#2 DON'T DWELL

Happiness Choice #2 - Don't Dwell - Don’t waste your time being sad, because you’re wasting away moments in which you could be happy.

DON'T DWELL AND DON'T RE-HASH

When you're an overthinker like me, dwelling on things is big factor when it comes to sucking the happiness out of life. The trouble with dwelling is that we don't tend to chew over the good stuff, instead we get caught up on a hamster wheel of rehashing the same litany of hurts and sad feelings over and over again.

We think about whatever upset us and we wonder how we could have done it differently, we play conversations over in our heads and try to come up with better outcomes. The question arises "what could I have done differently?" If I'd done 'X' would I have gotten a different outcome, or what about if I'd said 'Y' would the other person have responded differently? Lots of could haves, should haves and would haves.

A SEASON FOR ALL THINGS

Life tends to go in cycles - there are times when everything is going well and the people around us are happy, work is going smoothly, our relationships are all aligned, things are just good in general. But, then there are the times where we offend someone, or we miss out on an opportunity, or someone hurts our feelings, or we don't get a fair serve from the buffet of life. We forget that life is seasonal and it can't always be sunshine and rainbows, there will always be storms and cyclones to deal with - and we all hate that part!

What dwelling does is focus on the bad times instead of remembering the good times. It re-opens the wound and stops us healing and moving on because we keep going back over old ground in the hope that somehow we can reason our way out of the situation. Often there isn't a resolution as such, bad stuff happens to us - sometimes we deserve it, but a lot of times it's just part of the unfairness of life - things can just suck through no fault of our own. Thinking and re-thinking about it doesn't change the fact and we are left dwelling on it instead of moving on.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

What we need to remember is that life continually progresses. We won't always be in the doldrums and things tend to work out eventually - maybe not quite how we'd like them to, but they work out none-the-less. Dwelling on the injustices or the hurt holds us back and we get stuck in a cycle of sadness and regret and miss out on what else lies in store for us. We are so busy dwelling on the past that we miss out on the "now" and all the little joys that it brings to us.

Often when time has passed and we look back, the bad stuff turned out to not be quite as awful as we imagined it to be. We got so caught up in thinking about it and miring ourselves in it that it took on more importance than it deserved. Even if it was a really awful event that led to long term fallout, making it the prime focus of our life just gives it more power than it deserves and creates more pain for us than we deserve.


Happiness Choice #2 - Don't Dwell - Don’t waste your time being sad, because you’re wasting away moments in which you could be happy.

MOVE FORWARD

The best choice for happiness is to try to put the bad stuff behind us. When we feel it tugging on us we need to make a conscious effort to turn our thoughts away from it and to focus on the good in our world. Going over and over the bad just drains any joy out of our day - it makes us teary, it makes us depressed and grey, and it makes us really miserable company to be around. I also wonder if misery attracts misery and life is worse because that's all we end up seeing - we miss the moments of happiness because we are dwelling on the "poor me" stuff instead.

I am constantly reminding myself to not get caught up in the slights and hurts that come my way. I have to tell myself that other people will take offence, it's about them and not always about me (now that's tough to accept in our self-focused world!) I have to remind myself that I won't be appreciated for every good deed I do, I may have to let some of that go and just know in my heart that I did my best. I have to acknowledge that sometimes really crappy stuff will happen - but that's just part of life and I have so many other good things to balance that out. 

Overall, life is wonderful - we are so fortunate to live in this day and age and to have so many opportunities - let's focus on those and cut the dwelling off before it takes over and drowns out the happiness in our lives.


Happiness Choice #2 - Don't Dwell - Don’t waste your time being sad, because you’re wasting away moments in which you could be happy.

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36 comments

  1. How very true. "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone".
    The past is history, enjoy the future, make it what you want it to be.

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    1. Exactly! The past can't dictate our lives forever - but we can certainly learn from it and not repeat its mistakes :)

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  2. Great advice here Leanne, we only hold ourselves back when we allow ourselves to get stuck in a situation and often everyone else has moved on and/or forgotten all about the situation or issue.

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    1. You are so right - how often are people mired in their history when everyone else moved on long ago? Rehashing doesn't help and often holds us back.

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  3. Love this post, such good solid advice. I find the Serenity Prayer, and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz have helped me enormously not to rehash things and to let go. Along with a regular gratitude practice, they have been life changing for me.

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    1. The serenity prayer is a big one for realizing we can't fix everything isn't it Linda - and sometimes acceptance is as good as it gets.

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  4. YESSSS I rambled on my blog last week about how HARD it is to offend me. It really is--because I know it is NOT about me.

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    1. That's why you're my inspiration Carla - you are so upbeat all the time and you don't seem to let anything get you down - amazing!

