The world is what it is. There’s a lot of good in it, and at least some not-so-good. We cannot change that. And we cannot fully control what happens to us or around us. But, to some extent, we can control what we allow into the space of our lives. And as a result, we can be happier.
The bubble paradigm.
I sometimes imagine that I exist in a beautiful round bubble. My bubble glints as it dances in the sun. And the space inside is the space in which my life and experiences exist. My bubble’s walls are thin, but not too thin. They exist not to protect me, but to define how I interact with the world. As a cell-membrane does, they allow parts of me out, and parts of the world in. And what is transmitted is up to me.
I have two choices. I can allow unfettered access in and out of my bubble. I can live as if there is no membrane, or as if the holes within it are large. So whatever floats by can freely enter my space and influence me. And whatever exists within my space is accessible to the world.
Or, I can choose what enters and exits my bubble. I can be conscious of what is floating by, and choose whether to allow it in. And I can choose whether to share what is within with the outside. I try to live this way – by consciously choosing what is transmitted. Consequently, I control what I allow into the space of my life and my experience.
But what goes in and out of my bubble?
Energy – like electricity.
“Energy” is what goes in and out of my bubble. It’s like electricity – you can’t see it, but you know it exists because you can see its effects. And, it is transmitted.
Crudely, everything in my environment emits a particular energy. Crudely, this energy is positive, negative, or neutral. When I am exposed to something that emits positive energy, that energy enters my bubble and uplifts me. The opposite is true for something that emits negative energy. For instance, uplifting movies, music, TV shows, writing, and art emit positive energy, and uplift me. Whereas melancholic music (even if beautiful), violent, angry, sad, or negative movies, TV shows, writing, or art ooze negativity; and leave me feeling sad, anxious, or fearful.
Authentic, positive, and loving interactions make me feel happy. Whereas interactions dominated with unhappiness, anger, aggressiveness, jealousy, insecurity, and stress leave me feeling drained. Positive thoughts make me feel good. Negative thoughts pull me down. Clean, uncluttered, or light-filled spaces lift me up. So does being in nature. Whereas dark, dirty, or cluttered spaces make me feel anxious. Physical activity makes me feel peaceful, whereas long periods of inactivity pull me down.
So, I try to expose myself to positive energy, and to the extent I can, only positive energy. And in doing so, I regulate the energy that comes into my bubble.
But how exactly do I regulate?
I make conscious choices about what I fill my life with. I don’t watch dark, depressing, violent, or scary movies and TV shows. I rarely listen to melancholic music. I don’t read dark writing, or view dark art. I don’t listen to or watch the news much (because a lot of it is negative). I try to block out negative thoughts. And I try not to engage with those who primarily carry negative energy.
It doesn’t matter to me how well-made a movie is, how well-written a book is, how beautiful a piece of music is, or how accomplished a person is. If its (or their) energy impacts me negatively, I immediately distance myself. And if I feel like I’m missing out, I remind myself that those things are not worth my well being.
Instead, I try to surround myself with uplifting, inspiring, and positive interactions and activities that make me feel good. I seek them out. I engage with them fully. And I actively fill my bubble with goodness. Those are the general guidelines.
But where there are guidelines, there are exceptions. And I have a few too.
There are times when I don’t want to block negativity from entering my space. Sometimes, I want to feel peoples’ non-positive feelings so that I can respond with empathy and compassion. In those instances, I remind myself that it is their feeling, not mine; and I let their energy in. That way, I can offer support while maintaining my well being.
Every so often, I watch movies, documentaries, or shows on difficult subjects so I can learn or take action. But I make a conscious choice to expose myself to that energy for a positive outcome.
And finally, at times, I can’t remove myself from the negative energy. So I try not to propagate it by engaging with it. And I block it out. I imagine that the walls of my bubble have turned into steel and are preventing the energy from entering my space. When the negativity has dissipated, the walls go back to being themselves. It is important that they do because impervious walls block out the good with the bad; and I don’t want walls.
A space of happiness.
And so, I create my bubble of happiness. I make a conscious choice every time I can, to include more good in my life than not-so-good. I have no use for the not-so-good, nor any obligation towards it.
As a result, I create a space of good energy. A space that is healthy. A space of joy, inspiration, light, authenticity, bliss, love, and peace. And I live in it.
How then can I not be happy?