“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”― Charlotte Brontë
This is part-1 of the two part series on how to find your center of happiness!
What are some ways to rediscover your center of happiness?
Happiness is a highly charged topic these days. Everyone and everything is promising to make you happy.
Are there a few simple tweaks and action steps that will enhance the quality of life and make you rediscover happiness amidst all the chaos and uncertainty?
Here are a few ideas that might be of use.
1. Embrace Your Awesomeness
“love the life you live. live the life you love.” ― Bob Marley
Gratitude and appreciation are wonderful habits to have and greatly enhance the quality of your life.
But the question that you may need to ask yourself is whether your appreciation is always directed outwards at others or things?
Do you take a few minutes to appreciate your own magnificence and awesomeness?
This may sound a bit self-centered as a concept but as a practice, it is far from that.
The truth is that unless you embrace and feel your own light on a continual basis, it may become very difficult for you to find happiness and light on the outside.
Embrace and affirm your awesomeness today, and bring all aspects of the process-beliefs, thoughts, feelings, actions on the same page or towards self love and appreciation. We know from scientific research that affirmations do really work.
Take a few moments to appreciate and love yourself and list why you think that you are awesome.
Get the major players- beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions in consonance or agreement on your newly affirmed “awesomeness” and deep self-appreciation.
2. Step Into The Main Role In Life And Not Just As A Spectator
“If you are not the hero of your own story, then you’re missing the whole point of your humanity.”― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
Do you feel like you are merely a spectator in your life while life is happening to you?
Do you feel like you would like to do something differently and get different results?
Do you hear about your friends or relatives relate stories of fun experiences or post pictures on social media that make you crave for similar experiences.
Here is a small shift to make you instantly happy. Shut down the input from others on how great their life is and begin living your life the way you mean to live it.
Instead of getting bummed about why your life is not working out as opposed to someone else’s, jump right into your own life and begin having some of those experiences yourself.
Compare life to a stage and step into the lead role of the protagonist. Refuse to be pushed to the sidelines by more alpha people in your life. By realizing what you would like to do and experience and making that happen puts you in the lead role in your own life.
The key is to define and determine what is important for you and makes YOU happy and not just do something because everyone else is doing it.
An interesting question to ask is from Rumeet Billon’s TEDx talk where she asks the question:
“If you had the opportunity to write your own story, what will it be?”
How would you want your story to unfold?
Become the lead actress or actor of your own life.
Define how you would like your story to be told and experienced and then go live it instead of feeling bad that others are having all the fun.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein
3. Form Great Relationships, Actively Seek Assistance And Delegate
“The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.” –Blaine Lee
Are your major relationships supportive of your life’s work or are they consistently pulling you down and making you miserable?
Do you feel like you find it difficult to trust people or are you able to trust people relatively easily and form deep connections?
There is research indicating the benefit of forming deep, meaningful social connections. When you do not feel alone, you are much more likely to feel more personal happiness and follow through with ideas and projects that you have always wanted to do.
Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset describes the growth vs. the fixed mindset in detail. People who grapple with the fixed mindset are less likely to seek assistance and grow into something better.
Another shift that causes you to take on less and do the things that really matter is the art of delegation. You may not be comfortable delegating work to others and may seek to do everything yourself. But this is a lose-lose situation.
Form and nourish deep and meaningful connections with others that matter in your life.
Be unafraid to seek assistance and do not hesitate to delegate the unimportant stuff so that you can focus on the important things.
4. Listen With All Your Heart And Do Not Jump In To Speak
“We have two ears and only one tongue in order that we may hear more and speak less.” ― Diogenes Laertius
We are so eager to speak sometimes that we do not even listen to what the other person is saying.
Do you listen with all your attention instead of jumping in and trying to fix the problem whenever possible? The truth is that real heartfelt listeners are few and far between and people just want you to listen to them and make them feel approved instead of offering your opinion.
Another problem to not listening properly is that it makes you miss important information and makes the other feel unsupported.
You will see that listening makes you feel much more relaxed and the rapport you develop with others is bound to make you feel great.
“The unexpected action of deep listening can create a space of transformation capable of shattering complacency and despair.” ― Terry Tempest Williams
Listen with all your heart. Listen with all your being…deep listen.
Listen as if the other person really matters.
Listen like you really mean it.
Take a break and relax into the opinions and value that others provide you.
5. Be Supportive Of The Dreams And Goals Of Others
“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all.”― Deborah Day
You may think that happiness depends on what others do for you or how you are being accepted in your circle of friends.
But the question you may need to ask is that how much support and encouragement are you giving to others.
Are you actively taking enthusiastic interest in the dreams and goals of other people and finding little ways to support and uplift them?
The joy and happiness that you receive back by the genuine thank you from someone who you have made a difference to is priceless.
You will be surprised that even a little smile or a genuine compliment can make a mountain of difference in someone else’s life. In particular, if they are looking for a little glimmer of happiness and hope in their own life.
I read somewhere on a poster long before: “attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?”
Remove excessive focus on yourself and shift the spotlight on others.
Assist others to achieve their goals, even if it is in small but meaningful ways.
