Hello and welcome back to The Joy Within’s podcast. In this episode, I’m going to pick up where we left off last time with our inversion thinking exercise. So, if you missed the last episode, go back and listen to that one first.
So, just to recap: inversion thinking is the process of reversing a goal, so you brainstorm how to achieve the opposite of what you really want and, in the process, you can more easily see what you actually can or should be doing to get to your real goal.
In our case, the question becomes: if I wanted to be miserable, what would I do, and last time I shared a list of 15 ways to NOT be happy. Today, we’re going to flip that list on its head, so it points the way towards the things we can do in order to raise our level of happiness and fulfillment as we go through each day.
But, before we do, I should say that if you made your own list of what makes you miserable, flipping it back to the positive takes a little bit of detachment. I think it helps if you treat it as a list of ideas, of “perfect” goals or guidelines, NOT as things you should or must do everyday. And, the reason for that is because it can be really easy to feel overwhelmed, and to feel like you’re staring at a list of impossible targets, and then feel stressed or disheartened or psych yourself out about it. So, treat them as options, opportunities, or targets, not mandates you have to follow immediately. It’s a wish list of sorts, and remember, this is just my list. Yours might be different, and that’s ok.
So, #1 was about worrying. To flip this, I would develop a fundamental belief that All is well with me, and that everything is always working out for me, even if I don’t know how, or why, or when. I would do everything I could to strengthen a sense of genuine optimism.
#2 was on control, and trying to force a single, specific outcome. So, to flip this, I would cultivate the belief that there are many ways for me to be, do, and have the things I want. If any one specific idea doesn’t playout, I would let it go, and make a game out of finding a new way. This is really powerful when you combine it with #1.
The next was on judging my progress towards my goals. So the reverse of that is trying not to judge progress but – here’s the part most people mess up – when you do judge yourself, frame it in relation to how far you’ve come, not in relation to how far you have left to go. Most of the time, it is better to look back to a past self, and identify how much you’ve learned, or how much you’ve gained, rather than fret about not reaching some future goal.
#4. Instead of stressing myself out with arbitrary deadlines, I would try to accept that everything happens at exactly the right time. I would believe that my timing is always perfect, and only my ego-mind demands otherwise.
#5. Instead of downplaying my wins, I would celebrate my successes, and I would even celebrate the smaller milestones along the way. I would strive to see everything as a process unfolding, so even as I set new, bigger goals for myself, I appreciate the path along the way, because it is the path that led me to where I am, and led to me wanting that new, “better” goal in the first place.
#7. Instead of comparing myself to others, I wouldn’t worry too much about what anyone else is doing with their lives. I would understand that we all have different backgrounds, experiences, and resources that shape who we are, and we all have different challenges, so it never makes sense to compare. Most of the time, when someone excels at one thing, there is somethign else where they have room to improvement. And there is no judgment in that either way. It is a personal choice, and everyone sets their own priorities.
#8. Instead of assuming every bad thing in my life was permanent, I’d decide to believe that something better is always on its way to me. I’d focus on appreciating the good in the moment, wherever i was.
#9. Instead of being sarcastic, I’d work on being as genuine as possible. I’d try to catch myself before making a sarcastic comment, and then rethink whether what I’m about to say is a reflection of the person I really want to be.
#10. Instead of focusing on the negative, look for the positive. The funny thing is, you’ll see whatever it is that you look for, so if you’re constantly searching for the good in the moment, I guarantee you’ll be able to find it. it might take some practice at first, but it is always there.
#11. Instead of blaming others, I would accept responsibility for my life. I would decide that I always have options, choices I could make or actions I could take that could improve situations I don’t prefer, and I would know that my real power rests with my ability to make that decision, every day.
#12. Just let things go. Grudges do not help anyone. Whatever is done is done, and you can choose to leave it in the past. When you hold a grudge, all you do is hurt yourself by reliving the negative interaction, over and over again.
#13. Instead of closing myself off, I would try to be open with everyone. I would give of myself freely, because I would know that the more I share love, positivity, and joy, the more that energy expands, both within me and within others.
#14. I would choose to believe that I am perfect, even when appearances might indicate otherwise. The belief I love is something I call perfect, and yet evolving. I am constantly learning, constantly growing, so I can both accept myself fully now, and continue to evolve into who I want to become.
#15. Lastly, I would focus on the good in others. I would decide that everyone means well, and is ultimately kind hearted. Deep down, we all want the same things. And when someone appears to act out of alignment with what I think is good, they are either showing me a judgment I have that does not serve me, or they are reflecting their own level of consciousness, their own beliefs and negativity that they might be working through. It is not my place to judge them for that, as we are all constantly evolving into better versions of ourselves.
And that’s it! I think there’s enough there for all of us to practice and strive for, wherever we might be in our own journey. As I said before, i think it’s important to do this exercise with the idea that these are goals, not mandates. They point you in the right direction, but don’t beat yourself up as you bounce in and out of them. We all move in and out of many different levels of these practices, and there is always something to work on, always a way to go deeper, and refine your practice.
So, I hope this gives you some good ideas for habits you can adopt, and I’m going to leave it there for now. See you next time!