Thursday, February 19, 2009

How to Feel Good in a Recession

Regardless to how we feel today, the answers to all our problems are found within the problems. To go beyond self-pity, we must face the raw, naked, vulnerability of our problems. Then, we're able to clearly see where the pain comes from, and why it's causing us so much discomfort.

There are some days when we just don't feel very good about ourselves. On these days it's easy for us to gossip, criticize, and fantasize. We frequently find it difficult to remain awake and focus on what's important to us. We slither through the day purposeless, emotionally drained, while stumbling painfully from problem to problem.

During these times when we find it difficult to feel good about ourselves, we should take a few minutes to examine why we're feeling downtrodden. And when we do, we will clearly see the wonderful opportunities we have to change the way we think about ourselves. This is our opportunity to seek refuge in empowerment rather than in self-pity.

When we seek refuge in empowerment, we elevate ourselves to a higher level of consciousness that's beyond the constant dosages of self-pity found only in victim consciousness. At this level of consciousness, we find the clarity we need to see that what we thought was difficult is now doable. We feel better about ourselves.

Similarly, when we begin our day with thoughts that life is simple, we stop perceiving the challenges facing us as being difficult. Life is simple, but we work very hard to make it difficult.

With an uncluttered mind overflowing with clarity, we now see the world as a process of continuous change. Each time we change the way we think about ourselves and others, the world changes to reflect our growth. From this perspective, we perceive the inherent changes when life becomes death, happiness becomes sadness, and the powerful becomes powerless as nothing more than expressions of our thinking.

While we know these changes occur every day, we continue to attach ourselves to them. We continue to fight with them and we find it very difficult to just accept them as the grace that comes naturally from a world in a continuous flow of change.

For many of us, grace means good (pleasurable) things happening in our lives. We usually don't consider the bad (unhappy) things happening to us as grace. Yet failures, setbacks, illnesses, and personal losses are all part of the natural order of being human and living in a constant changing world. This means that all changes, even those we consider unpleasant, have the power to affect our well-being.

Nevertheless, to accept or allow, without resistance, both pleasurable and not-so-pleasurable changes into our lives is a liberating, freeing experience. By our willingness to embrace changes as part of the natural existence of being human means we accept life the way it is without our pious victim beliefs.

By accepting life the way it is doesn't mean giving up or becoming apathetic to what's happening to us and the rest of the world. It means we understand the universal laws of changeability a little better than we did when we perceived life from the prism of self-pity. It also means we now recognize the natural ebb and flow of life, which allows us to accept changes without feeling powerless.

Each day we awake is another day to accept the day's changes naturally; the way we accept awakening in the morning. We begin our day by acknowledging we are inextricably tied to the ebb and flow of nature.

Nevertheless, we find it incredulous to accept something unpleasant happening to us. Most of us want to always feel good. We search for things -- entertainment, food, relationships, and jobs -- to make us happy. We relish the "feel good" moments; even though we know they're temporal.

Many personal growth teachers, myself included, teach others how to overcome the unpleasant changes causing us to feel powerless. We are sometimes accused of teaching people about things we are unable to do ourselves.

That's ridiculous. We feel powerless and overwhelmed by problems like the people we are seeking to help. Most of us are sharing our experiences and techniques with others to assist them with moving through the pain and suffering. And like so many others, we struggle from time to time with trying to make the world remain still, permanent.

For those of us who desire to overcome the victim beliefs that cause us the deep pain and suffering, we take the action to do something about it. We refuse to wallow in self-pity and embrace powerlessness. We seek the higher ground of empowerment. We continue to work on ourselves. We continue to work to make the world a better place for us to live in.

Meanwhile, by embracing the goal of achieving empowerment, we understand powerlessness and embrace it as a friend. It is the light we use to guide us through the pain and suffering. This is the light that keeps us awake and vigilant so that we are mindful of what's happening in our lives.