Are Personal Growth leaders just happy all the time?

by Aimee Serafini on June 10, 2013

So a question I got a number of times recently from some of our community (including at a party this past Saturday night) is: Are you just happy all the time? Do you never get mad or irritated?

traffic jam sxc

Heck yes I can get annoyed! Just get me in traffic and you will see that it can trigger me like nothing else.

I understand the question though, because it might seem from the encouragement and techniques that those of us in personal development share, that we must go around in a state of eternal bliss.

And you know what, I wouldn’t even want that to be true if it could.

The truth is, there are no bad emotions to have, and we as humans have the opportunity to experience them all. Even anger, irritation, resentment, jealousy, frustration. Every single emotion has a message for us, giving us the chance to see what we value and appreciate and how to adjust to enjoy our lives more fully.

The problem is when we live in the uncomfortable emotions and don’t have any tools to help us decipher them and release them. (case study in next article)

So yes, we all get irritated, we all feel “negative” emotions, and it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong or aren’t good enough if you do too.

How do you figure out what your uncomfortable emotions are telling you?

For myself, I find that most frustrations/annoyances boil down to people violating about four rules I have for how people should act. There might be some other reasons here and there, but for the most part, I seem to want everyone else to adhere to my rules. Pretty silly really, but almost all of us want the world to act how we think is appropriate.

With traffic for example, I started to ask myself what was the pattern in traffic that made me mad. In general, I think people should let other people over, and when someone aggressively defends his/her “territory” to not let someone over, I think that is so rude. Except, when someone is trying to take advantage of other people by wanting to rush by everyone else and get over at the last minute. I want everyone to be considerate of others. Rule #1.

Rule #2. Be aware of the greater good. Yes, you could go in the right hand lane to get four cars closer to the stoplight, but what about the people who now can’t turn right on red because you are blocking the lane. Make it easier for them even if it means you are 100 yards further back than you could be.

Rule #3. Be aware of how your actions affect other people. Use your turn signals! My dad rarely uses turn signals and it DRIVES ME CRAZY. I need to know what your intentions are so that I can drive accordingly.

So traffic easily violates three important rules for me. No wonder it gets me mad (for the record my 4th is don’t be lazy). In it’s way traffic has helped me figure out what my values are. And what I expect of others. I of course think all my rules are very reasonable, but is it really right for me to impose them on the world?

Your homework: what situations do you find yourself irritated in and what can it teach you about yourself? Share your comments below!

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