After my divorce, and when I was a young adult I struggled to find happiness. I simply didn’t know how to be happy and I needed to figure out what was preventing me from feeling happy. I really had no reason to be unhappy.
I had a loving and supportive family, college education, my children, and nice things. I generally got what I wanted when I was young, whether it was nice new clothes for school, or a nice car. I had some really great life-long friends as well. What reason did I have to be unhappy?
I realized after a lot of soul searching and reading lots of books and articles, that there was one person getting in the way of my happiness.
It was me.
I was the reason I was unhappy.
I simply didn’t know how to be happy and after my divorce I was basically paralyzed. I thought happiness was something you feel as a reaction to something else. I thought happiness occurs as result of some sort of stimulus.
What I finally realized is that there is no stimulus. Some people have all kinds of reasons to be happy but they still aren’t.
You have to make yourself happy.
Happiness is a choice.
You have to make a conscious effort every day to be happy.
Are you happy?
I think that when you’re truly happy you’re not super happy all the time but instead, you’re at peace.
When you’re genuinely happy, and at peace, you live in a place where your mind is not in constant chaos. You don’t continuously analyze and reanalyze everything. You may analyze a bit to make the best decision you can, but you look within and not outwards for other people’s validation. You make the best decision that you can for you, and then you move on. You care what people think to an extent, but that can’t weigh your decision too heavily.
Of course, you have people in your life that you respect and go to for guidance, but you’re not looking for validation from them so much as you’re looking for valued input. Input that you can take and then make the best decision for yourself, your children, spouse, etc. Sometimes, it’s a decision that not everyone close to you agrees with…
Happy people understand that things will not always go their way, and they’re okay with that.
They’ve given up the need to have control at all times.
To be happy you must accept yourself for who you are, accept others who are different from you, and be content with what you have to offer the world.
Happiness does not mean you’re in control of your surrounding world.
Happy people can have crap thrown at them all day, and it won’t take them down. They are mentally strong.
Before you can truly be happy you must be self-aware.
If you’re unhappy chances are it’s because you’re not growing as an individual and you’re fixated on crap that’s just not that important. I place some of the blame on society and our current culture a bit for this one.
(Not all of course, and as the saying goes… It may not be your fault but it’s still your problem).
We are inundated with the Kardashians and so called “reality” TV. We have this crap in our face 24/7 and its altering our brains in a negative way. There’s this “goal” in society where everyone wants to be famous. They think if they portray a “perfect” life and have all the very best of the best, then somehow, they’re better than everyone else. Then they sell us stuff so we fit that mold.
I actually feel sad for these people and they annoy the crap out of me at the same time. The sad truth is that the majority of these people aren’t truly happy.
They just “play” happy in the drama you run in your head.
Do you want to be happy? Here is what you do NOT need to be happy.
- Perfect body
- Fancy car
- Beautiful home
- Best clothes
- Best hair
By the way, I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to have these things. I want them! I love shoes, and beautiful clothing but I know these items won’t make me happy… not long-term anyway.
If you want to be happy, you need to focus on what really contributes to genuine long-lasting happiness and you must be self-aware. Otherwise you’re just spinning your fancy wheels.
In order to be self-aware, you have to be growing as an individual.
Are you growing?
Are you working to better yourself? Are you going after what you want in life, or just taking whatever life throws at you? Are you terribly unhappy and not taking any action to get yourself in a better place?
After my divorce, I didn’t know who I was anymore, and I didn’t know what characteristics I wanted or needed in a partner. I did know one thing for sure at the very least.
I had to be with a man who was not only willing to grow as a person, but who wanted to grow and be the best version of himself. He has to be self-aware, and willing to see an honest version of himself, faults and all.
He has to be authentic.
If you’re not self-aware then you cannot be authentic and you will struggle to find happiness.
Self-awareness is knowing who you are.
To keep in very basic, you must know your strengths and your weaknesses as a person. Most importantly, you must be able to have a neutral attitude without getting defensive when something doesn’t match up exactly as it should in your mind.
We all have different presets in our brain based on our life experiences. It’s like we’ve been conditioned to see things a certain way without really knowing why. Our brain reacts based on these presets. I think of them as little “snap shot” images in your mind. Something happened somewhere in your life and you associated a feeling with it.
It’s just your perception based on a feeling. We all have different perceptions. That’s okay.
To be self-aware you also must be accountable for your negative traits. We all have them! The most common definition of self-awareness is “the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires.”
When you know what you stand for it affects your feelings towards people and events. When you know your desires as well as what motivates you, then you’re better able to relate to others. The goal is to relate to people in a positive way, or choose to no longer accept certain types of people in your life.
Yep, sometimes you have to cut people out of your life that are draining you mentally.
Your ability to be self-aware deeply affects the relationships you have with others. It affects how you see the world and how the world reacts to you.
If you’re finding it’s a difficult world out there and you’re unhappy, then that means you have some work to do. That’s okay by the way. Acknowledging it is the first step. You of course now have to do something about it!
Happiness and Romantic Relationships
If you’re looking for someone special to live your life with, you have to realize something. You don’t need a relationship to be happy. You have to be willing to wait for the right person to show up. You can’t force a relationship. You must have a fulfilling life on your own. You must have friends and family that you enjoy spending your time with. You must fill up your time doing the things you love and only go on dates when they’re planned and you’ve been asked out in a timely manner.
You don’t drop what you’re doing just to go out with a guy who asked you out at the last minute because you have a life. Your life consists of you doing your own activities and work about 80% of the time. The other 20% is your down time and dating time. You plan your down time and you plan your dating time. You do NOT leave your free time open for a man to fill last minute. He either asks you out in a timely manner and you accept and plan, or he has to wait until you’re free. He must respect your time. If he respects your time, then he respects you.
He must learn that you have a life and you’re out living it. You’re not sitting around waiting for him to call. You value yourself and you don’t settle for anyone who is inconsiderate of your time. Why? You do this because you’re not trying to force a relationship. You don’t need a relationship to be happy. You’re happy and if someone else comes along and adds to that happiness then great. You’re waiting for the right person to show up, not for just anyone to show up. You have expectations and needs and you aren’t afraid to tell someone if they’re not meeting those needs. Why? You do this because you don’t need a relationship with the wrong person. You know who you are and what you need. You’re satisfied with your life and you live it. You’re content with your life and you’re not going to just let anyone in that comes your way.
You’re steady in your approach to life and understand that priorities will shift from time to time. Our priorities constantly change dependent upon current issues we face.
Find happiness from within and go out there and get a life it you don’t have one. Find your social family. Meet people and learn more about who you are and how you relate to others. You don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you. That’s how you find your people. That’s how you find yourself.
So, you want to be happy and ready to get going? That’s awesome. First things first.
I don’t care what you’ve done or who you’ve been in the past. Everyone knows right from wrong. You just have to make a choice to be better.
Acknowledge your weaknesses and then forgive yourself. You’re not a robot. You’re not expected to know everything or do everything correctly. You are, however, expected to make good decisions based on what you learn. (Read here to learn how to stop the negative self-talk)
To Err is Human.
Give yourself a break, and don’t let your past define you. Be accountable. Be Kind. Own your shit, forgive yourself and start making changes in your life.
It’s NEVER too late. NEVER. Everyone deserves to be happy and has the propensity for happiness.
You’re Awesome. Now go be awesome.
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