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Being Happy when the “Words” are Stacked Against You

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

A search of the Top 100 English words describing how you feel shows that 71% describe negative emotions.  We happen to have a lot more ways of describing negative thoughts than positive thoughts. (I have listed the words at the end of this article for reference).  This does beg the question – Why this overwhelming imbalance between the two categories of feelings.  Kahlil Gibran, the famous Lebanese-American author of ‘The Prophet’ has said of Joy and Sorrow:

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

Without joy there cannot be sorrow and without sorrow there cannot be joy.  These feelings draw from the same well.  In our journey thru life we experience the hills of happiness and the valleys of hurt, this is an inescapable truth. To be ‘happy’ all the time is not feasible or mentally healthy.  Yet are we, the Western English-speaking society, predisposed to negative feelings? Is our language an indicator of our general demeanor?

Anecdotally there are some signs of this. When was the last time the newspapers, the talking heads on cable TV or even the news magazines highlighted positive news? We are constantly bombarded with political scandals, natural disasters, wars and crime stories.  We automatically incline to talk about the latest celebrity scandal, the office gossip or what sad event befell the neighbors. 

So, what’s the alternative, turn off the taking heads, move away from gossip and don’t read the newspapers.  In some ways Yes! Don’t ignore the news about the storm coming over the weekend, however you can use your time wisely to do the activities that make you feel positive.  Draw out the writers and speakers whose message inspires you to rise above and beyond the fray.

Transcend the English language negativity. We need to re-acquire the balance that Kahlil Gibran spoke about. To balance our joy and sorrow.  Personally, I took the following steps:

1. Stop reading / watching the negative news.  (I get my news from Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, but that’s a topic for another time)

2. Change your narrative to becoming the kind of person you want to be- a better version of yourself.

3. Be Selfish and invest in yourself.

4. Find the actions that will illicit a positive energy from you and follow those actions.

To quote Kahlil again (from The Prophet):

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight
.

Top 100 English words describing How you feel.  From Vocabulary.com: abandoned, accepted, aggressive, alienated, amazed, amused, anxious, apathetic, ashamed, astonished, aversion, avoidance, awed, awful, bored, confident, confused, courageous, critical, depressed, despair, detestable, devastate, disappointed, disapproving, disillusioned, dismayed, disrespectful, distant, eager, ecstatic, embarrassed, empty, energetic, enraged, excited, frightened, frustrated, fulfilled, furious, guilty, hateful, hesitant, hopeful, hostile, humiliated, hurt, ignored, important, inadequate, indifferent, inferior, infuriated, inquisitive, insecure, insignificant, inspired, interested, intimate, irritated, isolated, jealous, joyful, judgmental, liberated, loathing, lonely, loving, mad, open, optimistic, overwhelm, peaceful, perplexed, playful, powerful, powerless, proud, provocative, rejected, remorseful, repugnant, resentful, respected, ridicule, sarcastic, scared, sensitive, shocked, skeptical, startled, submissive, suspicious, terrified, threatened, victimized, vulnerable, withdrawn, worried, worthless

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