Shayne on You: Look for reasons to be happy

Dear Maggie,

I have noticed a habit I have, and I think I’ve had it all my life. I imagine it comes from being raised in a very negative atmosphere. My mom was very critical. Whatever. The thing is, I see something I want, and I get all excited about it, and then I get it, and before I’ve even had a chance to enjoy it, I start second guessing myself, questioning whether it was worth the money, wishing I could undo the purchase, worrying about how I’m going to pay for it, or whether I really could afford it, criticizing myself for making a mistake. I start regretting the things I do for myself almost the instant I’ve done them. And so it ends up that I spend all my time feeling miserable about things and I don’t enjoy any of them. What’s wrong with me? How can I change it?

Signed, Sick of Being Miserable

Dear SOBM,

I get the feeling that your main issue is that you feel unworthy. When you see these things you want, try to pause and ask yourself why you want them. What is it that you believe having this things would make you feel? Then when you get them, stop and notice how having them actually does make you feel. It seems to me there’s a disconnect there. You think having the item is going to make you feel good, but instead, it makes you feel bad. Is it the thing, whatever it might be, causing these feelings? No. Because things can’t make you feel anything. You decide how you feel. Period.

So next time you want something, know that you can feel good with it, or without it, and then decide what you want to do. If you want it, line up with the idea of having it, promise yourself you’re going to enjoy it. And once you get it, you need to get over the idea that you need to rethink the decision, that it was wrong. There are no wrong decisions. You line up your energy and you do what feels best. Once you have the thing you wanted, look at it with your vision focused only on what you want to see – the positives. The “I’m so glad I have this because –” thoughts. Notice only what you love about the new thing.

You can’t go backwards. You can only go forward, so move forward and make the very best of it. Whatever is done is done, and there’s no point wasting energy rethinking what’s already done, when there are so many more pleasant things you can focus on.

Feeling bad really is a waste of time. More than that, it’s a dangerous habit. Feel bad long enough, and you will surely attract more things to feel badly about. You’ll start seeing things to feel badly about in every part of your life. It will snowball, getting worse and worse. When you feel bad, it’s a symptom of discord within you, and the only cure is to do or think or look at something that makes you feel better, and a little better, and then a little better. And pretty soon you’re feeling good. When you feel good long enough, you’ll start attracting more things to feel good about. You’ll start seeing things to feel good about in every part of your life. It will snowball, getting better and better.

Now if you know that, and you know that how you feel is entirely within your own control, why would you ever waste another minute feeling badly? You’re in charge of this.

So the quickest, easiest answer to the question, “How do I stop feeling so badly?” is this: “Stop looking at whatever it is that makes you feel badly, and instead, look only for reasons to feel good.”

It really is just that simple. Look for reasons to feel good. Be blind to excuses for feeling bad.

Good luck!


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