5 routes to destination happy
What we’ve been taught about happiness is a lie.
We’re led to believe that it’s something that can be attained. We search for it, yet no one or no thing can ever make us happy. We might think it can – more money, a loving relationship, puppies. Sure, these things might make us feel happy for a time, until the money is spent, the relationship falls apart and the puppy shits on our favourite pair of shoes. Then the happiness is gone. You see, we are the only ones responsible for our happiness and once we accept this we can access it anytime we want. Happiness is a state of being and comes from living a life of meaning, of love, of acceptance. And all of these things start with us first.
Have you ever noticed that when we don’t feel good within ourselves, our external world starts to implode simultaneously?
That is because we create everything. Our reality is a direct reflection of what we have going on inside of us. So, it’s important to look after ourselves first and be aware of what we have going on.
Here are five foolproof ways to get you on the fast train to destination happy:
1. Let go of things that no longer serve you
On this crazy journey called life, we are continually learning and growing and through this process, it’s only natural that we outgrow certain things, behaviours and people. It can be a struggle to let go because we’ve grown attached and the thought of letting go can seem freakin’ terrifying because of what may lie in the unknown. But when we hold onto things too tightly for too long, it prevents us from moving forward and living happy lives. Maybe it’s a toxic relationship, an old grudge, or an unhealthy lifestyle. Letting go of these things can create space for new love, forgiveness, inner peace and energy. Letting go is an ultimate act of love and whilst we fear it, it is a very liberating process, allowing us to take back control when things appear seemingly uncontrollable. It allows us to shift our focus to things that bring us joy rather than cause us stress and grief.
2. Become the observer of your thoughts and feelings
A surefire strategy for unhappiness is subscribing to our thoughts and feelings. We fall into their trap on a second by second basis. A thought enters our mind, which triggers a feeling and before we know it, we’re consumed by a state that feels like we have no control over. One of the biggest keys to happiness is understanding that we are not our thoughts. When we acknowledge that, we can de-identify from them and be less reactive. As Bob Marley so aptly put it “no one but ourselves can free our minds.” Practicing mindfulness and meditation can expedite this process. Sitting quietly with our eyes closed, focusing on our breathing allows us to observe what comes up and creates a state of allowing. This state enables us to transform stress, fear and anger into love and happiness.
3. Stop needing to be liked and comparing yourself to others
This is a big one. In the age of social media where everyone presents the perfect life to the world, it’s easy to subscribe to it. We need to make sure we have the perfect post that people will like so that we feel accepted, fit in, and prove to other people that we’ve got life under control as well. However, it is so important that we don’t buy into the charade and start judging ourselves against the perceived ‘success’ of someone else. Life isn’t a competition. The only person we need to be competing with is ourselves - to better ourselves from the day before. It’s an opportunity for constant growth and refinement. When we love ourselves first it doesn’t matter what anyone else is up to. We start to celebrate the successes of others and appreciate that we’re all on our own path. In needing to be liked we lose our authenticity, we blend in with everyone else because we’ve been conditioned to play small. But needing to be liked and playing small is actually limiting our ability to be happy. Be the crazy one. Be the one that laughs at inappropriate times. Be the one that has an opinion on current events that matter. We have so much fear around being rejected, that we dim our own light to be liked, and this has a detrimental effect because the world never really gets to know the real us. There is far greater happiness in being authentic than being liked and measuring ourselves against others.
4. Treat yourself like you would your best friend
You might have heard this before and rolled your eyes, but it’s so true. How we speak to ourselves is super important. When we berate and criticise ourselves we reinforce learnt beliefs and conditioning that there is something in us that needs to be fixed. But when we start encouraging ourselves, celebrating our successes and accepting ourselves in all our beautiful imperfections, we shine from the inside out. We don’t judge and criticise our BFFs (if you do, you should be rethinking the friendship). No, we love and encourage them. We’re honest and vulnerable and real with them. This is how we need to be with ourselves. We’re human, some days we make mistakes, some days we’re rockstars and all of it is ok. We need to give ourselves a massive high five rather than a slap in the face and see what a difference it makes to our own happiness.
5. Put your energy into creating something that you’d love
Ultimate happiness comes from creating what we love. We all have passions, hobbies, dreams. When we start acting in favour of these and what’s in our hearts, we begin to experience happiness far beyond what we can imagine. I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and unicorns shooting rainbows out their arses, but when we commit to creating what we’d love, the struggles and the tough days are bearable because we’re working towards something that is meaningful to us. It could be spending time with our families, planning an amazing adventure, or taking an art class. Whatever it is, we grow our happiness when we start doing what we love. Make it a priority, not a nice to have.
We might all hold a different definition of what happiness is to us, but what we all share is where it comes from, and that’s from within. We experience it when we let go of what we can’t control, say yes to our hearts and take action towards creating a life full of meaning. Happiness is never outside of us, we can access it whenever we choose.
First published on kaotic mumma blog 26 November 2017