Choosing Your Happiness

In this episode JJ and Melissa talk about struggles amidst the Stay at Home order and how running a business while also being in the presence of family can have its ups and downs.

June 23, 2020
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker. And Melissa Elbert. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:18  
Hey, Melissa, we are I don't know how many weeks in to the stay at home order, and it's raining outside. And I'm feeling a little gloomy. And I was wondering if we couldn't talk about how self awareness might be related to happiness? Ah, well, I love that idea. Maybe a little happiness injection here.

Melissa Albers  0:49  
Like, I did offer my ukulele I could play ukulele to you and and and you've flatly turned me down on that on actually you did it. You were very Nice about it. But yes, perhaps talking about choosing happiness in self awareness is a great topic today.

JJ Parker  1:10  
I mean, I'm not saying your ukulele didn't put a smile on my face, but you can't constantly be playing the ukulele for me.

Melissa Albers  1:19  
And it wasn't really a smile that I could really understand. You know, it was just a little I was sure. I wasn't sure what kind of smile it was. Oh, my goodness. Yes, it is interesting, isn't it? choosing happiness is definitely a thing right now. Choosing happiness is definitely a thing. I think we're into week seven or eight of the stay at home order here in Minnesota. And I've noticed that there is a direct correlation between people's love of happiness and joy, they're like their natural way of being feels like there's a direct correlation between that and the stamina to stay in a more upbeat, not false, but in a happier place over a longer period of time. I really am noticing that.

JJ Parker  2:25  
So, a couple that's really interesting, a couple of questions from things you just said like, do you think like, there is everyone has like a sort of a default or a baseline level of happiness? That that maybe is different for for for different people and maybe changes throughout their, you know, day, week, month year life?

Melissa Albers  2:52  
That's a such an interesting question. My my immediate reaction and I actually would like you to answer that question, if what you think about this too, because this is, you know, obviously just my opinion. But I feel like everyone in this world comes, comes into this world with the single goal of feeling good and being happy. I really believe that from the time you're born, I really feel like my opinion is is that you choose to do things that make you feel good. Right. And, but I, but I feel like our ability to do that is very much connected back to how aware we are about how aware we are of ourselves, like our self awareness.

JJ Parker  3:40  
Yeah. So you're saying like, I was born really happy. Then I went through a middle school, and now I am.

Melissa Albers  3:49  
My partner didn't

Unknown Speaker  3:49  
want to hear the ukulele more than

JJ Parker  3:55  
it is. I think it's pretty interesting that you know, I my sense is that Like there are some people who are genuinely more happy or at least more cheery on the outside.

Melissa Albers  4:08  
Yeah, more optimism and others.

JJ Parker  4:09  
Whether that makes them more intrinsically happy or not, is maybe only a thing that they could answer, right. Like, it'd be really hard to tell.

Melissa Albers  4:21  
Yeah. Well, you know, like, if you studied personalities, which I have done for 20 years now, well, I started when I was six. personalities, there's really two camps of personality. Typically, one is, the more the more extroverted people kind of personality style, where they enjoy things that are more in groups, they enjoy talking out loud, more, they interact with people as a way to get their energy. And then you have the opposite group, which is a more analytical or technical kind of group which is there more of an introspective group they like to think to talk, you know, they're just a little more on the quieter side, and they don't get their energy from, oh, they get their energy from, you know, projects or individual task or single contribution things. And generally speaking, like if you were to break down the population by personality traits, there's a natural optimism that goes more on the extroverted side, and a natural prove it on the more analytical side. And I don't wonder in this topic, if those two things are going to give us our natural disposition again, I'm just I'm just riffing on this. I'm not saying that I this is get gospel. But I'm feels like when you're naturally one way or the other. What really then makes you very happy is your is your level of self awareness and what actually feeds you? Mm hmm.

JJ Parker  5:54  
Yeah, I would say for me, you know, a theme in my life has been like Like if I've been at a party. No, everyone will be like, well, you're, you're like not having fun here. This is you're not obviously, obviously, you're not enjoying it because you're like,

Melissa Albers  6:12  
we're not wearing a lampshade.

