By Robert G AOR
1. Trust the Wyrd
It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had. You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to end. Unfortunately the Wyrd failed to give your script to anyone else.
As a result, people are unaware of the role they are supposed to play. Then, when they screw up their lines, or fail to fall in love with you or don’t give you a promotion, and so on – your movie is ruined.
When you do not let the Wyrd unfold and live in the now, you get increasingly disconnected from Mid-guard, your friends, and you have to rewrite the script constantly.
Lose your script. Let someone else star once in awhile. Welcome new characters. Embrace plot twists. Live in the now, and trust the Wyrd.
2. You fast forward to Ragnarök
Personally, I have a bad habit of fast forwarding everything to its worst possible outcome and being pleasantly surprised when the result is marginally better than utter disaster or jail time.
My mind unnecessarily wrestles with events that aren’t even remotely likely. My sore throat is cancer. My lost driver’s license fell into the hands of an al-Qaeda operative who will wipe out my savings account.
Negativity only breeds more negativity. It is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.
3. You ascribe intent
Your friend never texts you back. Another driver cut you off. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis.
So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous and inconsequential actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.
Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.
4. You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations
Among their many shortcomings of your family and folk is the harsh reality that they cannot read your mind or anticipate your whims.
Did your boyfriend forget the six and a half month anniversary of your first movie date? Did your girlfriend refuse to call at an appointed hour? Did your friend fail to fawn over your tribal tattoo? Ahhhh, poor baby. What did you expect?
I had a, let us say, dangerous childhood. So when I turned 18, I simply sat down lost and confused for about a year doing the minimum required to sustain life. I was miserable. Why? I had never visualized life beyond that arbitrary date. I never learned to cope with “adult” issues, as I just expected to never need those skills. I was a special kind of stupid for confusing my present as an unchanging situation that I did not frankly expect to survive.
Unrealistic expectations will be at the root of most of your unhappiness in life. Remember, people you know generally do the best they can, but they are still human. Minimize your unrealistic expectations, maximize your joy.
5. You are waiting for the “sign”
I have a friend who won’t make a decision without receiving a “sign.” I suppose she is waiting on a trumpeted engraved announcement from the Runes or the Gods. She is constantly paralyzed by a divinity that is either heavily obscured or frustratingly tardy. She’s either not listening hard enough to hear them, or shes putting herself down for them not considering her “worthy”, or “they” just don’t care.
I’m not disavowing that fate or a higher power plays a real, direct role in our lives. I’m just saying that it is better to live fate than be governed by it. We are most often not our words, but our deeds.
6. You don’t take emotional/financial/personal risks
Two words: Live boldly. Trust the Wyrd.
Every single time you are offered a choice that involves greater risk, take it. You will lose on many of them but when you add them up at the end of your life you’ll be glad you did.
At the least, don’t lament choosing the safer path when you had the honor of having a choice in the matter.
7. You constantly compare your life to others
One of Loki’s best veils is this. A destroyer of folk too…
This year at a music festival in SF a bunch of roadies I had not seen in ages sent a car for me to meet-up backstage. I was digging the Rock, Scotch and munchies. We had a great meet-up and the bands were cool. What more could a guy want? Later in the evening I noticed a steady parade of well-heeled people slide past and disappear into another tent. I peeked and saw a large party with beautiful Byrds dancing and carrying on like. Suddenly my gig wasn’t as fun as it had been all because it didn’t appear to measure up to the VIP party next door- a party I didn’t even know existed until just moments before.
I do this frequently. Those people are having more fun. Mary has a bigger boat. Craig gets all the lucky breaks. Ted has more money. John is better looking.
Always remember what Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
8. You let other people steal from you
If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves.
Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like silver rings. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.
And spend a little on just yourself from time to time too.
9. You can’t/won’t let go
These points are getting a little harder aren’t they, friend? That’s because sometimes you have to work at happiness. Some hurdles are too difficult to clear by simply adjusting your point of view or adopting a positive mindset.
Do you need to settle with someone? Do you need to turn your back on a failed relationship? Do you need to come to terms with the death of a loved one?
Life is full of loss. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it. It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. It helps us grow. It can help us help others grow.
Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to “manage” your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.
You’re not alone. Find someone who understands and talk to that person. Reach out for support. If all else fails, try #10 below.
10. You don’t give back
One way to deal with loss is to immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life.
I did the Red Cross thing for years, and while I am no ones idea of a “donut Dollie”, I had IT and logistics infrastructure abilities. That and with uncommonly good communication infrastructure skills across Satellite, Radio and Internet I was a part of the team that dragged the Red Cross off clipboards and into the modern age.
No, I did not enjoy “diversity training”, stacking chairs after meetings or a hundred thousand little things I did.
But I do have the satisfaction of knowing that some victim somewhere is saying to loved ones “I’m OK, I’m alive”. On our system, team built for this purpose.
Rain or shine, year after year I slept on what ever surface there was, in impossible conditions, doing impossible work with the biggest laugh every-time they announced “OK, We are moving Headquarters!” just after we got this location up and running. I could see the impact on people we had, I saw the “entitled”, the worthy, the lost. It was so good to be really, really contributing to lives even though they would never know.
To give freely is a virtue.
It doesn’t even have to be a big, structured thingie. Say a kind word. Encourage someone. Pay a visit to someone who is alone. Get away from your self-absorption.
There are “doers” and there are “talkers”. Doers are more happy. Talkers and takers are frequently miserable. What are you?