A Valentine’s Day Post: Attracting Happiness
On Valentine’s Day we send flowers and cards to those with whom we have relationships. The motivations that prompt those gifts and missives are as varied as the people who send them and the relationships that spawn them. If they have anything in common, it is that longing from the heart for closeness to another and a desire for happiness. In reaching out for happiness, we oftentimes look to other people, as if they had the power to grant that which we seek, thus making everything right in our lives. Consider the following.
I’m sure you’ve read some version of this instructive story. A man goes to a spiritual counselor to seek advice: “I’m very unhappy here and I want to seek happiness elsewhere. Will I find it?”
“What is it about your life here that has brought you unhappiness?”
“All of my relationships with women end in failure. I don’t get along with my co-workers. My neighbors treat me like an outcast. I have no true friends.”
“Why do you think this is so?”
“No one understands me or values me.”
“Seek not for happiness elsewhere. You will not find it.”
Crestfallen, the man leaves.
What did the spiritual counselor recognize that the man could not? Is happiness a destination to which other people take you? Or do we attract happiness through what we cultivate within?
The key to why this man could not find happiness lies in his answer. Instead of looking within to the kind of interior life he was cultivating, with its potential to attract or repulse others, he was looking outside himself. His answer clearly places the blame for his lack of happiness on others.
Sound familiar? Isn’t this something we all do from time to time? Isn’t our first impulse to deny the role we have in our unhappiness? For most people a cooling off time brings rational thought and the ability to recognize the part they play in the success or failure within their relationships. For others, however, deep-seated needs and fears block recognition of what they attract to themselves.
For the next week or two, try this experiment. Call upon your “silent observer” to be a witness to the conversations you have with others. Carry a little notepad with you. Make three columns. Head the first column “Relationship,” the second “Outcome,” and the third “Feelings.” The next time you have a conversation with someone, record information in the columns immediately afterwards. Be brief. Under “Relationship” note with whom you spoke. Was it a co-worker, your spouse or partner, your parent, your sibling, your child, a neighbor? Under “Outcome” note whether the encounter was generally positive or negative. Be honest. This is for your eyes only, and when you look through the eyes of your “silent observer” you look without judgment. Under “Feelings” make a brief note about what feelings you brought into the encounter and what feelings you took away from the encounter. At the end of the experiment, look over your notes. Can you pick up any patterns? Were the conversations more positive than negative, or just the reverse? Were your feelings and expectations positive before the conversation or negative? How did that affect the outcomes? The law of attraction in personal interactions is quite simple: in general, we attract to ourselves what we hold within. This is not an easy concept to grasp or accept, especially when we look only through the eyes of the wronged person we consider ourselves to be.
Try for a moment to look through the eyes of a loved one with whom you have just had a negative encounter. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Call the light to yourself. See a cone of light above your head and breathe deeply through your nose. See the light come into your body. As you exhale through your mouth, see the light move through your body to your feet. Ask Mother Earth to accept your light and send it deeply into the earth. You are connecting with the healing energies of the earth and aligning yourself with a consciousness that can allow you to be in a space of non-judgment.
Breathe deeply—in through your nose and out through your mouth as if blowing out a candle. Just be in this space. Now see the encounter as an observer. Can you feel what your loved one felt during that exchange? If you had spoken differently, could you have had a more pleasant discussion, even about a difficult topic? We all have triggers that bring forth emotional reactions that are sometimes not at all appropriate for the moment. Are you feeling tense? Let the feelings of tension drain through your feet. Don’t worry if you can’t let them go completely in the moment. There is no success or failure in this space. There is only exploration and recognition.
Becoming a “silent observer” is the first step toward developing a more transparent interior life, one that allows us to see more clearly what we attract to ourselves. The next steps are up to us.
Disclaimer: All healing paths, while they share certain things in common, are unique to the individual. Nothing I write in my blogs should be construed as medical advice. All decisions about physical and mental health should be made in consultation with your physician or other licensed or certified health care practitioner.