When we were little, the people who had authority in our lives, often prevented us from feeling joy – although most probably without realizing the impact that this could have on our lives. We were made to feel guilty if we felt very happy and taught to confine ourselves from the open manifestation of this happiness – as something bad could usually follow. Others wanted us to be exactly like them and taught us to be restless or helpless victims of life. With the excuse that they were trying to protect us, we were encouraged to take life very seriously, to work hard and forget our personal needs and desires. The outlook was that if we were lucky, at some point of our lives we could become happy.
In addition to this upbringing, we enter into a world where billions were spent (and still are) to convince us that we could be satisfied only when we followed a certain lifestyle that dictates we need to possess some specific material goods, a relationship, kids, two university degrees, a house in a certain area. When we failed to get what we “must” then we were doomed. We have mistakenly learned that our happiness depends directly on what we have or what we do – so we have bestowed it on objects, situations or people outside of us.
And the reality is that this approach works for some time… and we feel complacent.
However, observing myself and my clients I can say with outmost certainty that, irrespective of gender, age, culture or origin, sooner or later most of us will ask ourselves with despair: “Is that all? Why do I still feel empty? Why do I not reach my true purpose –which is to be sincerely and deeply happy? ”
We need to understand that happiness should not be our ultimate goal, but it should be the path that undoubtedly leads to our goals, and it is our choice to walk along it or not.
The question is, how we can make that choice. I share with you some thoughts that can help you:
1. Turn towards your inner self, discover it and love it unconditionally.
The happiness you seek is already within you, but it has been covered by dozens of veils of controversy and criticism through which you experience yourself daily.
Try to bring to mind the feeling of happiness you might have experienced during your childhood or any other time of your life. You must know that being happy is your natural condition and you are able to re-live it at any time you choose.
Ask yourself: what is different now? What do I feel or think about myself, about other people, or the situations of my current life? With these single questions you can discover the reasons you have parted (probably unconsciously) from the path that you now seek.
2. Define what happiness mean to you.
This alone is a huge step. Every one of us have a definition of what makes us happy. Get away from existing social standards and set your own. Remember what gave you joy when you were a child. Probably the same things will give you pleasure today. Seek to bring them back into your life. It is possible.
3. Do yourself a huge gift. Choose consciously to be happy and stay happy.
This option should be accompanied by a strong Will. You can strengthen your decision adopting a statement such as “I intend to be happy every day, all day.” Repeat to yourself that statement as often as you can, to keep your mind in search of stimuli that can support such an experience.
If you are usually tuned to the negative outlook and you are more familiar to focus on the difficult, you may need to frequently remind yourself of your new decision to be happy. You can succeed with some tricks, like placing an alarm every 1 hour to remind you to repeat your affirmation, tying a ribbon to your bag, putting a post-it on your desk or bathroom mirror just to ensure you will be seeing it so often! In this way you will keep your mind in a positive direction that will support you in your effort to approach differently the events that will happen to you.
4. Allow yourself to be true.
Stop trying to make yourself what it is not. Just accept what it is. Refusing to see things as they really are, by covering them with lies and excuses, is a sure path to misery. Be honest with yourself and choose to express your true nature, every time. If this means that you are sad, let yourself be sad. Embrace the most of your feelings. This is the true essence of a happy life. When you can be present in your life, you can emerge from any setback without scratches and be proud of your small and large victories.
5. It is not what we have that matter. But what we do with what we have.
The overweight, the unpleasant job, the unfulfilling partner, the diploma you did not managed to get etc. are all insignificant aspects of what you are and what you can do. When you constantly focus on what you don’t like about yourself or your circumstances, you do not allow your mind to focus on new opportunities. Happy people have realized that constant grievance for what they do not want or like, actually prevent the flow of life.
Abandon your insecurities and self-criticism. Learn to see yourself as the people who really love you. Be inspired by the greatness of people like Stephen Hawking, Nick Vujicic, Lizzie Velasquez who exceed gracefully inconceivable limitations and contribute to society what they are, fulfilling in this way the purpose of their lives. If you do not know any of these people, I invite you to browse the internet to get inspired.
6. Approach life events as an opportunity for expansion and growth.
All of us are constantly shaping what we are becoming. Happy people, thought, manage to assimilate the lessons they get from life and are applying them daily, achieving in this way a more rapid and stable development.
If you face difficulties, approach them with faith, search for the lessons they bring, and you will end up with a deeper understanding of who you really are.
7. Be in the here and now, not where you think you should be.
Most of us struggle to become a future version of ourselves, usually shaped through the “musts” that others have set upon us. Constant stress and pressure for something “more” prevent us from being in the “here and now”. But when you expect eagerly the more, you lose the rich aspects of the possibilities that exist in the present. Accept that you are exactly where you should be, in order to get where you want. Acceptance of the now is critical. Your future is shaped by this. A happy moment will lead you to a happy future.
8. Surrender to change, stop resisting it.
Everyone and everything has its own time and space. All tasks and situations have an expiring date. Even our amazing presence in this physical dimension has a finite time. Happy people seem to understand the strong power of allowing and surrendering to situations and events. Embrace changes, accept them. What goes away does not mean necessarily a loss, it can mean a new beginning, a new consciousness and a new perspective.
9. Happiness begins when we leave behind anxiety and stress for the unknown, and we replace them with Faith.
I have learned this well through my personal journey. From overcoming my addictions – excessive work and criticism of myself and others- and stepping out of a successful career in the Corporate world to follow with faith my soul desires and becoming a happy author, trainer, speaker and coach.
In this transformation process it was necessary to let go of many things to become the human being that I am today. Physically, mentally and emotionally, I had to learn how to leave behind the person that I thought I ought to be, to become the woman I really wanted to be. And I can assure you that that process can be magical. When you believe that everything is part of the path, there are no good or bad experiences – all experience contribute to your expansion and to the awakening of your true self.
What is your goal and your dearest desire? Your only mission is to dive so deeply into it, that the belief that you can make it gushes from your pores. Then you will be able to browse the trenches of the unknown and face your experiences with faith, an open heart and courageous action.
10. Accept the truth about who creates your reality.
Take charge of your life entirely and move on. Commit to learn how to consciously create the reality you desire. My book “Why hasn’t anyone told me?, the parameters of success we were never taught” aims precisely to provide this information. And when you understand what you need to do – just do it! Dismantle any excuses and take action! Design, and build the avenues of Happiness that express who you are and walk on it, to experience a beautiful and fulfilling existence.