We are meant to be happy. So why do so many of us spend so much time struggling?
My life has been changing dramatically for the better in recent years, so I want to share what has enabled this to happen. Notice I say “enabled” because happiness is something we allow to come forth, not something we have to go out and find.
First, I came to accept that we are meant to be happy. It is an ok goal, well, more than ok; it is a noble goal. There is no selfishness in it. When we are happy, the people around us are happier; it is contagious. The flip side is also true; when we are around negative people, we often become closed and guarded. Imagine if we were all happy all the time; there would be no wars, no violence, no intentionally harsh words. We would act out of love all the time – for our families, for all the beings of the world, for our environment. Nice picture, isn’t it? And I believe it starts with each of us.
So how do we get there? Ideally, we train ourselves to recognize as soon as something painful touches our hearts and not let it close us off. Once we try to push away the pain by letting our minds run with how we are unworthy or how we have been wronged, we can waste a lot of energy trying to defend ourselves. Achieving that immediate awareness and letting go is the work of a lifetime.
An important first step is to look at how we are spending our time. To be happy, perhaps the most important ingredient we need is to feel what we are doing with our time here is fulfilling. We must do what moves us or at least find the love in what we are doing. Like most of us, I feel best when I am using my strengths to be of service. That’s why I started SupperWorks – to help others and to provide enjoyable jobs.
An exercise I did recently freed up a lot of my energy. It comes from Valeri Hall Little, an efficiency business coach with Built to Soar and she calls it Getting out of the Grind. Take a moment to consider each of the following topics:
Those things that just make you go “ugh”. This is the Grind.
I know it sounds easier said than done. But when I wrote these down, it not only refocused me back on what is important to me, it made me dig deeper to find a way to stop doing the things that don’t really matter to me. It inspired me to believe that I could spend all of my time making the world a better place in my own way.
So, I encourage you to take some time with pen and paper, feel what activities you regularly engage in that weigh you down and list them. Write down what you would rather be doing instead. Then go back to the first list and think hard about ways to reduce or eliminate them. It won’t all happen at once but even small steps toward this will be very freeing.