The Unhappy Crab

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Once upon a time there was an unhappy crab, living in a city, a long way from the sea. He didn’t know why he was unhappy. He looked at the other crabs going to work, socialising, watching TV, acting as if nothing was wrong and saying they felt fine. But he felt there was something wrong.

When we was young, he’d wanted to play, but he was told not to, to stay still and be quiet. So he stopped playing. He’d had feelings, but he’d been told he shouldn’t be angry, or sad, or excited. So he suppressed his feelings. He’d wanted to be loved but felt that he wasn’t, so he stopped asking for it. He found this all very confusing and hurtful and believed there must be something wrong with him.

For many years he just did what he was told and what all the other crabs did. But it made him more and more unhappy. He started to look for answers. He read some books: 10 Ways to be a Better Crab, The New Five Two Seaweed Diet and The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Crabs. He tried to follow their advice, but he still wasn’t happy.

He asked other people what they thought he should do, and they sent him off in all sorts of different directions, but he didn’t realise that they were just as lost as he was.

At school he’d been been attacked by other crabs with harsh words and aggressive pinches. He didn’t realise that his attackers were suffering themselves, and were foolishly trying to feel better by making him suffer. So he believed what they said and thought “It’s not OK to be me.”

Over time he decided to put a box around himself, because it felt much safer. It was hard to see where he was going and he kept bumping into things, but it was better than exposing himself to the world.

One day he met another crab, who did seem to be happy. He asked him him what the secret was. How you can you be happy in such a painful and confusing world?

“You’re going about it all wrong”, said the happy crab. “You’re looking for answers out there. You need to look in here.” He pointed to the middle of his shell.

“What do you want to do? What feels right to you?”

“I want to go to the sea.” Said the unhappy crab. “I’ve always known that deep down, but no one else is doing it, so it can’t be what I should be doing.”

“You can trust your feelings more than anything else.” Said the happy crab. “You can’t trust your thoughts and other people don’t have clue what’s best for you. You have to go with the feeling.”

So he did. He got out of his box and set off on a journey towards the sea, even though he didn’t know the way, or if he’d ever get there, but he felt that if he was at least going where he wanted to go, that would feel better. And it did.

He realised there was nothing wrong with him after all. The more he trusted his feelings and the less he did what he thought he should do, the easier and happier his life became.

Mindfulness helps you to listen to yourself and know what you really want. If your workplace or school would like to explore that, get in touch for a taster session.

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