Some thoughts on happiness and unhappiness, and the amount of control we have over these feelings:
I agree with author Eckhart Tolle, who says “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the facts, and there are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. For example, “I am ruined” is a story. It limits you and prevents you from taking effective action. “I have fifty cents left in my bank account” is a fact. Facing facts is always empowering. Be aware that what you think, to a large extent, creates the emotions you feel. See the link between your thinking and your emotions.”
So, generally speaking, your thoughts lead to your feelings. Whatever story you have made up in your head (a fantasy, frequently based on one bright shining picture of a distilled moment of possibility) will probably be let down, because usually we aren’t even aware of the actual distilled moment we are in. When you stay attached to that fantasy about who someone is, or how something should be, reality won’t fit. You can easily spend all of your time thinking about everything that is not how you want it to be, and be constantly frustrated, because reality doesn’t fit into your fantasy.
The fantasy of *how things should be* is interfering with the ability to be happy now. The fantasy of *how things should have been* is interfering with the ability to be happy now. The fantasy of *how things will be* (someday) is interfering with the ability to be happy now and in each successive moment.
I know this to be true, but living it is exceedingly difficult. I think the key is learning to detach from the outcome. Easier said than done.
When people say “It is what it is”, I frequently scoff, thinking that it is a defeatist attitude (someone has given up) or, conversely, a woo-woo new agey everything-is-beautiful attitude that doesn’t live in the real world.
But here is the thing: it really is whatever it is, regardless of what we want it to be.
Let go of the fantasy. Be mindful of the present. Detach from the outcome. Rearrange your thoughts.