6. Be Open To Receiving Joy, Happiness, Love and Admiration
“While the Giver archetype is celebrated in our culture, the Receiver is almost wholly unknown. The result? Busyness is a virtue.” ― Amanda Owen, The Power of Receiving: A Revolutionary Approach to Giving Yourself the Life You Want and Deserve
This is a very huge one. A lot of people make it a habit to deflect any praise or joy bestowed upon them. Have you met the people who no matter what you say always find a way to not graciously accept the kind words that you tell them?
In essence, these people are communicating that they do not feel worthy to receive and accept the praise and joy and find it a safer and more acceptable option to block and reflect it. And then they complain that no one cares and there is no joy to go around.
People are of the opinion that if they become too joyous and happy, something will befall them and they will end up falling from that space of happiness.
A lot of people have the upper limit problem as described by Gay Hendricks in his book: The BIG leap.
As you approach the limit that you have set over the years as your limit for success and happiness, you sabotage it by feeling anxious, stressed and deflecting the joy of the moment.
Receive Joy, Love and Praise openly and graciously.
Instead of deflecting and not feeling worthy, bask in the warmth of praise.
It is ok to feel deep and lasting joy, peace and love.
7. Love Others…Unconditionally
“Even After All this time The Sun never says to the Earth, ”You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that, It lights the whole sky.” – Hafiz
This is a very simple yet very profound thing to keep close to your heart.
When you act from the vantage point of unconditional love, you are usually not wrong. There is something unquestionable powerful and graceful in loving others with a fierce but non-judgmental standpoint.
When you attach too many conditions and terms and dole out your love in little hesitant chunks, the only person you are attempting to satisfy is the unquenching self-ego. Now there is nothing wrong with some ego tending or self-care or self-interest.
But when you tell others and make them feel like your love depends on their behavior and actions, you will eventually make them resentful and guarded. Too much attachment can only make you unhappy because the outcome is never controllable.
Choose love in your daily work. Even better, allow unconditional love to touch the hearts of others and set you and the recipients of your love truly free. Smell the fresh air of unconditional love.
Choose to love others but attach few if any condition on that love.
When you make it an action of giving love, love will return back to you in great abundance.
8. Great Things Are Possible For You… Expect The Very Best And Lower Those Unrealistic Expectations
“You see what you expect to see, Severus.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
When you expect nothing but the very best, you end up engaging and meeting excellence. If you set your goals and targets too low, you will also end up meeting them.
The key here is to have an expectation that does not attach itself too strongly to a certain perfect way or result. You have to give yourself the room to wiggle and to improvise.
Sometimes, you may even do better than your expectations but if you are too attached to a particular result, you will not see the other possibilities and dismiss them.
And it is key to understand where to drop expectations and when things become unrealistic.
This is a very paradoxical idea to wrap your mind around but here is a formula:
Expect Excellence and the very best + Lower Unrealistic Expectations + Release Excessive attachment and fondness to a particular result = Ripe open field of possibility!
Aim for the sky but enjoy the ride!
9. Let Go Of Unnecessary Resistance And What You Cannot Always Control
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”― Bruce Lee
Control and Personal Power are two psychological aspects that always resurface in people’s lives and based on where your register is set for them, you will experience happiness or misery.
Many of our problems come along when we attempt to control things that are clearly beyond our realm of control and influence but we are unable to let go.
Whenever the quest for control and personal power become excessive and unfavorable to others, you will experience relational problems in your life.
The solution is to allow flow and movement downstream. Whenever you have resistance emerge in your thoughts and in your body as a knotty feeling, you may find it beneficial to redirect and reframe your thoughts and feelings to include empathy and compassion.
Don’t hyperfixate on things you have little control over and focus on meaningful action and engagement and step aside when you need to.
Practice silence, meditation and spending time in nature to release anxiety over control and power issues.
Understand where your sphere of control and influence lies and act and engage in that realm.
Become acutely aware of your excessive control in the sphere that is beyond your control and do not linger with the stories that associate with it. Let it be and let it go and feel the peace and happiness permeate your being as light.
10. Hope and Optimism Are Powerful Forces And Great Vessels Of Deep And Intrinsic Happiness
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.” ― Emily Dickinson
In a recent commencement talk to Tulane University, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama spoke of the importance of maintaining hope and the lack of hope as being a very difficult situation.
In his own words:
“I believe the very purpose of life is happy life – happiness. For the simple reason – our existence is very much based upon hope. No guarantee that our future is something good, but we simply exist on hope. Hope means something good, something better. Therefore, once lost hope and completely demoralized, that mental attitude itself shortens your life, hurts your physical life, and then things become difficult. Despite difficulties, always keep optimism. ‘I can overcome these difficulties.’ That mental attitude itself will bring inner strength and self-confidence.”
In a study by Avey and Palmer titled “Impact of Positive Psychological Capital on Employee Well-Being Over Time,” the authors shown that PsyCap or the positive psychological resources of efficacy, hope, optimism and resilience were related to employee PWB or Positive Well Being in the work place.
I believe that well-being, hope, optimism and happiness are related and depend on each other for sustenance. However, this is not false hope in attaining a particular goal but a general attitude of hope that allows for different outcomes and leaves room for maneuverability.
Transform an attitude of hopelessness to HOPE.
Reframe pessimistic ideas and thoughts into optimistic questions.
Ask: What if this is really possible?
Here is Part 2 of this post.
Now over to you! Let me know in the comments below if this post resonated with you and how you find your center of happiness?
Adapted Photo Credit: Graham via Flickr