You're upset when you don't have to be

Hey you, happy Sunday 👋

I hope you're reading this during a moment of rest and relaxation. Or take this as your reminder to take a minute to do just that. A nice deep breath should do the trick.

I'm feeling especially laid-back at the moment. As I write this from my oversized couch in Managua, the wind is blowing in from outside, all the birds in a 2-mile radius are chirping, and my 2-year-old is sound asleep for his nap.

Usually his energy level is something like this:

Going to sit in this peace and quiet for a bit to chat with you about happiness.

There are three "programs" for happiness—or as I like to think of them, three shortcuts. Everyone uses all three shortcuts to feel a sense of contentment, but each person has a unique tendency toward one of the three. Only one makes you weak in the knees.

One program for happiness is security and survival. I'm thinking about money, health, proper nutrition, access to education, planning for the future, and more. Anything that makes you feel stable and cared for right now and in the future.

Another program for happiness is esteem and affection. This is all about feeling loved and accepted, being admired and looked up to, popularity, follower counts, and generally being liked.

The final program for happiness is power and control. This is about governing people and situations, commanding what will happen in the present and how that affects what ends up occurring in the future. When it boils down to it, this is about having certainty and calm.

None of these programs for happiness work, but you likely already guessed that by now. It's a tough pill to swallow.

As humans, we intrinsically yearn to be happy, and we want that happiness to come as easily as possible. But can we really ensure that we'll be safe, liked and in control at every hour of every day? Not that I know. It'd be nice, and we can absolutely hope for that, but we can't count on what happens outside of our own selves.

Everything that happens outside of us is ever-changing, at the whim of an infinite amount of factors.

Everything that happens inside of us, though, is where steadfast happiness can grow.

Inside. That's where The Work begins.

Allow me a moment to be vulnerable here. Personally, my weak spot is esteem and affection. If I feel liked or loved, I'm happy as a clam. Confetti rains down on me as I swim in a delicious pool of joy. And when I'm not liked, my insides twist into knots. It's torturous.

For years, I've worked to chip away at that unquenchable thirst for acceptance and approval. It's a journey I'll always be on, the work of a lifetime, but I get back way more than I put in.

Now, I find myself at a place where I can untangle the knot in my stomach pretty quickly. I can walk myself back from needing someone else to accept and approve of me.

Because God loves me. I like me. And that's more than enough.

Centering myself in that has reprogrammed my need for esteem from others. Instead, I turn to God.

That doesn't mean I don't have loving relationships with my family and friends. Of course I do, and they're more loving than before. Because I don't clamor for anyone's esteem or affection or approval. Instead, I can give more love more freely when I am grounded in God.

I'll be honest with you. The other two shortcuts (security and control) don't do much for me, so I can't tell you exactly how to walk back from those, but I can tell you this:

The balm for your wounds is always God.

(God, Higher Power, Universe, Energy — whatever term you prefer is cool with me.)

Leaving you today with a prayer I repeat to myself every time my false programs for happiness are triggered.

Deep breath.

I let go of my desire for security.

I let go of my desire for affection.

I let go of my desire for control.

Another deep breath.

And that's it.

If your intention is to fully let go and allow those programs for happiness to fade away, they will. Bit by bit.

Inside of you is an infinite source of peace and joy. Tap into that instead.

More on how to do that next Sunday.

Sending you only the best vibes ✨

All the best vibes ✨

Marcella Chamorro

Mental Health Coach + Executive Coach

PS. If you'd like to learn more about the false programs for happiness, go to the greats: Fr. Thomas Keating, Fr. Thomas Merton, Fr. Richard Rohr. They're the MVPs, and I'm their humble messenger. Look them up, read their books, watch their videos, do all the things. You can thank me later.

Marcella Chamorro

Marcella is mindset coach for award-winning tech teams and an experienced marketing leader with a track record of successful creative ventures focused on mental health. She's worked with both thriving venture-backed organizations and wildly profitable bootstrapped companies to maximize their work performance and well-being.