“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” ~Dale Carnegie
Happiness is that ever elusive place that all of us want to get to, and yet we feel that we just can’t seem to find the right road there no matter what we do. There was a time when I thought happiness had to do with what was going on outside me and that if the world was nice to me, I could be happy. But, the moment the world stopped being nice to me, happiness scampered away – and it seemed to get harder and harder to find happiness each time it left the building.
Then, sometime just before midlife ( around 30 something) I realized that happiness had NOTHING to do with what was going on or not going on around me, it had everything to do with ME.
That was a pretty humble pill to swallow. I had to accept the fact that my happiness was my responsibility. Well, there goes all the blaming the weather, my family, my job, my body and everything or everyone else who had let me down in the past, for my unhappiness.
Happiness is a FEELING and to achieve it is actually easier than we are led to believe. Kids get it, they are the experts at being happy just for the sake of being happy. They don’t need to LEARN how to do it, they are born knowing how. It is the conditioning we get growing up that leads us to forget how to do HAPPY. So, we then find ourselves in the place of needing to re-learn.
If you are finding life Dull and Drab lately and need a pick me up that can transform you into Delight, then I’ve got just the ticket for you. Everybody loves lists – so here are 5 Happy Bullet points of ‘things’ that will get you back on track to Happy Land if you follow them;
- Pay attention to your NEEDS – we are trained to think that taking care of ourselves is SELFISH and that what we need is not important. Especially if you are a parent – You take care of your kids needs, your work needs, your partner’s needs – everyone’s needs but your own. The reality is; it is selfish NOT to take care of yourself. If you are operating on an empty tank, how are you supposed to service and care for those you love? You need to take care of you FIRST. Do what energizes you, relaxes you, inspires you. Go for a walk on your own, go for a weekend away on your own if you can, draw, paint, do yoga. Whatever you do JUST for you – go there. Do it.
- Right after paying attention to your needs comes – Be of Service. This could get confusing, especially after I just told you to take care of you. But, it isn’t. That is why taking care of you is #1. THEN, when your tanks are full, being of service to others is one of the most wonderful ways of getting the ‘happy’ back. Often, when we are sad, depressed and just feeling dull – we tend to focus on the negativity within us, and focus on our moods. One of the best ways OUT of those moods is to focus on something positive and by helping others. Being of service has been known to get those happy hormones rolling in our brains and bodies. Get out into your Community and ‘give back’ – give out that connected, happy feeling that you are looking to experience. The true essence of ‘Be the Change You Wish To See’
- Accept the Dull for what it is – This can feel counter intuitive and that is why it is a REALLY important step. Many of us spend a lot of time and energy resisting the darkness, avoiding loneliness, running away from our fears and giving sadness the shaft – but, the irony of this is: The More you RESIST, the more it PERSISTS. Once you sit down with your ‘dark’ feeling, whatever it is and allow it to just ‘be’ it will start to change. It is the resisting that tends to get us wrapped up in knots that never end.
- Stop trying to be perfect – This is my nemesis and this one drives me nuts because I see it everywhere. Perfection does not exist, and striving for it is like purposely dangling that carrot in front of yourself but never being able to catch it. It’s insanity at it’s best. Rather than aiming to be something that isn’t real. Aim to be REAL. And the great thing about this is that it doesn’t take any work, because you are doing it every day, and every moment. Who you are is unique, and it is special. There is no one else out there like you. The world needs what you have – holding the real you back is selfish ( really, it is when you think about it) – the real you with all of your flaws, eccentricities, body jiggles, crazy hair and funny-walk ways is beautiful. It’s beautiful because you are one of a kind. The more you let it all shine out, the happier you will be and the happier those around you will be because you will be real, authentic and genuine. Everyone wants to be around folks who have finally allowed themselves to just BE. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes, make them loud and proud. And especially don’t be afraid of failure. Failure is a wonderful teacher. Perfection is just a jerk – leave it behind and embrace the ‘Flawsome‘ that you are.
- Let go of your control over other people and your life. Controlling others and the life around you is never really possible. We sometimes come under the illusion that we are controlling things when our manipulations actually work – but the end result will always be the same. You will not be able to control everything, and if your happiness depends on that, you are set to take up residence in dull land for a very long time. Practice being in the NOW, breathing in every moment and accepting all that comes in both its grand joy and it’s terrible grief. Life is all about balance and we cannot have one without the other. A fear of the darkness won’t serve you, and a fear of not having control will spin you right out of control. This can be a hard habit to break because it is ingrained in many of us. Often, it is a logical response as children to fearful or dangerous situations. If you have been in an abusive dynamic, or other frightening situations – trying to control the world around you is a natural tendency to protect yourself. But, it doesn’t truly help you heal. Find some support if you need it, to heal past traumas, if you find ‘letting go’ of control is particularly hard for you.
There are MANY other things you can do to CHOOSE Happiness in your life, but I find that these are the top 5 – especially if you have just decided to take responsibility for the way you perceive life and start making some changes to habits that don’t serve you any more.
You’ll find that when you allow happy into your life, by ‘allowing’ life you will start to attract happy outside circumstances more and more – this is the Law of Attraction at it’s finest. And, if life does throw you some curves, you’ll be well equipped to handle it. Happiness is within you – go find it!