"I want to be happy 24/7", he said.
I thought he was crazy.
And then I saw what he did to try to be happy 24/7: He bulldozed his way through the happiness of others to get what he wanted. He tore people down. He took everything they had to give, but gave nothing back. He constantly scrambled to look and feel significant. Yet, all I saw in his eyes were pain, desperation and tears.
Then one day, he asked me: "Why do people treat me the way they do?". I had the answer to his question, but I knew it wouldn't do him any good. By then, I'd stopped feeling sorry for him.
At that very moment, I realized that he was crazy. I also realized that happiness wasn't all that difficult to grasp — all I had to do was walk in the opposite direction, away from him and never look back. All I had to do to be happy was to let go.
All you have to do to be happy is to let go.
1. Let go of the excuses that are keeping you stuck.
Every single day, you're talking yourself out of taking that first step, or even the next one that will get you to where you want to go.
With every excuse you make, you lose an opportunity to make your life better and yourself, happier.
2. Let go of your shame.
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone fails. Everyone hurts others. All of these things inevitably lead us to feel shame around what we've done.
But there is one thing that differentiates happy people from the ones who are sad, and it's this: The ability to reflect on their failures and mistakes, learn from them and move on knowing that they owe themselves and the people around them the opportunity to become better, smarter and less hurtful.
Shame has a place in your life, but it's not meant to shackle you down.
3. Let go of your fear of growing old.
The process of growing old is frightening and filled with uncertainty. Your looks fade, your hair thins, your memory fails, and your body develops illnesses that may or may not be cured, as well as kinks that may or may not be fixed.
But with these trade-offs come immeasurable gifts that make your life and living so valuable: Knowledge, wisdom, experiences, clarity and empathy. This means that the longer you live, and as long as you keep trying to improve, the more you'll have to offer as a human being.
Aim to stop growing old in fear, and start growing old with grace.
4. Let go of crappy people.
Happy people know that who they surround themselves with can mean the difference between a joyful life and a miserable one.
The problem with spending time with the complainers, manipulators and unaware is that other than thinking that it's OK to be like them, you'll also be allowing them to steal your happiness with their crappy behavior.
Take a good look around you: Who are you spending the most time with and what can you do to spend more of it with people who aren't bad for you (and others)?
5. Let go of eating compulsively to cope with life.
Happy people love to eat, but they also have boundaries with the food in their life.
Yes, they may occasionally go overboard at parties or on a Friday night out, but they know how to recalibrate their relationship with food and find their way back to balance by listening to their body. They also know how to cope with the stresses in their life without using food (or other addictive substances) in a way that harms their body and well-being.
The next time feel like digging into that tub of ice-cream when you're feeling down, ask yourself this question: "What's triggering me to eat for comfort and how can I deal with it in a healthier way?"
6. Let go of defining yourself by what you have.
So you have the 6-figure salary, expensive car, penthouse and designer wardrobe, but still...something's missing.
You're not happy.
Maybe you need a better, more expensive car. And another house. Maybe then, you'll feel 'complete' and get the respect you deserve. But one day, as you sit drowning in all the stuff you bought over the years but never use, you realise that wearing all these things as your identity has left you feeling emptier than ever.
What if you could feel happy, whole and free without all this material, mental and emotional clutter in your life? How would you live then?
7. Let go of not being present.
Every second you experience is already gone.
This means that every minute you spend worrying, staring at your phone, being in denial or being 'away' from what your body is experiencing is time that's slipping away without you fully experiencing life and the gift or lesson that comes attached to the moment you're in. It means missing out the warm smile that came your way, the beautiful sunset happening right in front of you, or the precious realization that something's not right for you so you can stop wasting your time and move on.
Come back down to earth and choose to be where you are right now for as long as you can, because you won't be here for long.
If you’re too busy surviving, chances are, you’re not thriving. You’re feeling tired, unhealthy, unmotivated and just plain worn-out from life. I created my FREE Daily Self-Care Ritual Workbook just for busy folks like you who want to take back their health, peace of mind and happiness. Get your very own copy of the workbook HERE. No spam. Just helpful, good-for-you stuff.