Happiness is looking ahead. I believe there is a reason why our front windshield of our cars is bigger than our rearview mirror. We are supposed to look in front of us. By looking forward to our best lives and coaxing it into existence we feel happier. We get to learn from our past but not stay stuck in our past.
So many of us have looked in the rearview mirror, and hoped things would have been turned out differently. Maybe you got divorced? Went into bankruptcy? Had a car accident? Or lost a job? I am not diminishing your losses. I realize they are very real but beating ourselves up, feeling guilty and not cutting ourselves a break is only causing more unhappiness.
What everyone needs to do is:
– Forgive Yourself. The practice of forgiveness is one of the most powerful exercises on Planet Earth and it’s also a little confusing. Almost every theology purports forgiveness but doesn’t tell us how to do it. Edwene Gaines, master teacher, suggests using the statement: “I ____ (fill in full name) totally and fully forgive _____ (fill in name, can be yourself)” and do this in writing or aloud for 30 days till you feel that you’ve truly forgiven yourself or someone else. Soon, you begin to see yourself or anyone else was only doing the best they could in their present moment with what they knew then. (This doesn’t mean you become best friends again just forgive them for your own health and happiness).
– Accept the past could never have been different. Oprah had this big “ah-ha” when one of her guests said forgiveness is accepting the past could never have been different. Yes, this is a big insight for many of us. We subconsciously want to believe things could have been different but the reality is that things happened for a reason. The reason may not be apparent (like my mother dying in a car accident by a drunk driver) but trust that the Universe is on your side and nudging you to always become more of yourself. This sometimes means we learn lessons the tough way too.
– Add Happiness Causes. By learning what causes happiness (generosity, prayer, creativity, right work, service, compassion) and doing them is central to becoming happier. It also means avoiding what causes us unhappiness (self-centeredness, greed, thoughts of lack or limitation) and not doing them. So by adding causes of happiness (playtime, generosity, laughter, love, creativity, service) into your weekly life your future becomes your present happiness now.
And ultimately, I want you to look ahead to your brightest future. I believe that we can all create whatever our heart desires. We need to solely develop the mental discipline to steer our thoughts to begin expecting positive results, see the “good” in things and learn that the universe is really for our happiness. Really! Every morning I wake up and say, “Life loves me. The Universe is only for me and is working to bring me more peace, prosperity, love and happiness today. Thank you, God.” And guess what? I am so much happier because of it.
By Maureen Healy
Maureen Healy is an author, speaker and spiritual teacher with more than 20 years of global experience. Her new book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness (HCI Books) is available wherever books are sold. More info: www.growinghappykids.com or @mdhealy
Happiness is an inside job. This is no big surprise. But learning how to keep looking inside for happiness takes practice. I believe it’s human nature to keep looking outside of ourselves to feel validated, approved of and even happier until we have the “ah-ha” that no one can give us happiness. Sometimes we come to this insight through traveling around the globe to have a terrible trip, or marrying someone we thought was perfect but well…never made us any happier.
And all along we had this happiness inside of us just wanting to be released. So to help you release your natural happiness easier, I am sharing two lists: First, I share the 3 Things to Stop Today. These are 3 things that if you do them, you’ll be feeling blue (so avoid them please!). Second, I share the 3 Things to Start Today. These are 3 things that will help you feel happier today, and move you toward a lasting sense of happiness.
Stop These 3 Things
1. Filling in the blank____________. In my book, Growing Happy Kids, I explained how so many of us get caught filling in the blank. I’ll be happy when (________). How did you fill in the blank? I know that I have to catch myself when I do it too. When I have millions of dollars, I live in sunny California or some other thing that I put in that blank. The truth is that I am happy right now as life is unfolding and savoring that process is powerful.