JJ Parker  6:15  
Right? And this is because I'm really introverted. And I just it doesn't, like you said it doesn't give me energy. It's not like I'm having a bad time. rather just stand in the corner and talk to one person that's really enjoyable for me. Yeah, don't talk to 80 people and engage in chat. That's really difficult for me.

Melissa Albers  6:35  
Right. And, and, and your level of self awareness. Like how would that come into play in those situations then?

JJ Parker  6:42  
Yeah, so it used to be Yeah, like it used to be I really dreaded those situations and, and nowadays, I only, you know, minorly dread them, not Major League. that's gotten a lot better. No, it's Like, knowing that about myself that I don't get energy in most situations like I can still go and I can actually still have a good time, I just am okay with the idea that I'm not going to be one of the outgoing people in that group. But that's okay. Like, it's okay, now, I am fine with it, and it, it's not stressful anymore.

Melissa Albers  7:23  
I love that. And I think, you know, you could say some of that comes with maturity and age. But I also think that much of this comes with self awareness. You know, there's, there's like, and if you break the population into ages now, like when you talk about the millennials and the Generation X and the generation y's and that sort of thing. I think that if you were to do that the population of millennials seems to have a much higher capacity to understand their own way of being an accept it more freely. And then some of the other generations that have put lots of layers on. Well, in order to be happy, you have to look and do all these things, even if you don't want to just suck it up. And that's how it is. Mm hmm. I don't know. I think that's it. I don't know. I think it's really, really interesting because knowing yourself and even something as baseline as going to a party or going to a gathering of sorts, knowing yourself can make or break the difference in how much energy you expend and absorb. That either helps or hurts you.

JJ Parker  8:39  
Mm hmm. Well, if you go into a situation where you think you need to be acting a different way than you actually are, it takes you can do it for a while, but it takes a lot of energy, and it has a big impact on your happiness. Right so

Melissa Albers  8:55  
you can feel that there's something not right you know, like your feelings start firing up like Something's not right. This isn't how we feel on the inside is not aligning. And there, there it is. Again, it's like that awareness piece kicks in. And the more that you focus on getting more self aware. That wasn't a very well constructed sentence. But you know what I'm saying? The more self aware you focus on being the faster you can make adjustments to your own activities, and energy, and it keeps you more like just the scalp waves. I always talk about that. It's like keeping your energy more in scalped waves instead of high highs and low lows and then having a recovery time. Hmm.

JJ Parker  9:47  
So right at the beginning of the conversation, you used a word to our decide choosing happiness. You said a couple of times choosing happiness and what I think is interesting about that is when I think about, like, maybe what I'm doing on a day to day basis, I don't know that I wake up and say, I'm going to choose to be happy today. It doesn't. Lots of times doesn't feel like a choice. It feels like things outside of me dictate how my day is gonna be, you know, right. Like, if if, you know, the kids are crabby and the water heater doesn't work, and all this stuff happens, you know, I'm not going to be very happy that day. But even if that all happens, you're kind of saying, I still have the choice of being happy. Right? Yeah, I can still choose that. So walk through that, like how, how do I choose to be happy?

Melissa Albers  10:48  
You know, and again, I'm just only speaking from my own perspective. But I have been in this practice to art over the last few years of trying to understand myself better And be able to sort of play my edge, like what do I actually have control over and not like, because the water heater breaking and getting a huge tax bill that you weren't expecting on March 31. When giving you know, giving you two weeks to find a bunch of cash, or whatever the case may be, there's always going to be external things coming at me that I do not have control over. And yet, and yet, there are always internal things. In other words, checking in with my feelings and I don't mean gushy, like overflowing crazy emotional. I'm not talking about those kind of feelings. I'm talking about the deep residing knowingness about what's best for me and what's not. And trusting myself more in that knowingness. So the water heater breaks, right? There's there's a, I'm at a fork in the road. I can make it At a departure, I can choose, like, do I want to have a sense of humor about this? And, like, How quickly can I move past that past this so I can focus on the rest of the day? Mm hmm. You know, versus oh my gosh, that makes me so mad. And another thing and I'm real mad about this too. And yeah, and whipping myself into a lather.

JJ Parker  12:25  
builds right, there are some things where it just seems to build and build and build.

