Are You Restricting Your Own Happiness?

Increasing happiness is something most say they want to do, yet most struggle with it. Are you aware of how much your preconceived ideas affect your happiness? Your ability to be happy is related to what you will allow yourself to do, and what you think and feel about it. For most people, their level of future happiness can be predicted by their past. Why? Because we become locked in to thought patterns which dictate much of our day to day thinking and decisions. It is normal human behavior to refer to our past experiences, and even more particularly our feelings based on our interpretations of them. Most of this reactive behavior goes on with us being unaware of it.

When you allow your existing bank of perspectives to lower your expectations for a situation you may think you are just playing it safe. Not allowing yourself to get over excited and then disappointed about something, as your interpretations of prior experiences tells you, "they never work out so well." But what can happen is that you are holding yourself back and insuring that those perceptions and past memories remain the truth for you. You may then choose not to participate in something because of your perceived outcome, thus preventing yourself from some potential happiness. It's like, the only way to ensure that you don't do well in a foot race is to never run it.

Another possibility when your expectation is set low, your mind will be looking for proof of this. Your unconscious mind wants to prove you right, so it is always seeking validation for what you have chosen to think. And as you may be aware of, you will more likely find what you are looking for than something else. When you are considering the purchase of a certain model car in the color red, you will start to see them all over the place, in red. When you tell yourself up from it will be a mediocre experience, it usually will take something quite special for it to turn out otherwise.

Then on the other hand, if you over predict the potential enjoyment of a situation and then when it does not come up to your expectations, you react to that - leaving yourself with possibly a lower final feeling about it. You can set yourself up for disappointment if you are too solidly locked on to a particular outcome. It can become an all or nothing set up on yourself. You can see it as a failure even when to most it would be considered enjoyable.

Holding to your existing patterns keeping you locked in at either end of the spectrum will prevent you from enjoying a lot of happiness. Your unconscious mind does many things to help simplify your life and establishing patters of thought is one of them, it's a good thing actually, keeps you from thought overload. However, you can choose how these patterns are set up. Just because many thoughts come up automatically does not mean that you must leave them as is. Your conscious thinking has command over your unconscious, if you will take it. Wayne Dyer said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

An interesting solution is at hand for helping you to 'see' something with a different perspective. Writer Cluadia Dreifus in her interview in The Situationist discusses this with Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert's concept of Stumbling on Happiness. Gilbert asserts that you are most likely to get an accurate assessment of an upcoming situation from someone else rather than yourself. Even as much as we all want to think our perceptions are the right ones, this does not make it so. In fact we are most often blinded by our own thoughts and feelings which are all based on our past impressions.

If today you can have a good experience with something rather than the usual so-so experiences you've had in the past, you have broken the mold. You have altered the unconscious programming that wants to keep order with your thoughts by keeping them as they are. Which is the very reason why it's so hard to get yourself to see anything in a new light. If you are not enjoying the happiness you want, try Daniel Gilberts method of asking someone else who has already experienced something you want to do, how you might feel about it.

I know it may seem odd, but the other person is not harboring the exact same set of thought programming you are, so they will see it from a different angle. You know that if you keep doing it the way you always have, using your bank of perspectives, beliefs and attitudes the outcome will likely be the same. When you can allow yourself to buy into a different expectation you just might find more enjoyment and happiness. And if you are interested in taking command of your thinking, following the link below you can find more eye opening information about how life works and what you can do with it to increase your happiness and satisfaction.