2. Comparing You to Someone Else. Everyone has a unique and divine design of their life that is unfolding perfectly (even if it doesn’t look that way). So please stop comparing yourself to others because this is a cause of unhappiness. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, says “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
3. Complaining. By complaining about things, you only draw more things to complain about into your life. I am not saying there aren’t things to complain about….but by focusing on them, and giving them energy this becomes a cause of unhappiness. (The same energy could be used to focus on the things going right, for example).
Start These 3 Things
1. Gratitude. Starting a gratitude practice is hugely helpful. I suggested to one family I work with they begin a “Family Gratitude Journal” where mom, dad and little Joey were responsible daily for writing 1 thing they felt really, really, really grateful for. It was this little practice that helped them begin seeing more and more all the good in their life – and of course, they become happier too.
2. Meditation. Beginning a practice of calming the mind is essential to happiness. It is here where you can go beyond the mind, and experience real peace. I realize that you may not know where to start so I suggest Sharon Salzberg’s book, Real Happiness. It is excellent and also has a CD to get you started on how to meditate whether you begin with a walking meditation or something more traditional.
3. Get a Happiness Teacher. In my book, Growing Happy Kids, I explained that everyone needs a happiness teacher (adults and kids!). Just like learning how to drive we would never just throw our teenager the keys without teaching them where the pedals, buttons, mirror and everything else is located. Happiness is the same thing. Every adult needs to learn the causes of happiness and do them — as well as the causes of unhappiness, and avoid them! It’s not more complicated than that. I promise.
Maureen Healy is a spiritual teacher, author, speaker and healer. Her latest book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, is available wherever books are sold (HCI Books, 2012). More info: www.growinghappykids.com and @mdhealy
Becoming happier everyday takes practice! It is a skill than anyone of us can learn. It isn’t a gift from great parents or given to only the lucky ones. Happiness actually is something you create within you by thinking and living in a certain way. In other words, you can learn how to become happier no matter what your current circumstances are.
So my suggestion to you today is to pick up a book, watch a video, speak to friend, get a mentor (or teacher) and learn the things you need to do to become happier… I promise the only thing you’ll lose is your unhappiness!
And on that note, I got a chance last month to meet another author, Anne Deidre, who knows an awful lot about happiness. She is a living example of someone who went from deep depression to everyday joy. If she can do it, so can you. Anne was also kind enough to share her “4 Keys to Lasting Happiness” with us below for a guest blog. Enjoy!
All too often it can feel as though happy moments come and go, and that what is happening in our outer world determines how happy we feel in life. I believe that the goal in life is to be able to transcend any challenge and move back into our natural state of joy. I also believe that we are powerful creators of happiness in our lives. I have discovered several keys that can help us move back into the alignment of natural happiness and to stay there more often than not.
Here are 4 keys to unlock the happiness within you.
The first key is to find the value of every experience in your life. We may not have been taught this, in fact it can seem quite natural to complain, blame and project our unhappy experiences into the world and to those around us. The problem with that is that we lose the ability to take our power back in these situations. By recognizing the value in any perceived negative experience we naturally improve the energy of it. Everything is energy, so by taking the time to value, feel grateful and appreciate the bad times, see the gift in the situation, we automatically re-align ourselves with our natural state of well-being, which is happiness.
The second key is to recognize that we have been living in a state of duality for thousands of years. Things are bad or good, happy or sad. We are shifting into a consciousness that lives without duality and judgment. Things can simply be, without a label of being bad or good. When we apply compassion and understanding to ourselves and others, we remove ourselves from the energy of judgment, and we automatically feel happier. This is what is called a unified consciousness or bliss. It is attainable now more than ever.
The third key is to recognize the greatness within you. You have unique gifts and talents, strengths and abilities like no one else. Pay attention to what makes your heart sing. It could be connected to creativity, such as cooking, singing, writing or decorating. Anything creative is part of your creator genius. Do not minimize it, explore it, rejoice and connect deeply to your interests. You have them for a reason. You have a mission and purpose in life like no other. It is your great work to find it and nurture it. Through deeply connecting with your gifts and purpose, you will deeply connect to the well of happiness in your being that is free from the shackles of time. It is enduring and eternal.
