I've always been a people watcher. As a young girl, I openly looked at everyone I came in contact with, wondering who was the happiest? It was a little disheartening during my exploration to uncover that it seemed that almost everyone had a significant amount of unhappiness and troubles in life. I guess I wanted to live a fairy tale. Some people, however, had a great time with life, even through its challenges.
I noticed that those who were overall most happiest usually had a sense of humor about their experience. They weren't richer, more beautiful, or better off. They were just happy with what was and were strong in rolling with it. Everyone goes through hard times.
Being truly happy is not by getting somewhere or accomplishing something. It is a part of who you are. It is your character, your essential being, the fabric of you. Children are often born with a knowing of it, but many of us lose touch with this understanding along the way.
"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be"
Happiness is a personal thing. And we're all different. It is the unhappiness that we are faced with that allows us to truly enjoy the happiness. That being said, these are recurring characteristics of those who are most consistently happy:
- Have Preferences Instead of Needs. Ask for what you want, but don't be unhappy if you don't get it. Go with the flow and make the best with what is.
"Do not spoil that which you have by desiring what you have not;
but remember that what you now have was once
among the things you only hoped for." ~Epicurus
- Enjoy the Whole Journey. Keep going for what you want, but don't require a certain outcome to be attained before you allow yourself to feel happy. Enjoy the whole time through. Continuously strive for goals and growth - and treasure each step as part of a beautiful experience. When you enjoy each step, you are excited to move forward and thus grow exponentially faster than the average.
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." ~A. Schweitzer
- Be Fulfilled with Faith. Whatever form it may be that fills your soul, know what it is for you. If you have found and connected with your faith, treasure the blessing. If you have followed a crowd into a practice - but don't find it fulfilling or haven't found what feels right for you - take the time to figure out what moves you. Explore all kinds of faiths, beliefs, etc. Those who have connected with their spirituality have a deep sense of purpose that fills their cup regularly and are not in need of anything outside to complete them. So if this isn't your case, enjoy the journey of uncovering that and moving into living it. Just keep following your curiosity and allow your heart to guide you. Often times all you have to do is stop being in your own way. It's always been there. Just open up and be ready for it. Nearly all forms of organized faith believe some form of "Ask and you shall receive." You've always been invited.
- Trust. We are given all we need. We may always think we won't make it through, but we have, haven't we? Everything is fine in this moment. You've made it here. There are those who are suffering greatly - and the more we can grow our collective consciousness, the more we can improve conditions and resolve root issues so that the world is a safe and abundant place for everyone. If each of us worked on ourself, it would make a huge impact. As we grow, we can easily help many others who aren't getting enough. Begin with practicing to trust in your daily life. Trust that everything that comes to you is for a reason and that all you "need" is within reach. This goes hand-in-hand with heartfelt faith, so begin cultivating your faith if this seems unfathomable. If you are already in connection with your spirituality, step up to living it - with true trust. This doesn't mean to act ignorantly at all. It means to get up and dance with life. Stop fearing it. It really is all happening perfectly. Not always wonderfully, but always perfectly for where we are at.
"Each problem has in it an opportunity so powerful
that it literally dwarfs the problem." ~J. Sugarman
- Give Thanks. Receive everything with gratitude - even challenges. Start each day with giving thanks and your entire experience will significantly shift for the better. It's not only proven scientifically, but supported by many of the most successful people in the world in every sort of realm. Feel GREAT by being grateful.
"The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today
is to start being grateful for what you have right now." ~Oprah Winfrey
- Select Your Experience. You are not a victim to anything. You experience whatever it is you focus your attention on and invest your energy into. Instead of fear, choose to focus on loving outcomes and that which you prefer rather than fear. Don't give into dramas. Release them and LET GO! It's amazingly freeing!!! Don't worry about others and stop judging them. Look at the things you see everyday that are vibrantly displaying something that is not your preference, give thanks that you've seen it to know more about what you do not want, and then reflect on what it is you do want instead. Focus on CREATING that what you prefer rather than REACTING to that which you are not interested in or refuse. These irritators and attractors are divine breadcrumbs. Notice them, take note, and adjust your experience accordingly. As you make these adjustments, you feel happier - and attract less from your fears. A basic part of life is facing our fears and growing beyond them. When those times come, welcome them, stand up, and be your best. You'll get through them fine. We are only faced with what we are prepared to work on. If we aren't ready to grow beyond them yet, we keep facing them until we learn to grow beyond them. These are the basic patterns of life - the divine dance. As you notice the challenges become easier, select your next level of growth - and keep going!
"All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within." ~H. Friess
- Know Your Story - and Then Move On. We all have a past that was not what we'd define as ideal at the time. So own up to it, be aware of it, and take new steps in light of it. When you do that - when you give life your all - you consciously create one that is in alignment with who you are now. Fully participate by checking in with yourself and adjusting your conditions as necessary.
