Wow!! My friend Ramona told me this today, and I about fell out of my chair! This is SO true! It is never too late to have a happy life.
Even if you’ve had a life of turmoil and upset, depression, conflicts on the job, feelings of worthlessness, rage, and a lot of tears, you can STILL have a happy life!
How, though? For me, getting out of serious depression, worthlessness, hopelessness, poverty, and so forth was an impossible task until I discovered the Abraham-Hicks Emotional Scale.* It was a list of 38 emotions arranged in order from happiest to saddest in 22 categories. It was like a road map of emotions.
When analyzing the Emotional Scale, I found out that when I felt angry, I had more energy than when I was depressed. The angry feeling was therefore just a little better than depression. However, I didn’t like feeling angry, I didn’t believe that anger was a useful emotion, and the people around me hated seeing anger also. So I always rejected anger and eventually went back to depression.
I eventually modified the original scale by creating broader categories, simplifying, and using fewer emotions to represent each category. It was easier for me to navigate, especially starting on the bottom rung like I was doing. I hoped that it might be helpful for others, too.
In my upcoming book, The Spiral Staircase, I call my version the Emotional Staircase.
- Optimism/Hope/Positive Expectation
- Anger/Blame/ Revenge
Abraham-Hicks says that my journey was like trying to drive from Phoenix, AZ to San Diego, CA, and getting confused at Yuma, AZ and thinking I was on the wrong track. (“Surely I should be in San Diego by now! I must be going the wrong way! I’ll turn around and go the other way.”)
Without an accurate map, I could spend the rest of my life going back and forth between Yuma and Phoenix and never make it to San Diego. Thank goodness I found the Emotional Scale and realized that I was actually going the right way when I got to anger.
So I spent an entire year trying to feel anger instead of my customary depression.
I’m not saying that I tried to act angry or take my anger out on other people. Instead, I just tried to find someone to feel angry about or blame instead of feeling hopeless or worthless. Here is a really good example. My dog broke his leg while I was out of town and there was nothing that could be done because of the weird way the leg broke. Amputation would not fix the problem because there was extensive damage in other areas, too. Instead of grieving the loss of my pet in an attitude of self-blame, hopelessness, and worthlessness, I decided that I could choose to feel angry at the vet instead. Now this took some effort. But because I had never had any contact with the vet (since it happened while I was out of town), he seemed to be the best choice and he never knew I was trying to blame him or be angry with him. I really didn’t want to hurt anybody in an attempt to uplift myself. I thought of trying to be angry at the petsitter instead, but I had a long-lasting relationship with the petsitter so that was not a good choice.
You might think that this is just covering up and running away from the feelings of depression, but as a chronic depressive, I can tell you that there have been thousands of times that I have willingly delved into all the tragic events of my life and fully “felt” the moments in an effort to get cured. But at some point in life, you have to realize that allowing yourself (or forcing yourself) to dwell on nothing but bad feelings just leaves you remembering the bad feelings and makes it hard to remember the great things about your pet’s life and your relationship with him. When I was finally able to soothe myself this way after months of trying, I began to regain the good feelings about the dog and felt happy that he had been in my life as long as he had.
It was really good for me to get used to feeling angry without taking my anger out on people anyway. I had never been comfortable with anger, so becoming more comfortable with it (and even seeing the energizing benefits of it) was an important part of my personal growth. After I really got skilled at choosing anger instead of depression, I shot for contentment instead of anger. So I went from #5 — depression, worthlessness, and entrapment — to #4 — anger and blame– and finally to #3 — contentment, boredom, and serenity. Sure, these last ones are vanilla-flavored emotions, but they are better than the other ones I was having, and life has begun to look a lot better for me. I still dip into all the other emotions once in a while, but I also find myself in the higher realms such as happiness, optimism, fun, laughter, etc. In fact, when you’re content, it’s easier to find things to appreciate and the journey is a natural, easy one instead of jumping from sourness to appreciation, which is an intense and jerky trip.
So when my friend Ramona told me that “It’s never too late to have a happy life,” I realized immediately that it is absolutely true. I’ve found my way from worthlessness, suicidal depression, self-abusive behavior, self-blame, self-hate, hopelessness, and all those other emotions in category #5 into contentment, serenity, peace, and satisfaction. That’s what gives me hope that I can eventually become the genuinely happy, enthusiastic person I was born to be. And you can, too, if you want.
As always, I want to thank every person who reads or follows this blog. I truly appreciate it, as it gives me one more thing to feel grateful about and look forward to.
* from Esther and Jerry Hicks’ book Ask and It is Given, page 114. You can also find it here:
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