“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”
Shocking is the realization we are under no obligation to be unhappy.
This sounds simple and obvious at first. It really is not. We often find ourselves unhappy for no reason. So the idea of being under no obligation to be unhappy when there is no reason to be unhappy is easy on the ears. But what about when you are unhappy for a valid reason? What about when something terrible happens to us? What about when someone is an asshole to us? What about when we have frustrating setbacks or get sad news? We have no obligation to be unhappy then either. We always have permission to be happy in the moment, any moment.
The sad truth is almost nobody feels the way they feel in any particular moment on purpose. If someone is in a good mood or bad is decided by the aggregate of preceding experiences. Got a good night sleep, caught a few green lights on the way for coffee, good mood. Kept waking up throughout the night and stubbed toe, bad mood. It is a superpower to choose our moods on purpose. The entire idea of mindfulness starts with being aware of what mood we are in as a reflex. Mindfulness is training the brain to be sensitive to, notice, and alert us to our current state, as well as changes to our state. That’s really it.