Happiness is ….

“…Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth… Clap along if you know what happiness is to you… Clap along if you feel like that’s what you want to do.”

Love the song Happy by Pharrell Williams! We dance to it pretty well every morning at our house. You can’t help but feel happy when you dance to that song. Do you know what happiness is to you is also a great question. I used to think I knew but found out it wasn’t true.

The tendency is to look outside of ourselves for happiness. I’ll be happy when I lose 10 lbs. I’ll be happy when I get my next promotion. I’ll be happy when I meet my soulmate. I’ll be happy when I have my dream house or dream car. I’ll be happy when…… We put our happiness on hold, waiting for some future condition or event, until we have something that we don’t currently have. When I was single, I thought that I would be so happy when I got married and had kids. Prior to that, it was achieving my goals that I felt held my happiness. So when I achieved my goals, got married and had children, I was confused about why I still had moments of sadness or feeling lack and still not being good enough.

We tend to look outside of ourselves and put off our happiness into the future instead of understanding that happiness comes from within us. It isn’t dependent on external things or circumstances. We can be happy right now in the present if we choose to be. Committing to being happy and then doing the internal work that will help us get there is the key. It doesn’t mean that we won’t feel other emotions along the way. We absolutely will but the commitment to being happy will pull us forward in spite of feeling “negative” emotions.

What does that look like? If being happy means forgiving a grudge, do it. If it means letting go of always being right, do it. Maybe it means giving up the too high expectations and judgements you have of yourself and others or stopping trying to please everyone and ignoring your own desires. Perhaps happiness is in slowing down and catching your breath or giving up your huge list of household chores for the day and playing full out with your kids/partner/friend instead. Being the first to apologize (that’s a big one for me!) or allowing yourself to fully feel your emotions instead of stuffing them down and ignoring them may create your moments of happiness.

We create our own unhappiness and struggles by holding on to beliefs, thoughts, feelings and habits that are resisting reality. The crazy thing is, these beliefs and thoughts are often not even true and yet they are causing how we feel and how we act or not act as the case may be. I held on to the belief that I wasn’t good enough despite all the great things that were happening in my life. It caused me to feel unworthy, unloveable, unsupported and affected my actions – serial achieving trying to fill that void in me. I had held onto the belief at a subconscious level and it wasn’t until I was aware of it that I was able to change it. Having awareness and accepting what is happening instead of fighting against it is really important. Then you can ask yourself what you can do, what you do have control of to move towards what you want instead.

What can you change or let go of that will increase your happiness today?

and dance it up!

 

What I Have in Common with a Heroin Addict

I was watching Oprah’s Prime Special on Heroin Addiction a few weeks ago, (can you tell I love watching Oprah yet?) and I had a huge AHA moment. She was interviewing Russell Brand and what he said struck me at my core. Now before I let you in on my AHA moment, I want to be clear that I have no idea what it is like to be a heroin addict. I don’t pretend to understand what it is like but what he said gave me a glimpse into that world and instead of seeing drug addicts as being very different and separate from myself, I now feel a sense of connection.

Here is what Russell said: ” Addicts are sensitive people who are aware that there is a spiritual deficit in our society, that we aren’t connected enough to one another. If there isn’t a conduit for spiritual loss, then you will use drugs because you can’t live with that feeling.” He continues to say that we live in a culture that constantly stimulates the idea that there is something missing in you, like you might feel better if you get a new pair of shoes, or you find your soul mate. Heroin fills that void temporarily. It annihilates all need for anything else. One addict described the heroin high as “God kissing you”.

Russell said that the reasons he did drugs in the past weren’t for indulgent reasons, it was to numb the despondency, loss, hopeless and despair he felt. He looked to solve his internal problems with external things. Does that sound familiar to you? It struck a chord with me because I tried to fill the hole in me with serial achieving and at one point, clothes shopping, trying to make myself feel better and that I was good enough. I didn’t go down the path of drugs. I went down a different path but the underlying reason for the behaviour of looking outside of ourselves for the answer, for the cure, the external thing that will make us feel whole and connected, is the same. Russell also said that addicts relapse if they don’t deal with their emotional problems, their inner gremlins and fill that inner spiritual void. I can definitely see that. The answers we seek are always inside of us. It is just finding our way to them that we struggle with. I would likely still be serial achieving and striving if I hadn’t connected with my true self and started listening to my intuition. I would also still be judging and condemning myself instead of loving and accepting myself. Now I am so fortunate to be helping people connect with their true selves and helping them feel whole instead of empty or broken in some way.

We all just want to feel accepted, loved and connected. I agree with Russell when he said that we should be treating addicts with love and compassion instead of judging them and treating them like criminals by throwing them in jail. The punishment route doesn’t appear to be working so why are we continuing to address the problem in the same way? The root of the problem, feeling alone, not worthy, or important is an issue that is running rampant in our society. The symptoms just look different – drug addiction, alcoholism, over-eating, shopaholism, serial achieving, people pleasing, etc. Please understand that I am not trying in any way to diminish the seriousness of addiction by comparing it to other behaviours. I am only seeking to point out what the similar feelings and beliefs are that are driving those behaviours.

Ask yourself if you are looking outside of yourself for answers in areas of your life? If you are, how does it make you feel? Do you want to change that? How do you want to feel instead? If so, what can you do? If you are having trouble finding those answers within you, I would be happy to assist you in connecting with them. Visit my contact page here and reach out to me.

Be well and know that there is nothing missing or broken in you even if you feel that way. That I know for sure!