everyone involved and their stepmother too. Why? Maybe because I am used to believe it will make me feel better; maybe because I was conditioned to do so, as that is what everyone else seems to do. Or, maybe it’s just plain ignorance. As mentioned, I do not conduct myself that way much anymore. I came to realize that whenever I point a finger, I play the role of the victim, and that is not such a good idea; it disempowers me.
In case you are wondering, this is not what I recently realized. The idea of being a victim is included at the first chapter of any decent self-help book; no great insight there. What I realized is that I do not take the time to acknowledge my happy moments. Here I was, enjoying a short, albeit forced, vacation; visiting people I love, having wonderful aromatic coffee I adore, feeling free of obligations, (even if that was only a temporary illusion) – it felt good, real good. I was driving along some highway and experienced a sense of immense joy rising in me. Rather than let that moment pass, I called out loud (mind you, I was alone in the car, but who knows, it may have been even more interesting if I had company around…) “I am happy! Right now – let it be noted: I am happy!”
Why? Why is important to announce such a feeling to the world? This is my two cents psychology: we tend to go through life acknowledging mostly our screw-ups, our sad and challenging moments. We gain sympathy when we tell others of our miseries. When we tell someone else, unless it is a true loving close friend, of our success, of a happy moment we had, they may mutter a brief “congratulations,” but behind it lives envy, jealousy. Thus, over time, we are conditioned to expect and acknowledge only the low points of our lives. Not good.
Therefore I started a new practice. I take the time to recognize and nurture happy moments. Turned out that I have many more of these than I initially realized. Or maybe, just maybe, such moments, when receiving recognition, start to multiple and grow; like flowers denied of light that are suddenly exposed to the sun. Yes, on occasion I may still default to my old conditioning. But as with most of my other practices, I accept it takes time and persistence to replace the old with the new.
p.s. If you ever need encouragement, call, email or text me. I promise to do my best to cheer for your happy moments!
Learned from: a road trip and a happy moment that grew by observation.