Lately I've been thinking about how to keep my happiness with me. It's something my mom has been telling me to do for years and years. I'm an emotional human, or a passionate Cuban depending on how you want to look at it, and for the longest keeping my happiness with me has been an illusive challenge. Don't get me wrong it still is challenging, but lately I've been having some realizations that may help me get closer to controlling my emotions.
Emotions don't happen in a vacuum, they're usually a direct response to something that was said or done by another human or animal. We get touched or moved by events that happen around us, and that can be positive and remind us that we're all connected. I'm not so worried about getting a handle on those positive emotions, what I want to pay attention to are those instances where I feel hurt by something (emotionally not physically.) Those are the moments when I have a choice to either get angry, get sad, or take a moment to reflect on why I might be feeling hurt in the first place. My new challenge to myself - it doesn't get boring in my brain, ever - is to catch the moment of pain so I can make a conscious decision about what to do next.
I believe we have a choice, most of us, on whether or not we want to act on an emotion we're feeling. If I'm feeling hurt about something maybe I need to speak up and let the person whose statement impacted me know I'm feeling defensive or sad, but I don't need to do so in a voice tinged with that emotion. I've learned recently that expressing myself in an emotional way isn't always the most effective way of communicating. Sometimes my emotions block people out or impact them in such a way that they get hurt or angry and then there's no room for conversation. If I can calmly observe both to myself and them that I feel a certain way it gives them the opportunity to clarify if there was a misunderstanding - basically it's like opening a bridge and inviting them across instead of burning the bridge down. If I can't be calm in the moment, I need to wait to speak about it until I can. Enter Thich Nhat Hanh's extremely helpful book, Anger.
Keeping my happiness with me is also about not letting negative people who like to shit all over, shit on me.
'People become shitty because you let them shit inside you.'
I believe I read this quote in James Altucher's Choose Yourself - fantastic read - and it really struck home. Don't let people become shitty, it's to all of our benefit. The more a person thinks it's okay to shit on you the more confidence they'll have to try and shit on someone else. Imagine someone you know, a disrespectful rude person, trying to be shitty and being refused. Now imagine them standing there with a steaming pile of shit in their hands not knowing what to do with it. Pretty great right?
Here's to keeping our happiness with us, a moment at a time.
I am an advocate for gender parity in the entertainment world and write, act, and produce with a mind to facilitate that change.