Living Consciously: The Power to Choose How We React in Any Situation
Living Unconsciously: An Obstacle to Happiness.
Relax, take a deep breath and think: What’s stopping you from being happy? What’s stopping you from being happy, all the time?
Grab a pen and paper and list your obstacles to happiness. Answer the question from your soul, because you are the only person who has the answers. You are the only person powerful enough to create a life that will allow happiness to flow your way easily and effortlessly.
First of all, there are only two ways to live: unconsciously or consciously.
Admittedly, the majority of my life was spent in an unconscious state. When you live in an unconscious state, you are dependent on a variety of events or circumstances including other people to “make” you happy. Some examples include, the stock market, your political preferences, a below-average golf game, an inconsiderate driver, the weather, your health, a rude cashier, a forgetful spouse, an anorexic bank account. These things, according to you, determine what type of day you’re having. I’ve labeled countless days “bad” or “good” depending on what’s “happened” to me. Sound familiar?
If circumstances or events didn’t match my expectations, then my day was shot to hell… every time! Emotions like aggravation, irritation, impatience, anger, sadness, moodiness, to name a few, ruled my life. I was the queen of discontent!
When I began living consciously my life changed dramatically.
But what does “living consciously” mean and more importantly how do we accomplish living consciously 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Is being happy in our every waking moment even possible?
I say yes it is possible! And I’m living proof.
First of all, living consciously means thinking and behaving differently than we have in the past. Living consciously is one of the most important elements to maintaining and sustaining happiness.
Example: You’re driving on the freeway and someone hastily and without warning cuts into your lane which causes you to swerve to avoid an accident. Most people would react to this situation in an unconscious manner.
How would you react in this same situation?
Your answer determines whether or not you respond consciously or not. Would you offer them the middle-finger salute and let the expletives fly?
If that response sounds familiar or similar to how you would respond, then you are reacting unconsciously. And if you’re reacting unconsciously, then you’re not choosing your responses. And if you’re not choosing your responses,you become a victim of your circumstances. When you’re a victim of your circumstances…maintaining and sustaining happiness is impossible.
Think about this. When you respond to anyone or any circumstance in an angry manner, does that response create more happiness or less happiness in your life? The answer is less.
Whenever we express anger, impatience, intolerance, judgments, sadness or any other related emotion, we’re actually subtracting from our happiness. More importantly, we actually begin attracting more of the same toxic emotions into our life. We can’t be angry and happy at the same time. We have to choose one. During any circumstance, we have the power to choose how we want to feel. It’s really that simple.
What are some different emotions you could choose in that same situation?
I’m so glad you asked!
Let’s use the same example of a driver cutting us off in traffic, but this time let’s imagine an empathetic reason why someone would drive this way. In other words, under what circumstances would you forgive and excuse a driver for cutting you off?
Are you able to come up with a plausible reason?
If so, you are beginning to think differently.
If you’re stuck, let me be of some assistance. What if the driver just received a phone call saying that their child, mother, husband, wife, best-friend or grandparent was just admitted to the emergency room in a hospital 55 miles away? Can you imagine how you would drive with the same news? Your focus would be to get to your loved one as quickly as possible.
Would you have reacted to them differently if you knew their circumstances? Of course you would!
So the next time someone “disrespects” you in traffic, don’t take their behavior personally because it’s not personal. To be clear, I’m not condoning rude, reckless inconsiderate drivers. What I am saying is if your priority is happiness, then you have an obligation and a responsibility to consciously choose your reactions in a way that doesn’t subtract from your happiness. Get it?
I find that when I’m traveling I’m more or less forced to remain conscious. My environment has changed and I can’t rely on my “routine” behavior. Have fun and practice changing your everyday routine by changing the route you usually take to work, or shop at a different market, or change your everyday greeting. Instead of saying “have a good day” or “have a good weekend” come up with different ways to express the same sentiment. This exercise will encourage thinking consciously as opposed to habitually.
Just like mastering any new skill, living consciously takes a period of time to master. Remain patient with the process. As you begin to change the way you respond and react to your circumstances, the people in your life your world will change! You will be happier…guaranteed!