The Search for Happiness

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What is happiness?  Is it just an emotion or a state of mind?  Does it lie within your control or does something or someone else control your happiness?

To answer these questions, you must first determine what happiness means to you.  Does it mean having the high paying job, the perfect husband or wife, or the big house?  Does it mean starting your own business, giving back to the community, being a parent or just being healthy?  Finding out how you relate to happiness, will help you define its meaning.

I have learned that happiness is a state of mind.  You can choose to be happy or choose not to be happy.  When you wake up in the morning, you can be thankful for seeing another day or grouchy because it is gloomy and rainy.  In this case, happiness is not determined by the weather but in how you perceive the weather.  The weather will always be.  It is something that we cannot control.  Therefore, why let it control how you are feeling?

I know this may sound simple – in fact, to simple.  However, when you stop and think about it, it should be simple.  If you choose to be happy regardless of your circumstances, you can be happy.

Many people think they need something or someone to make them happy.  Well, that is not necessarily true.  Nothing and certainly no one should have that much control over you.  When you put your happiness in someone else, you will inevitably be disappointed.  Reason being, people are imperfect.  How can something as important as your happiness be left to a person other than you?  Sure, people can add to your happiness or do things that make you feel better.  Yet, they cannot be your sole reason for being happy.  If they are, then you will never truly be happy.

Stop trying to find things or people to make you happy.  The power is already inside of you.  Speak things into being.  Remember words have power.  Everything that you need to be happy is inside of you.  Stop searching.  Stop pursuing happiness.  Just let happiness be…be your state of mind.

The Vulnerability Veil

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I often think about how much of my true self I should let others see.  Should I share my real thoughts, my honest thoughts?  Will people like them or even understand them?  Do I want them to know who I really am?  Would they really like me, if they got to know the “real” me?

I believe these questions run through people’s minds every day.  I think most people want to be accepted.  Yet they do not want to expose themselves for fear of being rejected.  It is scary to put one’s self out there and abandon all inhibitions. 

However, irony comes into play because as we are trying to be accepted, we are showing less of our true self.  We become insecure.  To mask our fear we become the funny one, the perfectionist, the yes man or woman and unfortunately sometimes the bully.  We seek out in others what we lack in ourselves – meaning the imperfect one portrays the perfectionist, the insecure one plays the bully, etc.  It is easier to put the focus on someone’s failures, bad habits, fear, and weakness then to address our own by calling attention to ourselves.  It is easy to gossip about what so and so is wearing (or not wearing) or what she is doing than to admit we have the same or similar issue.

Yet if we just open up we can learn that from failures, come success – that from adversity, comes character – that from openness, comes creativity.  So many people think that if they wear the right clothes, or drive the right car or have enough money, they will be seen.  They will be accepted.  However, what would they be seeing? 

In order to be seen, you have to put yourself out there.  You have to be vulnerable.  I heard someone once say that vulnerability is the most accurate measure of courage.  Now that does not automatically mean that everyone gets the right to  know your intimate thoughts and beliefs.  I am not saying be naive.  People have to earn your trust and the right to know your story – to know you. 

The dictionary defines vulnerability as susceptible to physical or emotional injury.  Yet it is required to gain insight to your emotional self.  Many call vulnerability a weakness, but as an optimist, I call it strength.  Reason being, it is more difficult to expose yourself to others’ judgment than it is to accept their judgment of you.  To know your true self and be comfortable with it is more valuable than what anyone else thinks of you.  Lift up the veil from vulnerability so the world can meet the real you!

 

 

Are You Able to Forgive?

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Are you walking around angry with someone and just not dealing with it?  By not speaking to them, are you really not dealing with it?  Every day you may be thinking about it.  Every day it is festering inside of you.  Then when you see the person, the feelings surface again.  Therefore, you may THINK that you are pushing it to the side.  You may THINK by not talking to that person that you are not dealing with it.  However, by making that decision that is how you are choosing to deal with the situation. 

I know it is much harder to just speak nicely to that person, say hi, or smile.  Nonetheless, this is something that you must do.  At first, when you smile you may not mean it and that is okay.  Yet the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  Then before you know it all that angst, anger, and resentment is gone.  Then you feel so much better.  The first time I put this practice in place, I was amazed how good I felt afterwards.  I felt so much better, by letting it go, truly letting it go.  My soul was renewed and refreshed.  By forgiving that person, you are forgiving yourself.  Besides that person may not even know they have wronged you.  However, you are all upset and for what?  For nothing.  They are living their life not thinking about you.  So why are you thinking about them?  Let it go.

For example, you do not know that person that cut you off while driving.  Nevertheless, you get angry and may start calling them names, etc.  Then you go to work and tell somebody about it and get all worked up again.  You do not even know who that person is!  This is such wasted energy.  Your time is too valuable to be spent on such insignificant conversations.  In addition, your health is affected and can manifest in headaches or high blood pressure.  

Just sit back for a minute and look at the situation.  Is all the ill will worth it?  Do you feel better by talking badly about someone?  On the other hand, are you causing stress on your body?  Is your blood pressure rising?  Are you defaming someone’s character?  Don’t you know that words can kill…literally?  They cannot only kill you but they can kill others.  We read all too often about kids committing suicide due to cyber bullying.  My first post was about the power of words.  We have such power and do not even realize or comprehend it.

