Lately I’ve been worrying about the state of our planet, and global warming, and getting quite down in the dumps, and walking around as if the cares of the whole world were resting on my shoulders. Luckily for me, Sfiso reminded me kids have The Right To Be Happy.
Whew! What a relief. I realised, though, that I wasn’t the only one feeling unhappy at the moment. We got this email from a girl called Carmen.
Dear Justice Gang,
This term I made friends with a new girl at school. At first she seemed really cool. I thought she was BFF material (you know – best friends forever)! But then she started calling me names and stuff. She says she’s just teasing me but yesterday she said something really embarrassing about me in front of this boy I like. I wished the floor would swallow me up so I didn’t have to see them laughing as they walked away together but that was wishful thinking. I just know everyone is talking about what happened and making fun of me behind my back. Everyone hates me and life sucks! I’m afraid to go back to school. I feel like I’m never going to be happy again! Please help!!
CarmenI read somewhere the other day that all the suffering in the world is caused by the thoughts we have. If we change the way we think about things we can still feel happy, even though bad things happen. Sfiso and I decided to do some research on the topic, and we found some amazing information about a woman named Byron Katie who discovered how you can change your thoughts to be a more positive and happy person.This is what we found out:Once upon a time, there was a lady called Byron Katie. For many years, she was a very sad lady. She got so sad that she spent all day in bed, thinking about how sad she felt. She was so sad, she wasn’t interested in life anymore. She never got dressed or combed her hair, and food did not taste good to her – not even chocolate! Then one day, a sunbeam came in through the curtain and fell across her bed. Katie looked at the sunbeam and it was like a light bulb went on in her head. She realized that what made her so unhappy was the thought that things should be different than they were. When she thought “There should be less suffering in the world.” she felt afraid and scared. When she accepted there was suffering, she was able to say “There is much suffering in the world. What can I do to help?” She realized that what was making her so sad was NOT the world around her, but what she believed about the world around her.
She thought, “Wanting reality to be different than it is, is hopeless. You might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” And you will be very unhappy!”Katie worked out a way to help people question whether they really believe the thoughts that make them so unhappy. She developed The Work: 4 questions and a turn around.When someone has a thought that is making them unhappy, like “I can’t do it!”, she will ask them:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it is true?
3. What happens to you when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
And then she invites them to Turn the thought around: “I can do it!Now Katie helps people all over the world with The Work. She has turned her life around and has become filled with love for everything life brings.
Well, Carmen can definitely use the Work to help solve her problem. If she goes through these questions she would probably find that she can’t know for sure that everyone is talking about her behind her back. She’ll also be able to question whether everyone really hates her. I bet she’ll find this is not true at all. She’d also see that she can’t know for sure that she’ll never feel happy again. If she turned this thought around, she’ll find that lots of things make her happy. She’ll realise that things are not so bad and she’ll start to do the things that make her happy.It’s so easy to believe the things we think but if we just question our thoughts a little bit we can see that our minds sometimes make up stuff. We need to learn to tell the difference between our imagination and what is real! We need to know the difference between fantasy and reality.Some things to remember:
*Everyone has the right to be Happy
*Our minds think thousands of thoughts in the wink of an eye.
*Some thoughts float off and some we attach to
*Unhappiness is caused by believing these thoughts without question
*Questioning our thoughts helps us to accept reality
*Accepting reality does not mean ignoring or excusing bad things that happen in the world
*But you will no longer be weighed down with problems that seem too big
*Turning your thoughts around will give you the energy to know what to do!
For more information abut Byron Katie, just click here.
That’s it for now, and don’t forget we’d love it if you let us know what you are thinking, or if the Justice Gang can help you in any way.