Melissa Albers  12:29  
I know that's true. And and like even in those days, I don't choose to think that that is a character flaw or that anything really bad is going to happen. Like everything is always working out for me. I really believe everything is always working out for me. And, and that's the choice that I'm making. I really believe everything is working out for me. You hear about the law of attraction you hear about how people bring things to themselves by focusing on that which they want. And and then then everybody always says, well, it must be about money, we must be talking about money. But I actually think how interesting for us to be able to say, our happiness is the most important thing. It's really the only thing we wanted when we came here. And, you know,

JJ Parker  13:21  
it really feeds into like a nother topic that we should talk about sometime is about how like self awareness changes how you see the world.

Melissa Albers  13:30  
Yeah, that would be a great topic sometimes. Yeah, yeah.

JJ Parker  13:33  
I'm a little bit with this choosing happiness is, is maybe a, like, I think about a fundamental mindset of like, do you think the universe is generally good or generally? bad, right? It's like if you didn't, if you if you think the universe as Jen generally good, and that good things will be attracted to you. That's a different if it's a different mindset and it really helps with Yeah, your general happiness.

Melissa Albers  14:05  
You know, that's really an important thing that you just said and I didn't even really realize that I do this until you said so but I have made it so particular in my own life to choose things that help me remain more grounded centered. So we keep saying happy I want I want that happiness to be a contentedness like a deep satisfaction where I am not this big, overly, you know, I think that's really different.

JJ Parker  14:40  
So maybe So talk about that a little Sorry about that. Maybe like the meaning of this word happiness fundamentally, like, like a lot of people say, we'll see someone smiling, cheerleading, you know, doing activity like that and think, oh, that person's really happy.

Melissa Albers  14:57  
Right? Right. Right.

JJ Parker  14:58  
You see someone may be More quietly walking down the road, you might think, oh, that's an unhappy person. Well, maybe they're both equally happy. They're just expressing it differently. So you're talking about something deeper than the external.

Melissa Albers  15:13  
Yeah. Yeah. It's all the internal play on understanding what makes you as a person and then me as an individual, what makes us deeply content deeply satisfied with what we have who we are. Mm hmm. You know, and and it's different for everybody. So I can't judge you. If what makes you happy is to get in your car and go up to your cabin for the weekend. And rake leaves, like that makes you really happy. And for me, I just hate raking so much.

Unknown Speaker  15:58  
But when the yard is over Clean, it's so

JJ Parker  16:00  

Melissa Albers  16:04  
You know, but for me, it's like, what makes me deeply satisfied. Here's the funny part about it. I don't really care if people think that it's satisfying for them or not, I really couldn't care less. I don't need them to tell me that it's okay. I am deeply satisfied with what I'm doing. And I will. I will do everything I can to continue to build on that internal column of stability, to remain deeply satisfied with what I'm doing. And so if something if the water heater breaks, or even if I have a disagreement with my husband, or whatever, knowing that it's okay, right now, I'm not in my spot where I felt as good as I did when I woke up this morning. But I'm okay. Everything's always working out for me. It's gonna be okay. And it isn't just in your head, right? It's not just this fake story, you tell yourself, it's a feeling. And I pay attention to that feeling. And the more I pay attention to that inner feeling, the easier it is for me to stay in my happy content state.

JJ Parker  17:18  
Yeah, we've talked about, you know, sort of this authentic, an actor self and kind of getting knocked off balance a little bit. And, and what, what you have to do like so if, you know, if I get knocked off balance, and I'm unhappy, you know, we talked about triggers before. Yeah. Really, the idea of happiness might be the idea that you're coming back home and you're being more centered and balanced and you're more authentic self, right. Like, if you're truly living your authentic self, you're in that satisfied content. Come place.

