In my line of work I spend a lot of time studying, thinking about and practicing what makes people happier. If I didn’t help make people happier, I wouldn’t have many people paying me…and aside from making the world a better place, I like to eat.
So, aside from my mini manifesto on how to be happy in six steps, there are a few key elements that I’ve found helpful to myself and my clients in terms of how happy you are.
- Understanding that happiness is an inside job. If you give someone else responsibility for your happiness, you’re giving away your power and your control to someone else to do what they want with (and often without them even realising). You are the best custodian of your happiness. No-one else is ever going to know what you need better than you.
- You set the example for how other people treat you. The inner voice that tells you you’re not good enough is the energy you’re putting out into the world and the example you’re setting for how other people should treat you. Stop complaining that people don’t treat you right if you’re not treating yourself like a god(dess).
- There’s a fine balance that comes from knowing you want to move on from the past, and allowing yourself to acknowledge what happened and heal from it. Don’t be too quick to ‘get rid’ of old wounds. If they’re still there, it’s because they haven’t finished being heard or teaching you something yet. When we push our feelings away, we are rejecting a part of ourselves. How can we expect to be accepted by others if we aren’t accepting ourselves? When we fully embrace each part of ourselves (even the hurt-never-seems-to-want-to-let-it-go part), we free up space to move on, and set a better example for others about how to treat us.
Sometimes, when chatting with friends about this sort of stuff (yes, aside from the normal KUWTK and deciding what outfits we should wear, my friends and I have some pretty high brow conversations), they tell me it all sounds pretty, well, simplistic and that it’s somehow easier for me because I’m a therapist. I wonder how my being a therapist makes me different to other people. The truth is, the only difference between me and you, is that maybe, I’ve had a bit more time with this sort of knowledge to put it in to practice. It doesn’t mean it seemed any less hard to begin with.
Most people can see the logic in the points above, but many people simply don’t care enough about themselves to do the work required to create those new neural pathways that change your default way of thinking and behaving. It takes time and dedication.
That’s not to say you don’t want to change. Anyone who’s not as happy as they want to be wants to change, but often there’s a little part of you left over from some situation long since forgotten that’s telling you that you don’t deserve to be happy, or that you’re not dedicated enough / smart enough / good enough / young enough to make the change. We all have those voices. Don’t judge yourself for it – it’s normal. Just become aware of the voice and try to get your head around that fact that that voice, is a part of you – so forgive yourself and choose again.
The steps are simplistic, the logic is simplistic, the ideas are simplistic, but the work is not. The work cultivates in us a deep sense of self-love and acceptance. It grows from a place of belief in ourselves. It is your ultimate calling, and you will accept it only when you’re ready.
When you are, call me.