Sunday, October 26, 2014
Don't Worry, Be Happy
1. the quality or state of being happy.
2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.
Are you happy?
I don't mean "are you happy right this moment, because you are in a good mood."
If you stop and really think about it....think about where you are in your life, are you happy?
I ask myself this question a lot. Usually on the days when I am not in a good mood.
When my depression was at it's worst, I found that little voice in my head whispering negative mantras all day long. The one that came most frequently was "I hate my life."
It was how I felt. I couldn't find anything to be happy about.
This, of course, was ridiculous, because I had SO MUCH to be happy about....but when you are in the "dark hole" it is really hard to see it.
I was the queen of the "When I....then I's.....
When I'm skinny, then I'll be happy!
When I live in my dream house, then I'll be happy!
When I get super organized, then I'll be happy!
First of all, none of that is likely to ever happen. And secondly, it wouldn't' be the key to happiness anyway.
Once I realized it was all on me...I was the only person who could control my thoughts, and therefore my level of happiness...I started turning things around.
It's pretty amazing how you can turn your outlook on life around when you start taking control of your emotions. Taking control also means learning to let go.
I subscribe to a blog called "Be More With Less."
Just before I started writing this, an e-mail with today's post came in.
Her topic today was "8 Things You Should Let Go Of Right Now."
I will list them for your reading pleasure.
3. Snooze Button.
4. Self Limiting Beliefs.
5. FOMO (fear of missing out)
8. Proving Yourself
(You can click on the title above to read the actual article. It's good. :)
It's actually kind of ironic. I think we are so brainwashed into believing we need MORE stuff in order to be happy...when in reality it is letting go that is the key to happiness.
If you start to let go of all that crap that has been holding you back for God knows how long....how freeing would that be? You know it is a self limiting belief that is keeping you from taking that leap to whatever it is that you are afraid to try.
Either you, or someone close to you has told you that you won't be able to do it, or that it is a silly idea. You have let that little voice in your head repeat negative mantras that have made you believe you are not worthy of more.
Believe me, I completely understand, because that damn voice in my head hasn't shut up for the past 40 years!
Each week, month, or year that passes by while you stay stuck in whatever it is that isn't allowing you to move forward is just killing your soul a little more, isn't it?
Do you feel like when you were young, you had all of these great things you wanted to do or try? And as you got older, and your responsibilities grew, you pushed those things to the back burner. Now, you might not ever remember what all those things were....but I am willing to guess that there are a few things on that list that haven't gone away.
I would be surprised if there wasn't something in your life that you can still say
"I wish I would have given that a try."
Guess what! You aren't dead!
What are you waiting for?
I know that some of you probably have much bigger issues that you are dealing with.
How do you find your bliss when you are in a miserable job, or you have lost your job? How do you find any sense of happiness if your marriage is falling apart?
What do you do when you are dealing with serious illness, or you have lost a loved one?
There are life changing events and decisions that can make you feel as if you are hanging on by a thread. I have been there as well.
I am pretty sure our hearts are actually located in our stomachs, because when the world is crumbling down around me....that's where I feel it.
Here is the deal. You have a choice to make. You can either allow the misery to take over and spend the next several years being a shell of the person you used to be. Or, you can allow yourself the time to grieve properly (whether it is grieving the loss of a relationship, a death, any kind of loss, or anything that takes a serious toll on you.) and then face life again. It is amazing how resilient we humans are. I truly believe we are never given more than we can handle (even if sometimes it doesn't feel that way.)
You may just surprise yourself when it comes to how much you can handle.
Once you pull yourself up from the rubble, and dust yourself off...surround yourself with the people you need for support.
And then, get back out there. There is nothing more refreshing than starting over with a clean slate. Sometimes, that is how you need to approach life. I am a big fan of "leaving the past in the past." We all have mistakes we have learned from, and more than likely, we suffered for them when they occurred. No need to live the rest of our lives being punished for something that is over and done. If you are struggling in a relationship, you either forgive and move forward, or you go your separate ways. It is that easy. (It's never actually that easy....but when you step away from it all...it's that easy.)
I think this bodes well for friendship also.
So, how do we find happiness in all of the chaos and challenge that life tends to throw our way?
Well, you start by looking for it...and making it happen.
And you won't have to go far to look for it, because the only place you are going to find true happiness is in YOU.
You really do create your own happiness. Of course, there are people and things in life that "make us happy," but in the end, it is how we react to situations, and how we view what happens in our lives that determines how happy we are.
We can let every little criticism bother us, and get irritable when the traffic doesn't move fast enough, or the line at the grocery store is too long.
Or, we can actually listen to that criticism,take it to heart....and use it to improve. We can spend that extra time in the car listening to our favorite music or actually talking to our kids! (what a concept!)
While standing in line at the store, you can check out the latest magazines, or....wait for it.....help the lady in front of you get the heavy stuff from the bottom of her cart.
Here is the million dollar solution to finding happiness. (I should totally market this. Maybe I will work on that tomorrow.)
THE KEY TO HAPPINESS IS LEARNING HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF.
This means you love who you are on the INSIDE.
(we will discuss the topic of humility in a day or two.)
What if you don't love all the stuff that's on the inside?
I used to very strongly dislike some of my insides. (And I'm not talking about internal organs here....we are simply discussing character...just so I am clear.)
I knew what kind of person I wanted to be...and parts of me
"fit the bill"....but others were WAY off.
So...I started to work on it.
The parts I didn't like started lessening. If it was a behavior, I would make a conscious effort to change it, and replace it with something positive. If it was a negative mantra that that stinkin' voice in my head kept babbling about, I would shut it up, and make it say GOOD things instead. Now, whenever "I hate my life" slips out, I stop myself (literally) and say "That's not true, I love my life."
It's all about awareness, and the desire to change whatever it is that keeps you from having a positive relationship with yourself.
I can't think of anything better than being 100% happy with who you are. Being completely content with the path you have chosen to follow. Finding joy in whatever it is you fill your day with. If you are in a relationship, feeling that you both allow each other to be your own person, while you love each other with respect, passion and grace. If you are single, that you cherish the time you have alone to really know yourself. To mold yourself into exactly the person you want to be, and that you surround yourself with friends who lift you up and support you.
If you don't feel these things....what can you do to fix that?
If you aren't happy in your relationship, are you willing to do the work to make it better?
(believe me, if you are truly in love, and are willing to work hard, you can build an even stronger relationship if you have been through rough patches in your marriage.)
Are there things about you that need to be improved?
If yes, make a list, and start thinking about how to make those changes.
Think about when you feel the most joy. Who are you with? What are you doing?
Why do you feel so happy?
If you were on the outside looking in, would you want to be friends with yourself? Why?
Do me a favor, and really be aware of any negative self-talk over the next few days. (i.e.: "Oh man, I look so fat in this shirt." "I am so stupid...I forgot my phone again.") stuff like that. Stop yourself, and replace it with something positive.
Step one is to be gentle and loving with yourself.
We are on our way to HAPPY!!