Should I be happy and hurt people with the decisions I make or should I sacrifice my own happiness for others to be happy?
How to let go ... it's a "step at a time" process. First, you let go of objects (that doesn't mean get rid of - just remove your emotional attachment to them) ... your favourite shoes, your spoon collection, etc. When you can remove attachment to things like this, you don't feel quite so sad when you lose them. I simply ask myself this question - "Will this item be important to anyone when I'm gone?" The answer is always "no". We tend to hold on to things that we want to pass down to our children and grandchildren, but if we don't make it seem important, they won't find it important either, and there will be no family falling-outs over who gets what after you die. In my world, all inanimate objects are replaceable, and I love none of them. Then you need to let go of certain people. You don't necessarily have to remove them from your life, but anyone who rains negativity should be around you minimally. This is the toughest thing to do, because even though your children may drive completely insane, you can't separate yourself from them. Unless you have an ascetic life, there will always be something in your life that makes you unhappy ... it's how you choose to deal with it that makes the difference. My kids are right animals some days, but when the bad days come, I simply get a cup of tea, find a quiet place to hide and think about all the things that I love about them. After a little while, I feel more ready to deal with them.
Susan, this seems to me to be the perfect question to follow on Colleen's advice, because she is talking about the value of non-attachment in the Buddhist tradition, and your question points toward the core Buddhist practice of "vipassana," or mindfulness meditation.
"you cant stop the thoughts that pop up in your mind"
No, but you can minimize your attachment to them, by dis-identifying from them. Your weed analogy is apt, but let's try a more transitory one: Imagine your thoughts to be passing like clouds across the clear sky of your mind. They are just thoughts, and all they do is pass through your consciousness. They do not make up who you are. The practice in meditation is simply to recognize and observe them as thoughts, passing like clouds, so that you don't get so identified with them and involved in their drama.
Given what you have asked about, you might find this a very helpful thing to do. There are plenty of introductory classes around. Other meditative traditions also include very similar practices (the opening meditation of the Piazecner Rebbe, for example), so if the first teacher you encounter doesn't work well for you, try a few others.
This is where life seems to get harder. As already mentioned, Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) also struggled with this issue. What he found was that you are responsible for your own happiness, as everyone else is responsible for their own happiness. Now, that doesn't mean that you should steal someone's bike, because it will make you "happy" ... part of being happy is to let go of the things that will eventually make you unhappy. For example, if you have a Wii, and you love that Wii so much that you are on it for several hours a day and can't imagine your life without it, then, when it breaks, you will find yourself unhappy. Letting go is a step towards happiness. When it comes to dealing with friends and family, you should give as much as you can without creating unhappiness for yourself. Sometimes, we need to separate ourselves from loved ones when they have chosen a destructive path. I come from a family that thrives on competition, drama, and deceit. While I still care for them, I have separated myself from the members of my family who prove to be the black cloud in my blue sky. Nobody has the right to steal your happiness.
I wish it was that easy for me...I am very attached to my things...I now know why I am as well, as a child my mother constantly threw everything away...gave all my clothes away & every thing I owned...like fav stuffed animal what ever iot was if my little cousin wanted it it was hers & then she would say: "Ah, just give it to her, i'll buy you a new one!" Of course it nev happened...not with my clothes, nor my possessions. Today, when she touches even my books & ruins them by underlining everything in them...that just drives me freaken nuts. as well as all the other things. My issues were more about the emotional part of letting go...why is it so damn hard to let memories go...let pain go...let people from your past that hurt us go! It's not like you can give it a time out...and collect yourself then deal with things(like you do with your kids) when you have a narcissistic mother...no time outs can ever help. There is so much resentment & tension not to mention chaos...How on earth do you deal with that?
I know, you're right...but how do you begin? I know it is a long hard process, but how or where do you begin it? how can you move fwd if you cant seem to let go of what was...I mean you cant stop the thoughts that pop up in your mind like bad flashbacks. They dont just disappear for ever when you ok, be gone...they may for s bit til something triggers them to resurface. It's like this..Suppose you have this garden, things grow there and in between there are weeds & poison ivy that keep growing, no matter how many times you pull them out with the roots, they keep growing back! You cant remove everything that grows on that piece of land because there are tress there as well & you cant put anything there to stop it from growing w/o harming the rest of that piece of land. How can you possibly stop those weeds & poison ivy plants from growing in between your piece of land in your garden? If you catch my drift. :(
Hillel the Elder, an ancient Jewish sage, said:
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am for myself alone, what am I?
And if not now, when?"
To me, the last line is the most important, because it tells the proper relationship between the first two: I must be for myself now, and I must be for others now.
In other words, I cannot be satisfied with thinking that I must choose between them. I am called, instead, to find a way to reconcile them, so that by being for others, I am also for myself, and by being for myself, I am also for others. I may not find a way to do that in every situation, but my task - and my most rewarding course of action - lies in developing my skills to pursue that reconciliation under as broad a range of difficult circumstances as I can.
Ty Hayyim, sorry for the late reply, I hv tried gishtalt and tried other classes...tried to learn how to meditate, I just cant get myself to unwind...my life is surrounded by stress endless stress...the only way for me to get some sort of tranquility is when I am on some island...which I cant be on so even sleep is an issue. When I sleep my body is asleep but my mind is working I hear everything happening around me or outside my door & even the smallest sound like the birds chirping can drive me mad to a point where I just force myself to sleep...tossing & turning all night long! its no picnic...I tell you! I just cant get myself to relax!
Well I decided to ask this question because I have been living my life where I would sacrifice my own to make others happy and I'm not happy with myself, people have been taking advantage of this and I'm tired of it so I think I am going to start living for my self. I only have one life and I need to live it for me. Thanks for the answers everyone. :)
Always be diplomatic, but always put yourself first...why? If you dont no one will! Remember that next time you want to sacrifice your happiness for theirs! If the rolls were reversed, I promise you they wont sacrifice their happiness for yours!
Hope this helped.
I think that you should find a way that is acceptable for everyone.
If the people you stay with can't be happy with what makes you really happy, you should see to make some changes in your life.
That's a very deep & difficult question. Siddhartha Gautama was really troubled with question like these and thus seeked enlightment. i think it depends on the situation, u gotta weigh it out.
First of all I shall tell a universal truth "All are selfish." So everyone try to be happy themselves, but only thing one can do is that it should not be by blocking others happiness.
Colleen I just love the way you explain things...I so agree...completely! ♥
Maybe you can explain "how to let go" as well...something I struggle with on an day to day basis. :(
It sounds like you're living in the past. What you need to convince yourself of is that there is only right now. Nothing deserves your attention more than the present.
Very true! If you are happy with yourself...if will show & others will pick up on that & be happy also.
I think it depends on the decsions and what kind of importance it has.
Yourself, if you aren't happy, how can you truly make others happy.
Yours. In the end thats really all that matters.
*but it's not worth it if your being selfish.
Well said Naomi! More power to ya! :)
its quite easy.