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  5. Love your advice here Leanne, but sometimes it is really hard not to dwell...especially when it is about a loss...I really try not to but sometimes I just can't help it. I will try to take your advice and think about this when I am dwelling...

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    1. I think some sorrows will always be with us Renee - and so they should be, but we can still look back and focus on the joys rather than getting caught up in the really awful stuff. Life moves on and we carry our memories with us.

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  6. Sometimes, it's so hard not to dwell, but it is best to move on and learn from mistakes.

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    1. I think learning from our mistakes is the one saving grace when something in our past really sucked Jennifer - if we can take a positive away with us then it wasn't all for nothing.

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  7. Amen Leanne. BTW, beautifully written! Somewhere I read that our brains will bring up old slights and bad times more often than good times but you can train your brain to bring up happy times. True or not, seems reasonable to stop the negative thinking and redirect.


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    1. I think it's very true Haralee - what we tell ourselves we slowly come to believe, so why not keep on telling our good stories rather than dwelling on the times that have brought us pain or hurt?

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  8. Oh my gosh Leanne! Did you write this post just for me? I often dwell on the negative, the mistakes, the things I wish I'd done differently. (Usually it comes after I climb into bed and keeps me awake...) Years ago I read a book by Ekhart Tolle called The Pain Body. He called it feeding the pain body, and it's a habit that's easier to get into than out of. Your post reminded me I still need to work on this. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. I think we all have the potential to do this Melody but for some of us it seems to come more easily! I hold on to the thought that all things can be changed if we're prepared to work at it and this is one I'd like to take out of my life. You can't forget stuff, but you can choose not to focus your thoughts on it (especially when you should be getting your beauty sleep!)

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  9. Oh yes, I am definitely a dweller. Sometimes it is just so hard to get past certain things.

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    1. We dwellers could probably start a club Helene! I am so glad that we can see it in ourselves though because it means we have the potential to move forward :)

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  10. For me it's not so much rehashing--well, actually it is--but it's how I make sense of odd things.It's how i gain perspective. It's also how i over think! LOL
    Carol C

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    1. I totally get that Carol! When there are anomalies we try to think them to death to make sense of them, but sometimes we just have to let them go through to the keeper or they eat us up from the inside out.

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  11. Dwelling on what you can't fix or have no control over can make you crazy. Using a bad circumstance to grow makes it easier.

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    1. You are spot on Rebecca - I think if we learn and grow from something then it wasn't all for nothing. No amount of rehashing changes what happened, but trying not to put ourselves in a similar situation again is a positive outcome isn't it?

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  12. Fantastic blog! I am a dweller, as I am often my own worst critic. However, I usually get back to a place where I realize that my mistakes have shaped me into the person I am today. If I didn't make any...........what would I have learned!?

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    1. I tell myself that they've built my character Ellen! I'd love to have had a pain free life but I guess we wouldn't be the women we are today if it wasn't for the tough times - we just have to use them for a good end result rather than getting stuck in them.

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  13. This is something I have been doing a lot of lately. Glad to see I'm not the only one, and glad to know that I can get over it and just be happy!

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  14. Leanne. thank you for your empowering and positive words. Happiness really is a choice and we are so very lucky to be living in the times we are in this lucky country.

    SSG xxx

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    1. I think that's the core of it isn't it? Remembering how blessed we are and how great our lives are despite the occasional setback. Focusing on that stops us going over the slights from the past.

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  15. Easier said than done. I need to Pin your post and read it daily!

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    1. I know Mary! I have to remind myself of this all the time, but I think it gets easier as you replace dwelling with moving forward and appreciating what you have here and now.

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  16. Excellent post! Dwelling seems to be an issue for so many of us. It's always nice to be reminded that there is another healthier way to deal. Thank you for the reminder!

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    1. It certainly comes easier to certain personality types doesn't it? I am a classic personality for dwelling and over-analyzing but I am a work in progress and plan to live more in the moment and less in the past.

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  17. This is such an important reminder because it's so hard to do! Elsa in Frozen had it right when she sang, "Let it go!"

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    1. I think that song is as popular amongst overworked adults as it is amongst children Lois - I could find situations to sing it in every day!

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  18. Another wonderful post where so many, including me, can identify. Most thoughtful and helpful for many. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek Next week: Ideal Meal

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    1. Thanks Denyse - I hope you found it a little bit useful with what you were saying about your emotional reaction to all the treatment you've been having - onwards and upwards my dear :)

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  19. I'm a bit of a 'dweller' Leanne but over the last few years I have tried to just let go and put it behind me. Life is too short to be worried about the past because we can't change it and worry is such a wasted emotion.

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