We hold on to things since we are born. We clutch our hands on whatever things we can as a baby. May be because we leave a world where we felt safe and secure for almost 9 months and then we came to this world full of people and new scenery. It’s the feeling of belonging that we all want. Although sometimes we mix that with things and emotions and memories. We are good with sticking to habits but not very good in choosing them consciously first. And since childhood we start to see the change in everything around us. If we can make ourselves flexible to do that then it is ideal. But not all of us can cope with changes that take place around us all the time and we try to hold on to different things, emotions, memories to keep ourselves in an impression that things are the same and we are living the similar life as we used to.
It hurts when we start holding on to negative emotions like anger or feeling of revenge. Any such emotions leads to frustration and as found by science that emotions work as “on-off switch” for learning. And every day we have to learn or use our brain productively most of the time. Once we have the negative feelings then our brain interpret any information as negative and we lose interest quickly. And if we are happy then the brain interprets the same information as positive and sends a message of purpose and excitement that in turn directs the behaviour towards a goal.
Just like food, it is very important what we feed our brain as well. And we are not referring to the information but rather talking about the emotions as they are the key drivers of how we are going to perceive that information and how effectively we are going to make use of it. You must have observed when we are sad or grumpy we tend to miss bits and pieces of information that we either read or watch in television. Whereas when we are emotionally light or I would say emotionally available then we are more focused on what we are reading/watching.
Let go of such emotions. Holding on to old things is not as bad as holding on to the old grudges. Every time someone either treat us bad or make us do things forcefully, we get angry and if we hold on to that anger then it stirs the negative energy in us from time to time. Also if we have fear in us about failure in life or work then again that emotion drives our behaviour. We will have to first learn what emotions we might be holding on to. We can do some exercises like writing down the past memories that still makes us feel bad and observe how we feel when we think about it. Most of the emotions can be related to fear and anger. Now I understand that process of let go is not as easy as we say. But I would say that take it as a decision you make. We never harm anyone else by hating them or fearing them but we are our own enemy when we do that. It hurts us and no one else. So why not give yourself a gift and let go of such emotions. Forgiveness is the best way to do it. Decide that you want to forgive people who hurt you. Decide that you want to change the association of your fear to certain situations and see them in new light.
It’s just a start and I am going to write more about how we can use various techniques to let go as we move on. I would like to hear your perspective and problems that you face when you try to let go. As I am no expert but I am trying to let go as well. Why not we do it together as we all need support when we try to become a better and happy person.
The true purpose of our life is to be happy. Now does it means that I should go out there and do whatever makes me happy even if that means drinking alcohol, smoking, eating fast food or harming some one. No, not at all. And there comes the concept of ‘connection of happiness’. We associate happiness with a lot of things and many times they are not right. For example eating sweets to make ourselves happy when we are sad or drinking alcohol to get over some one. These are the associations that we train our brain with for years of practice.
Stop right there and list all such habits that deep inside you know are not good for you. This will not stop you from doing it but awareness is the first step. Until unless we accept that any habit is not good for us, we are not going to leave it. So it is the choice that we need to make first to know what are the things that we are doing are not good for us. Its like doing the diagnosis of a disease, only then it can be cured.
Step 2 is to decide that you want to change the connection of happiness from wrong habits to healthy and right habits. Also you are the one who is supposed to define right or wrong as for some one it can be for a run every time they get sad and for another it might be meeting a friend and talk about it. Its also a matter of convenience and available options. So it is important to give your self some options before strictly adhering to the new habits. Most of the times we do not stick to the new habits because we assume there is only one choice and if we can’t stick to it then we are a failure and we get even more sad and end up returning back to the old habits to be happy. To get out of this loop we need to give ourselves rating from 10 to 1 and 1 means that we at least tried and this way we never are a failure and its just a matter of getting more or less points. Remember that while deciding to change the connection of happiness from the bad habits to good habits we are actually choosing a path and once we choose a path then we are no longer on the old way. I would suggest start visualizing this and then you would feel it is so easy to follow.
Step 3 is practicing the new habits consciously. Any habit takes time to form therefore replacing a habit also takes a cycle. Our brain is very powerful but its like like wild horse that is jumping around all the time and its hard to train it. We need to understand that its our asset that we need to take care of and our baby that we need to nurture as well. Do not be harsh on yourself and have patience in teaching your brain the right things. Take time and be patient, the more gentle you would be the more calm the brain will become. The more strict you will treat it, the more wilder it will start behaving. Practice every day in the morning or what ever time suits you to calm down and tell your brain the right things. Tell stories to yourself just like we used to do in our childhood (reading loud) and believe me it works and it works very well.
I will share more insight into this as we move forward. I am also just practicing these things as you are reading this. So there is a lot to come. Be happy with the right connection!