The Happiness Connection  

A new lockdown

This heatwave has caused me to make some changes in my usual routine.

I get up, feed my dog, and then set out for our main walk of the day. I want to protect his paws and keep us both safe from heatstroke.

I’m far from unique in this approach. There may not be as many cars on the road when I’m walking, but there are many, many dog owners.

This morning as I walked past a neighbour, he said he was getting the watering done early so he could lock himself in the house for the rest of the day.

His words struck me. We are indeed entering a new type of lockdown.

The biggest difference between this one and the COVID-related one is that this one isn’t mandatory, and we have a good idea of how long it’ll last.

You get to choose whether you stay in the comfort of your air conditioning, head off to the lake, or go for a mid-day run. No one is telling you what to do. You may hear advice, but ultimately the choice is yours.

Choice is part of life, and yet many people overlook this fact until they feel it’s being taken away from them.

I’m here to remind you that you always have options, even when they aren’t staring you in the face.

Yes, there are rules, like driving on the right side of the road, stopping for pedestrians on crosswalks, and not drinking and driving. There are always rules.

Without them, society would be less orderly. The larger the community, the more structure is needed for things to run smoothly.

You may not like the rules. You may choose to ignore them, avoid being in the places they govern, or grudgingly follow them.

Whether you agree or disagree with the laws or feel someone is taking away your freedom doesn’t change the fact that you always options.

I suspect that nothing I’ve written is new to you. So, what’s my point?

I know from experience how easy it is to forget that your reality is built by you. The decisions you make, alongside your values and beliefs equals the world as you see it.

If you don’t believe you have any choices, you’re choosing to be in victim energy. Life is happening to you, and you can’t do anything about it.

You may feel your emotions are created my someone or something else. Maybe your boss made you mad, and perhaps they did. But you get to choose to release the anger, hold on to it, or look for an alternative perspective.

Feeling empowered comes from recognizing that you always have choice and that you get to decide how to interpret and respond to your environment.

I was fortunate to have inherited enough independent traits that victim energy has never been my go-to response. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never fallen into it, especially in the early years of my marriage.

Although I don’t recommend this energy if you want to experience personal power, it does come with one major benefit. You don’t have to take responsibility for your life, or make gut-wrenching, heart-breaking decisions.

Regret can come cascading down if you judge your choice to have been a poor one. This realization can appear immediately or wait many years to show itself.

You’ll recognize its appearance by thoughts of “what if” and “if only.”

Any decision can result in an unexpected outcome. These are often referred to as bad, or wrong decisions. It doesn’t matter what you call them, they’ll provide you with either a needed lesson or an unforeseen blessing, if you’re open to finding one.

At one point in my life, I’d have dug a big proverbial hole and buried my negative feelings and any lesson it might have provided me with. It’s taken me a long time to realize this isn’t the best approach.

But hey, life is full of decisions and that seemed like the best tactic at the time.

Today, I recognize the importance of immersing yourself in regret, sadness, and any other less desirable emotion when it surfaces. It’s only by exposing these feelings that you can heal.

It’s like scraping the skin off your knee. The first step may be to cover it until it stops bleeding, but then the best healing comes from exposing it to the light and air.

The same goes for emotional wounds, including the ones that come from regret. They need to be exposed before they can heal.

As I type these words, I can feel a heaviness in my heart and my fingers. Recently, I’ve chosen to heal some old wounds that I’d forgotten even existed. It’s time.

Regardless of what happens in your world, you always have the option to feel empowered by choosing how to move forward. You’re never without options.

And remember, not choosing is also a choice.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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