I once had a Buddhist therapist. I learned a lot from him. He was always reminding me to keep on the sunny side of life. He believed in happiness. He gave me books about happiness; he taught me how to mediate. His emails often included smiley faces. Sometimes I gave him shit for it. But he kept doing it because he thought it would help me and that’s what I was paying him for. Well, that and listening to me whine.
It’s always good to be reminded that my life is very full despite my limitations; and that there are many things I can do. It’s helpful to remember that I’m doing very well considering how bad I sometimes feel. But I would, and still do draw the line, when someone says, “It could always be worse.” I don’t think my Buddhist therapist ever said this to me but if he did I think I would remind him that when you have a butcher knife stuck in your back it’s hard to feel happy that you don’t have another one stuck in your head. It also doesn’t make me feel better to know that things could be worse. This knowledge is not comforting, it is anxiety provoking. And it is pretty much the way I live my life; waiting for the other shoe to drop. And by the way, this is not a lifestyle choice, I was born this way. (for more about shoes and me visit my chronic ills page)
A couple of years ago Oprah did a show on a new age philosophy called The Secret, also known as, The Law of Attraction. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. What I have to say about this malarkey is that, in my humble opinion, we do not have that much control over the universe. Hello! And just so you know- I’m not the only buzz killer around, there is a book that backs me up. It’s called, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich. I haven’t read it but it makes me very happy that someone wrote it. So there you have it, the key to my happiness is negative thinking. Or something like that.