Are you happy?
You know the "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" kind of happy. Happy thoughts. Happy life. Happy you. That may seem like a tall order, right? Why is it that happiness seems to come and go, is saved for special occasions -- and often alludes us all together? Maybe it's because we are looking for love in all the wrong places -- and I'm talking self-love to start. If only we could add it to our Amazon shopping carts and with one click, done, a box of happy would arrive at our doorstep. Guess what? I know I'm being a little silly here, but it kind of is that simple.
Even when I first typed the words, Are you happy, I had to take pause. A voice inside my head answered, Yes, for the most part -- but then the, I'd be happier if or when's rolled in. It only reaffirmed that I needed to write this blog -- and that I needed to do some truth-telling.
• Are you happy?
• What makes you happy?
• Do you need certain stars to align in order to be happy?
• What sucks the happy right out of you?
• If you're not happy, why?
• If you know what makes you happy -- do more of that
• Create the circumstances and situations that support your happy
• Reevaluate your relationship to the things that suck your happy from you - do less of them
The amazing thing is that as simple as all of the above may seem, the majority of us aren't keeping those lists in check -- and we've got an arsenal of excuses to support why we can't have what we desire. Hello?
Have you ever watched a dog chase its own tail? That's kind of what it looks like. I really want to be happy, but I'm going to do nothing to support it and see what happens.
I have conversations with people all the time who are in relationships (love and friendship) that pull them down, jobs that deplete them and health situations that don't support their wellness -- believing things can't change. Look, we all get stuck. But know this: Anything can change when you have a willingness to shift gears from fear to faith.
Happy is not wrapped up in a future destination, it's in the here and now. You don't have to rush out to find a guru, head off to a retreat or do anything other than settle back into yourself. This is an inside job. I think one of the main reasons we just can't quite hold onto 'happy' is because of the paths we are choosing to get there.
Think about how often we work to achieve a goal, let's say in our professional lives -- and then upon achieving that goal our head is already onto the next pursuit. We're always one step ahead, missing the celebratory ride in between.
How often do we give our power away to others? It's as if we hand them the remote control to our emotions and say, So, how are you going to make me happy today? Ridiculous, but true. I spent much of my life in that self-destructive mode because I didn't know better and let's face it, old habits fit like gloves. And somewhere between fear and the addiction to behavior patterns -- we lose ourselves.
Happiness can't be assigned to a person, place or thing: I'll be happy when...I find my perfect partner, I have enough money in the bank, I attain a certain amount of success in my career, etc. Nope, you're not going to find it there.
We may yearn for a love partner, a better job, or more money. That's real -- I get it. But I'm finding that the way to be fully content is to figure out how to make peace with where you are in this moment -- even amidst life's messiness. Here's the thing: Happy is a superpower. It is resilient, intuitive, contagious, and heart-centered. It is your greatest tool.
When you are connected to your own happy place, there is room for you to feel your other emotions as well: sadness, grief, disappointment. We can't avoid the human experience, but we can choose how we are going to travel through it. And when happy is a permanent resident you will find that your bounce-back from life's intermittent setbacks is easier and often much shorter.
You don't have to have it all figured out. But you do need to get clear and honest with yourself. Get rid of the energy vampires in your life, the people who drain you or fill you will negativity and self-doubt. Collect a new tribe that hold you accountable and become your dream-keepers. Release your own limiting beliefs and excuses. Take care of that beautiful physical vessel. Take an action step (even a baby step) on behalf of your dreams.
At the lowest moment in my life when my back had given out, lying in bed, I began to write in a small notebook. They were mere ramblings of inspiration, but they made me happy. Those ramblings helped me envision beyond my current circumstance. I would never have believed then that years down the road, I would 'come out' as a writer, that I would create a successful digital magazine and that my dreams would continue to flourish. But that's the way it goes. It's not all a saccharine-sweet ride, and we may create some chaos along the way. And yet, it's possible.
I gave my power away for much of my life. I spent decades sweating the small stuff. But as the sassy me likes to say, The past is the past and it's looking at your ass. And future-tripping isn't going to get you anywhere either. You might as well be here now.
Life is a daily realignment for me. But you know what, I am happy. There is lots of love in my house and that love continues to fertilize my dreams -- reminds me to stay present, have gratitude, find ways to serve others, to connect to nature and carve out solitude. That's what I call my happy place. I do know that the more I take care of me -- the more happy I have to give and receive.
Don't settle for happy enough.
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Photo: Aurely Cerise