Melissa Albers  18:02  
Yeah. And and, and, and it's really interesting because like, the decisions that I make every day now I'm not even aware that I'm making them but I'm making them all the time. I make decisions all throughout the day to remain in that space of contentedness. And what does that look like? That means that if there are, it's something as simple as if people are around me and they are not feeling good, and they want to complain about how they don't feel good, you know, like, or they just want to spend a lot of time ruminating about how something is not working out. I don't participate in the conversation in that way. I will not add to it, because that energy does not make me feel good. Yeah, and it isn't being I don't mean to mean that I don't care about other people. I care deeply about other people, but the way that I choose to support myself first, and then support them is to offer a counterbalance of something That has more positivity that has more opportunity for them to

JJ Parker  19:05  
feel better, too. Yes. Like you said something they're so important is that if you get sucked into their energy, yeah, not again, not judging, I'm not even gonna say negative energy, just their energy. They're just not in alignment with your energy. Exactly. It's a real drain on you, and you actually can't support them. Right, because you get dragged into their energy. So that's a really interesting. Well, I just, you know, it's just watching your own energy first so that you can be available to help other people

Melissa Albers  19:45  
and recognizing how amazingly important energy is, and that's your awareness piece, right. So there are other examples too, where if somebody is very angry They are mad at someone that they know. And I know. And they may want me to make them feel better in the moment by getting angry with them to learning about that person. So recoup complaining. And again, that is adding to an energy that I'm not subscribing to. Mm hmm. No amount of anger that I can match them with will make him or her not angry, right? No amount of sadness that I can bring mice, I can't bring myself to any level of sadness that will make a sad person feel better. It doesn't energy just doesn't work that way. And I am so cautious about that. In in everything that I do, I'm trying to always be cautious about it. In some ways I'm better than others. But that's that whole self awareness piece.

JJ Parker  20:49  
Yeah, that's really interesting. I mean, I think that is probably something that happens in people's lives. Like, every single day, multiple times a day where someone comes to you and and, and what they want is for you to match their energy and their emotion. But when you do that, you It feels terrible. And yeah, and in reality are not really helping them with like your unique, you know, talents and, and viewpoint, right.

Melissa Albers  21:23  
Yeah. You know and and I don't mean to make this sound easy because it's hard to do this at first it's easiest to practice on people and with people that you don't have as tight of a relationship with like if they're because certainly the people that have been in your life the longest or have the closest relationship to you. There's way more patterns right, and they're way harder to become aware of, but certainly starting with people that it's a little safer, easier for you to practice with, to get some momentum about how good that feels to change the dynamic and stuff. See that it works. You know, like, I had my mother and I, oh my goodness, my mother and I have had a challenging, challenging relationship. You know, I'm 53 years old. And I would say, up until three years ago, my mom and I were always at odds over something. And we had our little dances, you know, and I could be justified about why I would be so mad at her all the time. And then, in this work, I realized, wait a minute, I am actually responsible for this relationship. This isn't just her responsibility as the mom, although would be super easy socially, it would be really easy to say, Wow, man, my mom's really messed up. Socially, it would be easy for me to push that off. And yet, I recognize that when she would come to me the energy that she was coming to me with, I felt responsible for hmm and so then I would behave and a certain way, just trying to fix it. But it was just creating more of that imbalanced interaction. And I really shifted, how I was responding my responsibility. And I mean, this is a journey right? So it's not perfect, but wow, we have the best relationship that we've ever had ever and it but it's taken a lot of practice and sometimes to she can try to loop me back in when I'm tired or when I'm not aware. I don't see it coming. And then I'll go Oh, here we are. Here we are.

JJ Parker  23:39  
Because someone has a really old patterns, right, and they're just gonna, they're gonna be there forever. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  23:45  
yeah. So again, there's just lots of opportunities for practicing just noting how, first of all, noticing how you feel.

JJ Parker  23:53  
Mm hmm. So it really probably plays into a whole nother topic. Right, which is relationships, right? We started on happiness and our diving into the world and relationships. So

Melissa Albers  24:09  
I just think it's cool all these conversations because you can choose, you can choose to be happy and happy can look different and is different for absolutely all of us. And that doesn't make it right or wrong. There's no right or wrong. It's an immense thing.

JJ Parker  24:27  
Yeah, I like me. I like the idea that, that we should wake up choosing happiness that we shouldn't judge other people in, in what their happiness might be. Right? There's no reason to do that. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  24:41  
Which is natural. It's natural to judge other people. But boy, oh, boy, we could just get rid of judging it and we'd be happy. I bet if we got rid of all judging.

JJ Parker  24:52  
We'll work on that. We'll do that next week. Next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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