"What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret
than our willingness to choose life."~Leo Buscaglia
- Have Compassion for Yourself - and Others. I'd really like to list this first as this was one of my biggest lessons, but I think it makes more sense to be here, logically... so here it is. Be your best - and lighten up on yourself knowing that you are giving it your all. So many of us are so damn hard on ourselves that we are stuck in think layers of guilt - paralyzed in life. Many of us have an inner voice (yes, we talk to ourselves in our heads - know it!) that is extremely critical and downright abusive. This happens. Its not your fault. Its part of our collective consciousness. So choose to rise above it. Change it to a supportive voice. Make a commitment today to love yourself and be your best friend. Your entire life will change significantly and it will be much more enjoyable. Many of us, women especially, seek a fulfilling relationship from others. If we can give it to ourselves, we can truly be a delight to others - adding to their experience, rather than trying to pull them into ours. Be love. The more you love yourself, the more you can really love others. You can love them with Pure Love rather than one fueled with selfish motivations. The more you love others, the more you will love yourself. Get in the love cycle guys. It's much more fun than the one you've probably been stuck in... Be at peace with trying your best, honoring your needs and feelings, and being love.
"Every object, every being, is a jar full of delight." ~Rumi
- Honor Your Feelings. When things feel bad, when you are sad, or feeling down, don't shy away from the truth. Take off the rosy colored lenses and be openly honest about what's going on. Tune into you. These feelings are divine sign posts. Honor them by looking at them and see what needs adjusting. This is a great way to truly being happy. We have our own guidance system built in. Make sure to check on it often. Emotions rise. Stop and tend to your feelings as soon as you can. Give yourself the conditions to compassionately deal with them. We all are faced with sadness. Life is constantly changing and its hard to let go of things that we treasure. However, we can still be sad without being unhappy. As we grow in awareness of the beautiful cycles of life, we can grieve with gratitude for what leaves us or the challenges we go through. Its a way of blessing it with love and letting go. With a solid foundation, these things don't take away our happiness. We can be happy with the process and what is to come from the changes. We can even be happy when we are sad - happy because we are feeling our emotions rather than thinking our way out of them. It says a lot about how much we've grown!
"There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course.
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness,
the world 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." ~C. Jung
- Speak Your Truth. Be who you are. Be totally you. You are a gift from God, as we all are. So please, be you. As they say, "everyone else is already taken". But seriously, there is magnificent beauty in who you are. Allow it to unfold and share your authentic being with the world and with your loved ones. We need you. When faced with challenges, stand up as who you are and share your feelings and perspective with others. Live your truth. It's much more enjoyable, very freeing, and lots of fun. We are all different pieces of the puzzle - each one essential and equally a part.
- Have Fun. We all have our own funny characteristics and likes. I love to play games. I consider it a very serious part of my day to retreat into something fun. It's healing and reenergizing. Be goofy if you like to be goofy. Be dorky if you are really a secret dork inside - or possibly even a very obvious one :). Enjoy your life. Spend time with those who make you laugh. Sing out loud, even if you sound terrible. Watch your favorite comedian at least once a week for a few moments. Live your life as art - and share that pleasure with others. Squeeze smiles, laughs, and fun into every moment you can. Lighten up and don't take it too seriously.
"Happiness is not in the mere possession of money;
it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort."~ Franklin Roosevelt
- Nurture Your Relationship with God. Develop it, treasure it, make it a part of your daily being, and relax into it. Remember you are a soul having a human experience, not the other way around. Think of life as a Harvard of experience and growth - and every day give thanks that there is so much beyond here and that you are so much more beyond your body. Have fun while you've got it and make the most of this experience as well. Indulge in your personal relationship with your Creator and the life you have been given today. Savor the gifts of the Divine.
- Be in Service. A secret of the "manifestation masters" - the creme of the crop lesson in these teachings - is that you can reap rewards exponentially faster by giving others what it is that you seek. By focusing on another, you can much more easily find the way to what it is you are seeking. Now, hopefully your motivation is simply to give back... but whatever it may be to get you started, leave a legacy, and participate in the world. Give back and make life a little better each day. One very simple way is to smile at a stranger. Such a simple act, yet greatly changeable. Be in the habit of smiling. A huge way to assist the growth of the collective is to dedicate service to those you can help. If your skill is cooking, cook for an elderly family member and share a few hours with them. If your skill is financial calculations, help your mom get ready for her taxes. If we'd all just give back at home that would make a huge change. If you can reach farther and give back where others aren't reaching enough yet, that helps greatly too. If you can do both, great!
"Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within.
It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy;
it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves."
As I continue to grow, I often become the subject of my own studies. In the last ten years I've made significant changes in my life to go for everything that I've dreamed of. Not everything is always "going great," but I am greatly happy - from the inside. It was tough and took strength to be brave enough to expand beyond my limits and do some of the hardest things for me, however, a much better self relationship has ensued. I am grateful and enjoying the blessings of this foundation in my life.
I've also had my share of hardships and adversity. My life hasn't been a cake walk. However, I don't let my challenges keep me down; rather, each one builds on and adds to my character. Through the experiences, I grow. Although some were extremely painful, through them I chose to transform. I stood up, faced them, and dealt with my feelings. I went for love and growth beyond the pain. Not right away. I allowed the healing process to flow naturally, but I did make sure I got back up - each and every time. Mistakes we make and challenges we face can often spark amazing changes that will last us a lifetime.
Please share your experience or favorite quote. What makes you happy?