I hope you found yesterday’s post regarding Talking and Thoughts to be helpful. If you just joined this journey, be sure to take the time to go back and read from the beginning. Without delay, let’s get to it and discuss the letter “U”.
Understanding, Urges, Utilize
There are several different meanings of the word understanding. For the purpose of this article related to happiness, we’re talking about understanding as, “having or showing kind or favorable feelings toward others, showing sympathy and kindness, a willingness to understand people’s behavior and forgive them.”
No doubt, this is something you are already doing. You are able, without conscious effort, to show understanding toward your family members and friends during their times of need. You may not completely understand their situation and subsequent feelings, but you can “understand why they would feel that way.”
Extend Understanding to Yourself
It is true that we are our worst enemies/critics. However, if you are able to extend this fantastic gift of kindness and love toward others, then why can’t you extend it to yourself? Do you remember a previous post about giving? We talked about the significance of giving and how it makes you feel. That is the same concept in this example.
Think about how you extend help to a friend in their time of need. You are able to provide understanding in the form of kindness and support. Well, isn’t it about time that you started treating yourself the same way? During those times when you are struggling to find a path to happiness in your life, be willing to treat yourself with the same amount of kindness and love. You are your own best friend!
Throughout your life, when faced with unpleasant and difficult emotions, you will experience a strong impulse to act in a certain way. As humans, we often utilize unhealthy coping mechanisms to manage (or bury) our feelings. Most of these carry a significant amount of negative side effects, such as guilt, anger, fear, anxiety, frustration, and ultimately more unhappiness which can lead to depression.
There are many different types of urges, which vary from person to person. Some of these include yelling, shouting, hitting objects, gambling, eating, drinking in excess, using drugs, isolating, shopping, self-harm, and many others. The most important part of this discussion is to recognize your urges and utilize more favorable coping strategies.
To Act or Not to Act on Urges?
Whenever an urge arises, you have two choices: act upon it or don’t act upon it. Therefore, once you are aware of an urge, you need to ask yourself, “Will acting on this urge help me be the person I want to be? Will it help take my life in the direction I want to go? If the answer is no, then it’s sensible not to act on it. (The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris)
The key is to recognize your urge for what it is. An urge is “a strong need or desire to have or do something.” An urge is not defined as the “only way” to do something. It is a thought waiting for action. It’s important to recognize that you DO have control over your urges. It takes time, practice and a lot of willpower. But, it is possible.
In our discussion about urges, you learned that an urge is a thought to do something. It doesn’t have any inherent action, not until you act upon it. So, what can you do when you are experiencing those unhealthy urges? It is time to utilize some of the skills you have read about in this series regarding The Alphabet of Happiness.
This series can easily be identified as the ‘how’ and ‘why’ to happiness. You have read many ideas you can utilize to help manage your emotions and thoughts to help you achieve more happiness in your life. Rather than list all of the ideas here, I encourage you to go back and read previous posts for ideas.
Find an effective skill to utilize
When you are searching for a more effective coping mechanism, be sure to try one that is reasonable. Find one that suits you, your lifestyle, your time commitments,. your personal beliefs, and your interests. You won’t be able to effectively utilize a new skill if it doesn’t suit you. And then, like most everything in your life, practice. Don’t give up the first time. Don’t give up the second time. It may take a dozen times trying a new skill before you find it effective.
Whatever new skill or tool you decide to utilize, be patient and be kind to yourself. Do you want to remain unhappy and downright miserable or would you rather find a way to be happy? Whatever new tool you utilize, remember to do it mindfully and with kindness.
As we continue this journey together, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have yet to find your own how or why to happiness, I strongly believe you will. Please come back tomorrow as we explore the letter “V”.
Copyright © Julie Corbett 2017