Sheer Willpower Can’t Bring Happiness
How well has trying to control others worked for you? Do you believe you can impose the changes you’d like to see in the world? Perhaps you’ve tried and failed to change even your own behavior.
When you honestly admit your personal willpower can’t fulfill your desires, a wondrous alternative appears. I call it positive power: a source of courage and hope that is greater than your fears, worries, or perceived limitations.
I had my first inkling of a positive power after a meditation teacher suggested that I sit quietly, observe my thoughts, and then ask myself, “Right now, who is watching my thinking?” The question stopped me in my tracks. I wondered, “If I am my thoughts—which I believed up until that point—how could another part of me be observing them?” And, yet, there I was, watching my mind be amazed by this astounding idea. For the first time, I realized there must be some part of me that is greater than my thoughts.
Studies reveal that believers in such a power are happier than those who don’t believe. They can find peace and direction, no matter what’s going on in their lives (Stephanie Castillo, Prevention, May 7, 2013).
How each of us comes to understand this power is highly personal and our business only. Thus, I won’t suggest you worship any particular spiritual entity, religion, dogma, or philosophy. In the exercise below, you’ll define this source in a way that works for you.
Time for Action! Name Your Positive Power
1. Take a minute to ponder what kind of power could bring goodness into your life.
2. Read the common names for a source of a positive power below. Pause to notice which ones, if any, feel right for you.
3. Select a few names that work for you. Circle them, write them down, or hold them in your heart.
4. If your past taught you to be fiercely independent, it may take a while to trust this power. But stick with it and you’ll reap the rewards.
|Adonai||God (Good Orderly Direction)||Healer||Ram|
|Allah||Great Spirit||Jesus /Jehova||Shiva|
|Angels||Guardian Angel||Light||Sophia (feminine deity)|
|Being||Healing Energy or Resonance||Mary||Source|
|Buddha||Higher Power||Nature’s Perfection||Tao|
|Christ, Holy Spirit||Higher Self||Oneness||True Self|
|Courage||Holy Father||Perfect Order||Wisdom|
|Divine Mind||Infinite/Universal Intelligence||Positive Attitudes and Beliefs||Yahweh|
To connect with this power, try some of the tools in my other blog posts. Or, write a comment here about some of your own favorite tools.
The Positive Power of Healthy Others
Where two or more are gathered in loving purpose, amazing things happen. Researcher Brené Brown found that people who cope well with hardship, stress, or trauma believe they are “connected to each other by a power greater than all of us.”
Kindness from others who hold no agenda other than goodness is a powerful force for healing. In fact, that’s the way many of us in Twelve-Step programs first felt this benevolent force. The people there had no selfish motives; they saw beyond my shameful past into my true goodness. Their kind regard and wise words showed me a loving power I had never known.
You too can share your life challenges and solutions with positive people. Consider carefully what they say and how they live their lives. I suggest meeting weekly with one or two others who fit the characteristics listed here. Perhaps you could read my book or another that you find inspiring.
As you continue to meet, you’ll likely experience a positive power that will enable you to handle life’s challenges with peace and wisdom.
Gigi Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. She is a seasoned author and popular speaker who has helped thousands of people improve their lives at home and work. Gigi hasn’t had a drug or drink for over 30 years, although she does occasionally overindulge in Ghirardelli chocolate and historical novels.
Her new book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now (available here from Amazon & e-book vendors) has gained rave reviews:
“[A] valuable, heartfelt manual.” (Featured Book, BookLife by Publishers Weekly)
“Langer writes from both experience and expertise. A powerful tool for readers.” (Library Journal)
“Highly recommended for anyone who worries too much, lives too hard a life, and searches for a better way.” (Midwest Book Review)
“Gigi Langer’s honesty will blow you away! It is beautifully written; filled with humor and authenticity.” (Member of Al Anon)