Me: It's at the supermarket checkout line, bus ads, commercials, even Snapple caps. Humans in the US are inundated with messages to be more joyful and happy, and less angry, mad or sad.
Friend: What's wrong with being happy or joyful?
Me: Being more joyful or happy is great and it's the way they suggest doing it that's the problem. Suppressing the 'negative' emotions so they don't come out is the recommend solution. Then all you're left with expressing is the 'positive' emotions. And that method just doesn't work.
Friend: Ok, you'll need to explain more.
Me: Dude, I will tell you that suppressing emotions requires a lot of energy because you actually have to tense your muscles to keep from being angry, mad or sad and that leaves you tired.
Friend: OK. maybe I buy that. But what other way is there?
Me: Instead of trying to suppress emotions you don't want, try inviting emotions you DO want. In fact, you don't even have to deal with the emotions.
Friend: Hold up, that doesn't make sense. How can I invite in emotions without actually working with my emotions?
Me: By being more playful. Remember how Playful Paulie always came as a +2 to my parties on South Oregon Ave and that entourage was always a ton of fun? It's like that. Playful always shows up with joy and happiness in tow. There's lots of definitions out there so when I say playful I mean curiosity, a sense of adventure, lightness. If you engage the world with a little more play, happiness and joy can't help but show up and you won't have to try so hard to suppress the others.
Friend: I'm willing to give it a try with something small first, like brushing my teeth, or cooking and go from there. Thanks!
Me: Keep me posted. :)
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Mike Coe. Transition, Creativity, and Leadership Coach