I would be happy, if only….

I would be happy if only….fill in the blank.

My life had been filled with that phrase. It started when I was very young.

If only:

I didn’t have that freckle on my face
I didn’t have this compulsion
I didn’t have this obsession
I was thin
I didn’t have my past
I didn’t have the regrets
I had my soulmate
I wasn’t alone
I had the perfect job
My partner was more like that
I lived there
I had that
After I fixed this….

You get the picture. 

Because of my history with obsessive compulsive disorder, when I went through AA and did the big book step study process, doing amends was endless. In fact it triggered more obsessions and compulsions and the need to say this or say that.  For instance, my thoughts told me I could be happy after I did or said that. It was as if a thorn was pushing through my brain and when one compulsion or obsession ended another began.

I had a lifetime of allowing my thoughts to sabotage my happiness. I am not knocking making amends. Working with others, making peace and healing can all be part of the process.  I just didn’t know when to stop.

As Dr. David Burns writes in Feeling Great, it is your thoughts, and not the circumstances of your life, that create all of your feelings. You FEEL the way you think.

I started using the mantra “Tempt fate, enjoy your life” from Beyond the Doubt. I started seriously talking back to my negative thoughts when it told me I was not good enough, deserving or I had to be perfect in some way. 

I started telling it that I accept my imperfections, love them, even. I reminded those thoughts that my understanding of God was love and I was loved. I remembered powerful meditations I had in the past. I aggressively used Cognitive Behavior Therapy practice as I Rehearsed happiness. And when those thoughts tugged at me, tried to get my attention, I saw it and said “so what?” I decided to tempt fate and enjoy my life, accept my imperfections, be present.

Talk about freedom!

So when a thought tells you that you will be happy when ________, just tell it “nah, I choose to be happy now.” Your brain CAN be rewired.  It might take time and feel uncomfortable at first.

Your brain is having a human experience but your essence…..you are so much more!  You shed light in ways you don’t even know, just by being you.

So celebrate that!

Rehearse until it’s Real.

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