Always keep this in mind.
All the should’s, shouldn’t’s, my-family-always-did-it-this-way’s, I’m-responsible-for… With all the love in your heart for everyone in your life, it is still your job to seek your own happiness.
When you’re wrestling with feelings of unhappiness, regret, frustration or being-taken-for-granted remember that YOU are the only person who can change the situation that’s causing these feelings.
Your vision of your happiness is unique to you. It might be just a vague idea in the back of your mind or a detailed realisation that nags at you every time you close your eyes. It might change. Once you have achieved one element of your happiness vision, you may see a new path you need to follow. Follow it!
Always keep that vision, however ephemeral, in your sights.
Track it down if it vanishes into days of screaming teens, feeling unsupported, arguments with your loved-ones and standing on random LEGO pieces. (They hurt SO MUCH! And I’m not just talking about the LEGO).
Cherish it when the days seem to race by faster and faster, children are growing up at an alarming rate and you notice that your birthday’s seem to come around so soon.
Start doing the things that will take you on your path to your happiness. Lay the groundwork, make mini changes, take tiny steps to make this vision real.
Get off your butt and start researching YOU.
If you don’t know what happiness looks like for you, make it your hobby to find out. Try things, talk to people, get a coach, dream, write.
When you bought your last big purchase didn’t you put quite a bit of effort into deciding which thing would suit you best?
How about doing the same thing for your happiness? You’ve already proven you can do it when you bought that fridge or car.
So why not direct that energy and concentration into the one thing that affects your whole life for as long as you live? Sounds kind of important when you say it like that.
Liz, how do I do this? It’s really hard!
There are simply bonkers numbers of books and websites out there which can teach you how to find your happiness. Here are three simple things to think about to start you off:
What did you dream of doing or love to do when you were younger? This might not seem to be helpful especially if you dreamt of being a unicorn riding astronaut but it’s surprising how themes emerge when you really think about it.
What does your future look like in your dreams? Your vision can be far into your future, or just a few years. It can even be the next few days, realising even tiny dreams can change your life for the better, right now.
What brings you joy right now? Big or small, concentrate on developing that joyful thing so it has a larger presence in your life. Find a way to do more of the things that make you joyful now.
There are so many aspects of your life that will affect your happiness: your relationships, social life, mental health, physical health, finances, your home. Start with one of them but don’t forget the others. It’s all too easy to become obsessed with one aspect of our lives that we believe will make everything better. Sometimes it does, like going out and purposely making more friends, or working on your fitness if you’re having trouble keeping up with your kids. Sometimes it becomes our reason for living, and blocks our vision of other wonderful things that could enhance our lives.
Pay attention to your focus, regularly remind yourself you have a whole life made up of other things. If you get stuck in the micro, look again at the macro level, are you ignoring something that could transform your life?
Liz, I don’t have the time, the concentration or the space to do this stuff!
Make the time, make the space. And if the things you need to do to find your happiness are too overwhelming right now, too scary or too far away, start with your environment. Your home is crucial to your wellbeing. It’s your place to retreat, your self-work space and your launching pad towards your happiness.
Do you have a space of your own to write, study, exercise or practice?
Does your home make you feel peaceful (or excited) when you open the door?
Can you get the necessary things done with minimum effort?
Work on these aspects of your home and you will find that your capacity to work on your vision of your happiest life will improve. Make it part of your everyday routine. Make it a priority.
Making space, time and freeing up your energy to work on your happiness is VERY IMPORTANT! You are not here on this earth to be ground down, exhausted, used-up, taken advantage of or denied the freedom to choose how to live your life.
You are responsible for your own happiness. No one else. The time to start is now.
Work on your future happiness. You are worth the effort.