Have you ever seen the movie Up? You’d remember if you did, it hits you right in the feels. An iconic character throughout the film was a bubbly talking Labrador, Doug. Doug provided a plethora of comedic relief, and one of the scenes that stuck with me was when he was enthusiastically engaged in dialogue with someone until he caught eye of a critter, in which he abruptly proclaims mid-sentence “SQUIRREL!”.
Despite our best efforts, we have a lot in common with this goofy pup.
We exist in a world fueled by minimization and are perpetually distracted by irrelevant knick-knacks.
Think about it.
We giggle when kiddos faceplant and pop up to exclaim “I’m OK!”
Our workplaces pressure us to “man up” when we are under the weather or face emotional tragedy.
We fire off excuses to provide cushion for those who let us down or experiences that time and time again evoke disappointment.
“Yeah, she forgot my birthday, but she has a lot going on at work so it’s OK”
“He yelled at me for burning the chicken, but he had a hard day and was stuck in traffic on the way home.”
Switch gears to knick-knacks and we all have a little Doug in us. Us humans go on quests for dopamine through perusing things irrelevant to actual fulfillment. This can take many forms particular to the soul we are referring to. If we feel uncomfortable emotions, we lean on Amazon, booze, adopting cats, and taking a hit off of a vape. Instead of being taught how to ride the wave of emotionality in its authentic form, we are victims of more instant gratification through the “shiny” and convenient.
“I could reach out to a therapist to help me process my grief of losing my mother… or I could go to Target to take my mind off things.”
*Insert friendly reminder here*
One’s headspace is far more comfortable the more we validate our own experiences. Minimizing our emotions and perspectives is one of the hardest and most prevalent habits to break. The dismissal- saturated narrative of our realities fuels the cultivation of unhelpful thought patterns. These can include coming down with a case of the “shoulda coulda wouldas”, black or white thinking, or mind-reading just to name a few. It’s apart of healthy boundaries to vocalize when one’s boundaries have been breached and feelings have been hurt. Fun fact, feelings serve a purpose, as obnoxious as they may be. Anger signifies when there is an unmet need, sadness highlights the significance of something to us, and nervousness highlights when our bodies believe increase arousal is key to survival.
I recently coined the phrase “Don’t overlook your joy in the pursuit of your happiness”.
While we cannot outrun the “Doug” in us, let’s all aim to “SQUIRREL” at the things in our life that fuel our joy. We are all perpetually seeking our fantasied “final happiness destinations” in one fashion or another. Yet, many of us (including myself) overlook the joy right in front of us along the journey of life. What if we “squirreled” at the dazzle of the smile of someone we love? Or we pause to appreciate the amazement in a child’s eyes dancing in the light of fireworks? Or backtrack to admire the radiance of a deep-red flower along the sidewalk on our ways to our cars in the mornings before work?
Tune into the awareness of how minimization and the preoccupation of irrelevant knick-knacks within your day-to-day. Your soul will thank you.