If you’re not happy, it’s because you’re telling yourself something negative or because you’ve made choices that are not aligned with what you love to do or with your life purpose. Our mind can cause us to be unhappy because minds are, by their very nature, negative.
For example, the mind could be telling you that what you’re doing isn’t meaningful or that you’re not doing it well enough. So, it’s possible to be living a life that supports your life purpose but not be happy because your negative mind saps the joy out of it. The mind declares: “This is how things should be and how you should be,” and it quickly follows that with, “and you’re not.” “You’re not the way you should be; you’re not doing it right.”
In our culture we associate eating with celebration and parties and so when we think our lives lack enjoyment, we try to create fun through food. Yet, life often lacks fun because we’ve made it that way, either by creating lives that don’t suit us, doing too many things, or engaging in negative thinking.
Begin by discovering what created the emotion in the first place. Start by examining the structures in your life. For example, if you’re angry or resentful about the way your life is set up, you may need to make some changes. It’s best to stop doing things that you don’t want to do, within reason, or at least take steps in that direction. Even though you may feel locked into your life, you don’t have to spend most of your time doing things you don’t want to do. To become empowered and stop repressing or eating your feelings, you have to begin to listen to your heart and redirect your life so that you’re doing what you want to do.
Unless you realize that you are choosing how you spend your time, you will feel victimized, angry, and resentful and find yourself eating emotionally. There are always tasks that people would rather not do, but no one has to work at a job that just doesn’t fit. Eliminate as many unpleasant tasks and activities as possible so that you can be happy. You’re not meant to live a life that you don’t want to live.
Often we get going in the wrong direction because our mind or other people’s minds tell us we have to do this, that, or the other thing to survive or to attain a certain standard of living. If you’re doing what you want to do, you won’t need to get happiness from things. If you’re happy and fulfilled doing what you’re doing, life will feel good and you won’t feel the need to eat emotionally.
There’s the ego’s version of happiness, and then there’s real happiness. These two versions of happiness look very different. If living your heart’s truth or following your passions doesn’t include the money, success, or admiration the ego desires, then it can take courage to see that you can be happy living simply and doing what you love instead of having all the niceties that other people think you need.
In exchange for doing the things you hate, the ego offers you a nice car or nice house as a reward so that you can feel good about yourself. That’s the trade-off. But you don’t have to get happiness from feeling good about yourself on an egoic level. When you’re being true to yourself, you feel good about yourself because you genuinely like what you’re doing. Then feeling good isn’t conditional. You won’t need to be famous, sexy, or rich to feel good about yourself.
Ask yourself: Am I spending most of my time doing things I enjoy? If not, how can I reorganize my life to be able to do what I love?
Here are the things I love to do:
Here is how I will reorganize my life to be able to spend more time doing what I love:
By Laura Katleman-Prue, author of Skinny Thinking