The fourth key is to connect with your intuition. You have it. Trust it. Begin by practicing listening to the still small voice within. It may whisper, but you know it. It is the wisdom that is you. It is your heart and speaks with love. It is powerful. Take a journal and begin to notice the wise voice within you. When you are still and free from distractions, you can hear it more clearly. Take the time each day to connect with your Self. You have this wise inner voice. Ask it questions and feel the deep knowing of the answers it provides. Through connecting to your intuition and knowing that you have all the answers within you, will provide a deep and lasting peace, and that is happiness for real.
Anne Deidre is the author of Extreme Intuitive Makeover~55 Keys to Health, Wealth, and Happiness, and is an artist, healer and intuitive life coach. She helps build success in every area of your life with her Intuitive Makeovers. Anne is also the host of her own TV show, The Intuitive Millionaire Coach Show. Please visit her website and receive a free 21 Day Intuitive Makeover at www.annedeidre.com (or buy her book!)
PS – Painting above is by Anne Deidre too!
Happiness starts with self-love. I have found the more we love ourselves, and truly embrace ourselves as the perfect, whole and creative beings we are – others will return that love. It was an “Ah-ha” moment for me when I realized that everyone in my life is merely a mirror of my consciousness. They can only be as loving, respectful and good to me as I am to myself. I know this may sound like metaphysical “woo-woo” but trust me it is real.
Think about your own life. When you weren’t being so kind to yourself – perhaps you were “beating yourself up” for a mistake rather than forgiving yourself, or thinking “I am not good enough” for something rather than seeing your true worth, I bet others didn’t treat you so good either. I have discovered they are merely reflecting back to us how we feel.
The good news is about this insight is that we can learn to love ourselves more, accept ourselves fully (human imperfections and all) and practice more self-love on our path to a happier life. As I have personally learned to take much better care of myself, people treat me better, and as I accept myself unconditionally – others do that too.
So here are my 3 Simple Suggestions to begin a lifelong practice of self-love:
• Love Yourself – I know so many of us lead busy lives but I have found the more we do something just for us each day – the better our lives get. It may be a short meditation, morning prayer, pedicure, massage, golf outing or lunch with friends – what it is doesn’t matter as much as it feeds your soul, recharges you and helps you remember yourself as the great person you are. (Shopping to look good counts too – whether it’s Bloomingdales or a great consignment store, it all counts!)
One book that I have also loved that really underscored this point was Cheryl Richardson’s, Take Time for Your Life, and also I love Louise Hay’s book, I Can Do It (with audio for the car).
• Get Inspired – Over the years, I have learned that if I connect with the people, places and things that inspire me — I can overcome challenges, and love myself more. Just yesterday, I was listening to Rose Rock, author of Mama Rocks Rules, speak about how to overcome challenges and raise positive and productive kids today (She is mother of 10 children, and 17 foster children — including Chris Rock). I was particularly touched when she told us: “Blessings are only good when you pass them on.”
So do something that inspires you and your greatness. It may be going for a walk in nature, feeding the birds in your backyard or listening to a truly empowering song – whatever it is fill yourself up with “something greater” and also pass it on.
• Express Yourself – With all of this radical self-care, and inspiration — creative expression so clearly comes next. I know that within everyone there are gifts to be given to this world whether it is making a wonderful key lime pie (YUM!), creating a wonderful garden patch, being a Professor of mathematics or painting a masterpiece. The list of possibilities is endless.
One thing I know for sure is the more time we give ourselves to create, express our unique talents and really give to the world what is ours to give — we feel happier, and are learning to love every part of ourselves!
By Maureen Healy
Maureen Healy is an author, speaker, and expert on the topic of happiness. Her latest book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, is available wherever books are sold. She also writes for Psychology Today and PBS. More info: www.growinghappykids.com and @mdhealy