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Why We Do Things That Don’t Make Us Happy –part 2 April 4, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Self-Development.
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by Robbert van der Steeg

Ok—it’s Easter Sunday and a beautiful day outside and I really don’t feel like writing about why we do things that don’t make us happy. But I have finished hiding Easter eggs in the yard for my grandchildren and making messages from the Easter bunny. So anything that could legitimately garner my attention has been taken care of. (Besides it was fun.) And I do have some more to say about why we do these crazy-ass things that don’t make us happy. And since this is part of my dharma (more about that later), I can get my mood to a productive place about doing it. .So here goes….

Last post I mentioned that one of the reasons that we do things that don’t make us happy is that we don’t have the distinction of what we really want to do. We just do what we think we should do.

We all have tapes.

We also have what I refer to as ‘tapes’ that are on continuous feed inside our heads. Your own tapes come from a variety of places, not the least of which were your parents or caregivers as you were growing up. Actually where they come from is not really my concern—if it’s yours may I suggest a good psychologist? I am more interested in working with what’s present, period.

As I said our tapes run on a continuous feed and give us scintillating messages like, “Only a bad daughter would move so far away from her parents,” or “ I have to do all my work before I can play,” or (my personal favorite) “I have to be perfect in all ways.”

What are your tapes telling you to do?

So what are your tapes? And even more important—what are they causing you to do in your life that doesn’t even come close to making you happy?

I bet your next question is “Can I get rid of these tapes or am I stuck with them?” And my answer is, maybe. If you want to leave your tapes behind then a strong declaration to do so will go a long way. To me though the issue is to be more conscious of what tapes you play and how they have an impact on what you do. Then simply be in a place of inquiry about where your actions are coming from. And just say no if you don’t like what you are doing to serve your tapes..

Be conscious about what you’re doing and why

So if you find that you never make time for yourself—and you’re not satisfied with that—look at what tape is in play. Is it the one that says you are a terrible person if you don’t take care of everyone around you first? Or your tape says that only work is a valid activity and doing anything that is not ‘work’ is frivolous and unproductive.

Change your mind

To quote one of my idols, Byron Katie, “Is this true? If you think it’s true can you really know that it’s true?” If you really think about it, the answer will be no, the tape is not true. It’s simply a thought you carry around. The good news, boys and girls, is that thoughts can be changed. If a particular thought (tape) is keeping you from having fun, I say vanquish it—immediately, if not sooner.

And while I’m on the subject of fun—I offer that this should be another goal of your life. Make sure you include the fun element in your life—your fun,not someone else’s. My own personal motto is that if I’m not having fun, I don’t want to do it. And before you ask,–yes, that goes for the faction of my life that some might refer to as work. This girl just wants to have fun…

Your mission should you decide to accept it

What can you do that totally ignores one of your less productive tapes and have fun in the process? .I challenge you to do at least one thing this week that is simply for fun. C’mon you can do it..

Looks like there’s going to be another installment on this topic since I didn’t get to dharma. Stay tuned.

–Amara

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