If you were pushed, beaten, mutilated, tortured for years, and you survived, that part of your life is a treasure. Every trauma we endure opens a window for us to grow stronger, not necessarily in fight, but in love.
Even if you endure years of psychological torture, where every day is met with tears and the wish to end your life, an attitude of love can miraculously and unexpectedly lead to future years of happiness. That’s what happened to me.
I suffered during the undergrad. My marks were top-notch, but I was a social outcast. My suffering was so intense that, one morning upon awakening, I was amazed when I briefly felt free of the mental agony, a calm that lasted a minute before the trauma settled back in. After feeling that fleeting comfort, I developed a longing to feel that same peace, but for every moment of the rest of my life.
For me and for you, that feeling of peace throughout every moment of the day is achievable. Moreover, a euphoria can even be attained, if only we learn to control our minds. I believe controlling our mind takes two actions: (1) a focus on giving unconditional love and (2) a focus on being happy, no matter what happens. A third action, perhaps just as important, is making wise and healthy choices, preferably ones that prioritize the well-being of others, particularly the people closest to us.
Controlling the mind involves letting go of any negative emotion or thought, releasing all negativity fully from our psyche. I have come to understand that love, warm laughter, and well-wishes toward our adversaries heals more than any antidepressant. If we learn to allow only thoughts and actions based on love and happiness, then Earth can feel like heaven.
I’m also realizing that the same emotions of love and happiness need to be applied to even disturbing events. Reframing the worst events into something positive helps maintain joy. It helps heal. It brings opportunities.
I no longer get pre-menstrual moodiness. And I used to have it bad. And now that I’m heading into menopause, I no longer get menopausal moodiness. In truth, I feel happier than I’ve ever felt my entire life. I laugh and smile all day, sending pure love to all my adversaries and to every sensation of discomfort, constantly reframing my thoughts. Most every day, it seems, is filled with bliss.
But it takes work. Hard but rewarding work. And the more we make the effort, the easier happiness becomes.
I believe that every scar we bear can be transformed into a reason for happiness. The “hitting bottom” for addicts, for instance, can be a reason for spiritual transformation. The loss of a child to suicide due to divorce can be a reason for devoting one’s life to marriage counseling. The loss of two arms can lead to learning how to climb mountains without the use of hands. And even if we don’t have an apparent reason for happiness, we can simply choose to be happy. With a positive outlook, the reason behind our happiness will quickly catch up with us, making itself known.
Surviving trauma leads to an appreciation of the value of happiness. No matter what happens, we can choose to have a happy mind. True happiness is not conditional.