What makes you happy? I mean really happy, the kind that keeps you content through life’s ups and downs. I used to think that when I had more money to buy the stuff I wanted I’d be happy. But when I got more, it didn’t change anything on the inside so I continued to be unhappy. Sometimes happiness can elude us if we have no road map to find it or tools to develop it.
When you finally go out to buy that product you’ve seen touted in magazine ads and TV commercials, or perhaps a friend has also recommended it, you actually go buy it because – or so our marketers tell us – you’ve seen it or heard about it a minimum of nine times. It’s a bit like that when you decide to make changes in your life: you may see the value of doing so when you read an article or a friend tells you, but very possibly you don’t in fact do so until you’ve heard or read about it quite a few times. That is why today I am writing yet another article about happiness … the elusiveness of happiness.
Here are some of the main ingredients you will need in order to change your life from continually pursuing happiness and not reaching it, to a life where happiness simply is:
Loving Yourself: This is essential. Without this, nothing else will fall into place. And please, it’s not about taking long baths with scented candles scattered around the tub (although that is a great thing to do). What loving yourself is about is the recognition that while you are not in a place of good inner well-being, you are neglecting to do something that shows you that you love yourself. It means that you can choose to take yourself to a better inner place at all times, no matter what the circumstances.
Developing Good Boundaries: This is also essential. How can you possibly be happy as long as your boundaries continue to be transgressed by others? How can you possibly be happy as long as you allow your boundaries to continue to be transgressed by others? Working on having good boundaries shows the inner self that you love it. So this one goes hand in hand with the first point.
Being Responsible for Yourself: So often people tell me they hate this. If you become responsible for yourself, you can no longer blame anyone or anything. Your external circumstances – no matter how apparently difficult they are – do not mean that you should blame them for how terrible you feel. How you feel is your responsibility. Full stop. What you do – at all times – is your responsibility. How you react – always- is your responsibility. No matter what.
Making Healthy Choices: Guess what? This one is also essential and goes 100% hand-in-hand with the previous one. As long as you make choices that do not benefit you, you haven’t much hope of finding that elusive quality you are searching for: happiness. So here’s what that means: understand that at every moment of every day you are making choices (even if you choose not to make one). Those choices compose the sum total of your days, your weeks, and hence your life. So it is entirely up to you to make choices about everything that is going on that benefit you. If you find yourself in a terrible bind; a really challenging place, you can choose your thoughts about this challenge. You can choose where those thoughts go and hence you have a hand in deciding how you feel thanks to the thoughts you have chosen. And remember: you always have a choice!
Forgiving: Bet you don’t like that one. But here’s the thing: if you don’t forgive, happiness will absolutely elude you. If you don’t forgive, you’ll continue to vibrate to past pain. It will eat at you – perhaps only every so often when you think of the past event – but it will corrode your happiness as surely as acid destroys metal. Deciding to forgive; choosing to forgive, is elementary to happiness. Forgiving does not mean condoning. It does not mean you have to love or hug that person that did whatever it was to you. It also doesn’t mean that you have to have any kind of relationship with that person at all. You need not even let that person know that you have forgiven him or her. But forgiving him or her is one of the tasks you’ve set yourself in this life. Without it, your happiness will never be more than partial and temporary.
Being Aware: None of the above will work without awareness. So in fact, all of these elements are so intertwined, that by working on one you will also run face-to-face into the others. Leaving one out signifies that the work you do on the others is incomplete. Being aware means first and foremost standing in an engaged relationship with yourself. It means paying attention to what you’re thinking and feeling. It means choosing to make better choices by taking more responsibility for yourself and loving yourself in ways that show you that you love yourself. You’ll know when you’re doing it because you will feel so good inside, even if just for a moment. Even your body will give confirmation of that fact by how it momentarily feels.
There are also many articles directly about the subject of happiness both on my blog and on my website with much more information. Remember: it’s up to you whether you are happy, not your circumstances.
Dr. Kortsch is also an author and professional speaker and broadcasts a live weekly radio show in English that is available on the Internet or for listening on her website, and has appeared in numerous television programs in English and Spanish. She helps clients move towards greater personal and relationship success with her integral approach to life and offers training and workshops in the field of self-development and choosing responsibility for the self. Visit Advanced Personal Therapy.com and sign up for her cutting-edge newsletter in English or Spanish, or visit her blog for more timely articles.
Take the 31 Days of Self-Love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.
Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected.