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Are there rules on how you should feel?

Are there rules on how you should feel?

I have noticed a theme lately and whenever I do, I can’t help but write about it because I know it must be happening in more places than just my office. I’ve heard more people than ever judging their feelings to be wrong, and by doing so, create an internal dynamic that is unnecessary.

In the past two weeks I have heard over a dozen variations of:

“I should feel happy that my son had a child, but I don’t.  I feel like a bad mother.”

“I shouldn’t feel so resentful that my parents are old and need me to help but I do. I’m just not a good daughter.”

“I should be more supportive of my wife because she lost her job. It’s not her fault yet inside I’m angry. I’m not a supportive husband.

Are you doing something like this? If so, you are dragging yourself down for no good reason.

We grow up hearing that we should feel and think a certain way about certain events and situations and when we don’t, we label ourselves as “bad.” There is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings!   Judging how you feel is not the way to move forward in our lives.  Let’s lighten up:

First Step:

Where are you are judging yourself.  Are you not getting things done like you think you should?  Are you not taking action in the way you think you should? Are you unhappy about something that you think you should be happy about? Bottom line, where do you think you should be feeling differently about a particular situation?

Second Step:

Once you have identified the situation, stop judging how you feel about it! Acknowledge it and know that it’s okay to not be happy about it.  It’s okay to not be happy about the new baby because you know it’s going to disrupt your life, it’s okay to feel resentful about having to do things for your parents because there are things you want to do for yourself, it’s okay to be upset because your wife losing her job means you have to work harder and change your lifestyle.

Third Step

Once you get conscious with the reality that you feel a certain way, find a new perspective to focus on. If you change how you see the situation it may affect how you feel in a more positive way.  However, no matter what, remind yourself that there is no right way to “feel” about things going on in your life!  If you can really embrace this, it will lighten you up considerably especially if you have been judging yourself in any way.

Alice Inoue

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness University. She is an expert life guide, and author of five nationally award-winning books on life wisdom, self-growth and happiness. She has two columns, one in MidWeek titled “A Mindful Moment,” and an award-winning column in the Sunday Star-Advertiser called “Go Ask Alice” that offers pertinent life guidance. Through Happiness U, she helps both companies and individuals develop positive mindsets in order to live more inspired in both their professional and private lives.

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