You have to realize that what you portray outwardly, affects you internally.  Perhaps it is human nature to be upset for that moment in time.  However, this is when we need to learn to control our emotion – to be in control of who we are and of our life.  To make our life abundant and healthy, we must learn to forgive.  Numerous things that go wrong in our lives are a result of us not being able to forgive.  People often-go crazy and become obsessed because they cannot forgive.  While it is not always an easy thing to do, it is a skill that can be acquired and one that definitely needs to be practiced.  Once you are able to do it, it is a blessing.  It is a blessing to you and the people around you because it begets a good-natured spirit and a healthy life.    

Please understand if you cannot forgive someone else, then you cannot receive your blessing.  You see, you are blessed so that you can be a blessing to someone else.  Therefore, learn to forgive so you can receive your gift and your blessing and be the person that you were meant to be!

Are You Living in the Moment?

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Do you rush from day to day or week to week?  When it’s Wednesday are you thinking, “Oh, it’s two more days until Friday!”

Why are you rushing and wishing your days away?  What is the hurry?  What are you doing with your life that prevents you from taking the time to breathe?

We are given a gift everyday…to start anew, to be refreshed, to inspire someone, to encourage someone, to live to our full potential, to be a blessing in someone’s life, and to learn.

We were put here for a purpose – not to waste our time, not to hurry our time, but to live in our time.  Many of us worry because we are thinking about the next hour, the next day, the next week or the next month.  Moreover, we do not really appreciate what we have right now.  As this minute goes by, we will never have it again.  We will never be able to live this moment again.

Think of all the minutes you have wasted.  All the time you have spent on needless worry or things out of your control.  Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.  Therefore, the future is a gift.  So live in the present.

Enjoy life.  Think of it as your favorite ride at an amusement park.  It could be from when you were a kid or even now.  Remember the excitement you had and that you never wanted it to end.  If you were like me, you always thought the ride was too short.  Well, the only difference between that ride and your life is that you only get to stand in line once – you only get one ride.

Therefore, if you knew this was your last ride and you could never ride again, would you act differently?  Would you savor each moment while you were on the ride?  Would you take in the view if you were up high and try to remember it all?

Now you may be saying life is much more complex than an amusement park ride.  However, is it?  Life is what you make it.  What you create in each moment is uniquely yours.  Every minute you are creating and enhancing your ride, your journey.

Therefore, why would you ever want to rush your favorite ride before it was over?  When you think about it that way, it does not make sense to rush from minute to minute.  Slow down, watch the sunrise, read a book to your child, call your mother, talk with your best friend (not text), take a walk with your significant other or take a yoga class.

Whatever you do, be present.  Do not miss the beauty of your life.  Live in the moment and you will stop wishing for tomorrow.

What is Your Purpose?

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Have you ever felt like you were missing something?  Do you wake up each day and desire more in your life?  Is that voice inside telling you that you were made for something other than what you are doing?

We all have heard people say, “We all have a gift or a purpose.”  You may believe that or choose not to believe it.  However, if you sometimes feel like you could be doing something more with your life, then you probably have not reached your full potential.  You have not realized your purpose.

Many people may recognize their talent or gift but are afraid to act upon it.  They do not realize that their gift was meant to be shared and not hidden.  The dictionary defines a gift as something given willingly to someone without payment, a present.  When you know your purpose, your focus is singular.  The path is clear and your spirit and mind are aligned. 

Now that is not to say that the way or path is easy.  As we know, nothing worth having in life comes easily.  We are constantly confronted with obstacles like fear.  Fear can be debilitating.  Fear can cause you to give up your dream.  Fear can keep you from becoming your true self.  However, you must know that fear is self generated.  We let it in when we doubt, worry, or procrastinate.  

If you understand nothing else in your life, you must understand your true self.  Our purposeful life begins when we realize who we are, why we are here and what we must do.  Some of us realize our purpose as children others as adults.  However, when you acknowledge your purpose is not important.  It is when you discover that purpose that is significant. 

Do not let another day go by without moving toward your purpose.  I heard someone once say, “To become ourselves is the challenge of adversity”.  Simply put, we are the ones standing in the way of us fulfilling our purpose. 

Let go…and become who you were meant to be.

If You Had a “Do Over” Button, Would You Use It?

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Often times we do something or make a mistake and wish we could do it over.  How many times have you said something and as the words were leaving your mouth, you already wish you could take them back?  How easy life would be if we had a “Do Over” button…

We would never make any mistakes.  There would never be any “accidents”.  We would always get 100% on tests and quizzes.  We would never offend anyone.  We would always be on time…or late depending on where you were going.

For most tense and purposes, things would always go smoothly for you.  But what would you learn?  How to be a “perfectionist”?  What struggle would you go through?  What kind of character would you build?  How would the people around you treat you…a perfectionist?  Would they view your perfection as “annoying” or would they see you as you would see yourself?  Would you be happy?

Life is not easy for a reason.  We all need to grow and learn.  That is why we do not come out of our mother’s womb as an adult.  That is why everyday is not filled with sunshine.    We need it to rain in order for us to appreciate the sunshine.  We need to fall, so we know how to get back up.  We need to crawl before we walk. 

We would not be who we are today if we could just erase everything that was not “perfect” in our lives.  If we could just “Do Over”, when would our real life begin?  Would we even be living or would we just be reacting?

Life is not meant to be perfect, it is meant to be lived – lived and learned.  Everything that I have done in my life has made me who I am today.  So if I had a “Do Over” button, I would not use it.  Would you? 

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