Happiness 102: You Hold The Power

No situation or person has the power to make you unhappy; you give that power to them. I don’t care if you are a determinist- act like free will exists, and you will be happier. Even if you believe in a divine plan, fate, destiny, astrology, or anything along those lines, you can’t give those things power over your happiness.

Say you believe in a divine plan. You had an amazing girlfriend and somehow the relationship ended. Well, it was part of God’s plan. But then see how it will escalate to something negative: “God hates me, he doesn’t want me to be happy, and why does he keep on setting me up with these horrible people.” Now let’s say that this is the case, God really does hate you. Besides the fact that a benevolent being hating on you makes no sense, you can never prove that. So why let that be the belief that you stick to? It could just as easily be for the reason that you need to mature by having these bad relationships in order for a relationship to work with your soulmate. You will never know the truth why these things happen, but doesn’t having the second belief lead you to a happier state of being? See how fate is compatible with self-empowerment? This is pretty much the same as the last section: see things on the positive side.

Now to get to what this section was meant for: people. We give people power all the time: “Susan made me mad” “Jack hurt my feelings” “Michael hates me so I won’t get promoted”. Nobody can make you anything; you are responsible for your own actions and feelings. People don’t make you sad, your thoughts about what they said makes you sad. Let’s say that Susan or Jack did say something horrible: “You are horrible at your job”. The only way that affects you is if you believe it. Say you do believe it, that you are bad at your job. Do something about it, become a harder worker. If you don’t believe it, then don’t let others words hurt you. People have different perspectives and are allowed to have opinions. If they always run into you in the restroom, but never see you while you are working hard, then that could lead them to the conclusion. If you really want them to know that you are really working (such as a boss or something), make it a point to pass them while you are working. Don’t let negative comments be louder than the good ones. Chances are for every “you are horrible at your job” you have plenty of people patting you on the back for your good work. Some people you can’t please.

Now let’s deal with the whole “somebody is preventing me from doing something” issue. As I said before, people are entitled to their own opinions. Even if Michael does hate you for being so happy all the time and this causes him to never give you a promotion, it’s your fault for not doing anything. There are many things you could do in this situation: Talk to him about it “I feel that you don’t like me and are preventing me from being promoted because of it.” He may start to question why he even dislikes you; he may tell you what you did to make him upset, and you could even restart the relationship. You could talk to his superiors and get an intermediary to talk to him. And you could even just go for another job.
There are always possibilities. As an exercise, look at situations in your past and their outcomes. Notice what you did and what you could have done differently to make the situation better, or worse. For example: In the time I wrote this, I could have wasted my time just watching tv (which would have been subjectively worse) or I could have went outside for a walk and enjoyed some fresh air (which could be considered better). But I’m proud of the decision I made to take this time and write all of this down, so I don’t feel like time was wasted. See how this is a great way to notice possibilities and notice how my thoughts on the situation make it seem like a ‘good’ one?


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