You want to be happy. Hearing it sounds so cliche. Saying it out loud conjures up images of you turning into Stuart Smalley (from Saturday Night Live), stating your daily affirmations: "I am entitled to my share of happiness. I'm good enough, and, doggonit, people like me!"
You think to yourself, "Does wanting to be happy make me unhappy?"
This question makes you self-reflect. Most of your ducks are in a row. You even have moments when you see yourself as self-assured. It's not like you are depressed. You've just had your share of challenges as of late.
The problem is you're realizing that shopping therapy, chocolate binges, or happy hours aren't really solving your problems either. In fact, when the credit card bill comes, or the extra pounds pile on, or you are stuck with another hangover, you come to the realization that you really feel like sh*t!
You know that if you would stop doing the above actions you would most likely feel better. So you hit the gym, get back to a healthy lifestyle, and hide your credit card. Yet, week after week, or sometimes day after day, you find yourself turning to the same self-soothers that numb you out in the short-term but in the long-term do nothing for you. That's when you start to question: "Am I unhappy or just having a series of bad days?"
The reality is that your unhappiness is leading you to have consistently bad days. How do I know? Besides being trained as a psychotherapist and life coach, I have personally been there. I know what it is like to be clinically depressed (if you are worried that's you, go to the National Institute of Mental Health for more information).
What I didn't expect was that my life after therapy would still lead to days where I still felt like sh*t! My life actually appeared to be on the up and up. The parts of my life that I thought would bring me happiness were coming to fruition. I had finally started to check off what I thought were the most important ingredients to having a good life:
-- Wonderful husband (check)
-- Amazing kids (check)
-- Job I am passionate about (check)
-- Great neighborhood (check)
Who was I to complain? What the hell was wrong with me?
It was on this search of trying to figure out where I had gone wrong with my feelings that I recognized I wasn't alone. I also discovered what was keeping so many people from feeling the happiness they want and deserve. So without further ado, let's look at the top three mistakes that trigger you to be in a bad mood:
1. You Don't Listen.
You may be an excellent listener to your best friend, partner, boss, siblings, or parents. The problem is you have no idea how to listen to you. What is really going on inside you? How do you really feel?
I get why you don't want to listen to how your feelings. There is too much shame, judgment, and mistrust toward your emotions. We've been told, "don't be sad." Plus, you automatically feel like a total b*tch when you get angry or feel jealous. Good people don't feel that way, right? Wrong! But because you've been taught to believe that certain emotions aren't good, you learn to hide from them. What you don't realize is when you hide from your feelings, you are also hiding a very significant part of who you are. The more this part of you gets tucked safely away within you, the harder it is for you to hear your authentic self.
2. You Like Being the Victim.
Even though you may think you don't like being the victim whatsoever, we all like being the victim. Here's why: As the victim, you get to blame others for your problems. You get to feel like the martyr, rather than take responsibility for your part. You get to stay in the fantasy that someday you'll be rescued. The bottom line is that being the victim feels safer because you can stay small. The smaller you feel, the less likely you are to be hurt again. Being the victim gives you an easy out as to why you can't step into your truth, your authentic self and your greatness.
The problem is that being the victim creates a very dull life. You can only be the victim for so long until life becomes seriously boring. I mean, how many times can you repeat the same song and dance as to why your life sucks before you are willing to go do something about it despite what wrongdoings have occurred to you?
3. You're a Fraud.
You are afraid to be yourself. On some level, in some area of your life, being you somehow isn't enough. You are convinced you aren't good enough, smart enough, lovable enough... and the list goes on and on. In other words, you believe that in order to be able to get what you really want, you have to become better, smarter, more lovable, etc. The result is you aren't really being you.
When I realized I felt like a fraud, I freaked out. I screamed, swore, and had a good old fashioned meltdown, with snot and mascara running down my face. I decided I was done. No more psychotherapy. No more life coaching. No more anything. As much as it terrified me, this admission ultimately liberated me.
The good news is that each of these mistakes are present to liberate us. They are an indicator that life has become stale, like week-old bread. You need to mix up your energy to prevent life from becoming moldy because when the mold sets in, the depression sets in. So before that bad mood becomes a permanent fixture in your life, let's learn how to shake up your energy to shift your bad mood to good. All you need is pen, paper, and your cell phone.
First, I want you to pick out a song that fits with the mood you are in. What song will let you go deeper into those feelings? Sinead's "Nothing Compares to You"? The Beatles song "Yesterday"? REM's "Everybody Hurts"? Press play and set the alarm to go off in five minutes. During that time, give yourself permission to rant unfiltered onto your paper. As soon as the alarm goes off, stop.
Second, pick out a song that makes you feel unstoppable. Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire"? Going old school with Gloria Gainer's "I Will Survive"? How about Whitney's "I'm Every Woman"? Then give yourself another five minutes on the clock and unleash your empowered self. What does your boldness want you to do about what has made you upset?
Third, commit to following through on the inspired action you received when you were unstoppable. Set a date in your calendar in which you will complete your inspired action. Seal your commitment with a song that is about you stepping into more of your truth. It can be about awakening, like Katy Perry's "Wide Awake." Motivating, like the Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling." Even wacky with a great message, like the YouTube sensation "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That!"
Then set your ringer to your commitment song until your inspired action is completed.
What you'll ultimately find is that your negative feelings are like an honesty barometer guiding you to come back to your authentic self, even if it pains you. By adding in the technology piece, for sure reclaiming your authentic self isn't as excruciating. Dare I say, it could even be fun?
In the end, what'll you discover is that by adding some technology to the mix, you won't hide so often from your bad moods because you'll know how to address them in an empowered manner. Doing so will make you feel more unstoppable. And the truth is that your unstoppable self is your authentic self. Your bad moods are simply a map to what you've been looking for all along: YOU.
For more by Michelle Bersell, click here.
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