Positive Thinking in Your Relationship
Happiness – can it become an addiction…….
…. or an itch to scratch us away from our truth? We are bombarded with positive messages (especially if we hang around Facebook) on how we can think ourselves to happiness, that pursuing happiness in itself is a worthwhile goal. Taking steps to create a happy, positive state of being can allow us to be more motivated and proactive in our lives and able to interact more effectively with people, powerfully so when we can fully embody it. Yet there is danger in seeing happiness in isolation from the depths of who we are, especially in relationship with another. When we can change our state from negative to positive by thinking happy thoughts like “There is always, always something to be grateful for” or focussing on positive beliefs such as “Think abundantly Energy Follows Intention” we create a subjective feel good state inside of us. This gives us the illusion of control, that our “happy” reality can exist independently of what else is going on both within, and around us. The truth is we do not exist purely in one state in isolation from all others, we are more complex beings than that. So it is not the happiness itself that becomes the problem but more the context we choose to create it in, where it becomes a burden, addiction or escape. To balance the impact of isolated happiness we can add an old fashioned virtue identified by Greek philosopher Aristotle (yes, we’re talking old here!): that of Phronesis or practical wisdom.
Phronesis can be described as the deliberation of a situation followed by action that is in the interests of things good and bad with the human being.
In other words I can seek to create a state of happiness in myself but how well is it going to serve me, and what is the impact on those around me?
Phronesis invites us to ask:
– Am I using my happiness to positive effect?
– Am I using it to avoid feeling something that is uncomfortable in myself that it would actually be helpful for me to feel into and understand?
– Am I using my happiness to avoid relationship, by not fully engaging with another, avoiding empathy, not able to be with their pain or avoiding taking responsibility for my actions in relation to another?
– Is my need to be in control limiting my ability to be vulnerable in relating to another?
– Am I denying the value of that person and that relationship? It is never nice to share openly with another and not feel heard, or even worse to be judged ie. don’t chose pain, choose happiness!
– Am I limiting the love, support & happiness that can come from really connecting in that relationship?
– Am I creating helplessness/depression when I fail to think positive thoughts if I think I can?
Happiness has more than one layer and Phronesis is taking action on it.
Choose happiness as an act of self love, embody it fully, enjoy it, spread it around. Don’t use it to escape your deeper truth which may not be happiness in this moment, or to beat yourself over the head with if you can’t find it right now.
From our Tantric perspective we know that Tantra is about the union of two polarities into oneness, of the masculine and feminine into the one whole. So in Tantric terms we could say that Phronesis is the union of the feminine aspect of feeling + being ie. the experience of happiness with the masculine aspect of awareness + action creating a unified whole.