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.
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