To Get More Happiness, Feel More Sadness
Opening the Aperture of Emotions
To get more happiness, feel more sadness. This is another way of interacting with reality, one in which we can LIVE more fully, embracing everything. Opening the lens is a way of being that is more rich and rewarding than constant re-framing. This is my purpose: to embrace exactly what is more fully so that I recognize how each moment is overflowing with everything that makes life worth living.
The deeper we can experience the “negative,” the more fully we can experience the “positive.” The further into the despair we allow ourselves to truly feel, the higher we can go into ecstasy.
Why bother sharing them?
Most of us rarely share the full range of our experience in public. I believe the more we are willing to share, the more we open ourselves up to feeling—particularly if we feel safety and are loved sharing that range.
The following graph illustrates this aperture of emotions.
Therefore I encourage you to experiment with feeling your darkest emotions more fully.
This is counter-intuitive to most people. It goes against our habitual way of reacting to emotions we do not like. It goes against our automatic defenses. And it goes against the grain of most self-help books which encourage positive thinking and affirmations to change your life.
Your defenses have served you in the past. But are they still serving you now, when your goal in life is less about safety and more about becoming the most alive, loving, and elegant being you can imagine?
And those self-help strategies may work. But what are they working for? For you to see everything, even despair and devastation, with rose-colored glasses? To hide from certain realities of yours, and others’ experience?
Finally, who is this self that is being helped? And what is it being helped toward?
And when I feel happiness and depression, charity and jealousy, courage and vulnerability to their fullest extents, I cannot help but recognize that all of these transitory feelings rest inside of a deeper fabric of love and joy that enshrouds everything.
PLEASE NOTE: This encouragement is probably not appropriate for some people who have serious mental health issues, especially without trained guidance. You likely know who you are. But many of you reading these articles are learning to take development into your own hands, and if you want to go all the way to unmediated and omnipresent joy, you will have to dive into the depths.