Quite a while ago I came across a post by prashchopra on WordPress, entitled “Expectations and Choices”. She ended her post with:
“Happiness deferred to be enjoyed at the end, or finding happiness all along the journey?”
I really love how Prash laid it out: to choose joy and happiness at each decision point vs. waiting until the end, for realistically, not all of us will live long enough to get to the end point!
We’ve all known people who defer their happiness in the name of completing their goal, yet goals can shift imperceptibly, getting more elusive as time passes, leaving people stuck in a life habit of not enjoying their lives in the present time!
I’ve been doing my best to practice mindful gratefulness, which by itself is difficult, in order to achieve it I had to realize that at each point along my journey, I’ve made the very best decision possible, given the facts and the tools I had on hand at that time. This freed up my mind from feeling anxious or guilty to seeking to enjoy more and more in my day to day life!
When I consciously remembered this I could give myself permission to relax into being grateful, rather than scolding myself and feeling guilty about how a situation was playing out. By removing the negative self talk, I removed the negative feelings of depression and anxiety and became more open to seeing opportunities when they came up, instead of allowing the inner martyr to reign and then to force me to pay penance for a poor decision. That was such a negative cycle to have been caught up in!”
So, what are the steps we can follow to get to own our “Happiness”?
- Live in the moment by focusing on what is actually going on and not what we fear might happen, how it appears to others, etc.
- Realize our lives are constantly evolving and we are constantly learning new ways to approach even old problems.
- By absorbing the first two points, we can find some comfort to know that we make the best decisions possible, at a given moment, based on the tools we have on hand.
- This is a very important step in the process: When you learn more tools, you’ll be tempted to look back on old decisions, and berate yourself for “not knowing better”. Please don’t come down hard on yourself! Please forgive yourself for not knowing what you know now! Please do give yourself permission to grow as you go!
- Please release the inner martyr! The Martyr loves to punish us for “bad” decisions, and for many of us, that has meant “doing penance” as an unhealthy way of trying to make up for choosing something we later regret.
- Please realize that even “bad” decisions can lead us to incredible transformations in our inner selves and in the very structure of our lives, so we’re never a lost cause and “all is not lost”!
- Now relax! The above steps, when mindfully put into action help to remove the negativity that helps to trap us into that downward spiral of anxiety and depression. It’s very hard to move forward when we keep reliving our past decisions and keep beating ourselves up for it.
- The next step: Mindful Gratefulness… Yes! Within every situation there is a possibility for the Universe to bring us the lesson we need, the opportunity for change and growth, the wisdom to help someone else just behind us on their journey, and a few other possibilities, known only to us and the Universe! We can find much to be grateful for, even in very “common” things in our lives, that if those were removed, our lives just wouldn’t be the same! Please remember to be grateful for the negativity you’ve been able to remove! Good job!
- Acceptance: We hear a lot about acceptance, usually in reference to accepting whatever situation we’re currently in. I think it goes deeper: when we accept ourselves and the decisions we’ve made, as being the best possible for who we were at the time, and for the tools we possessed, I think we come to a more peaceful acceptance of our life. Does this kind of acceptance mean we can’t change or evolve? No! Future growth is also part of this acceptance package, for when we accept who we were, we are able to welcome new opportunities for change!
- Welcome new opportunities for change! We don’t have to blindly say yes to every single opportunity or choice that comes our way, in the name of being open. When we mull things through our decision making process, whether it is cerebral, instinctual, religious or spirit based, we reach a point of knowing if we will choose to step down that new turn in our road. Sometimes we don’t even need to say yes to a new opportunity, just going through the process with our new tools, allows us to have a victory, knowing that saying no is the best thing for us!
We can’t always follow these points in a consecutive manner, rather, our efforts may be a little scattered when we’re first starting for it’s human nature to resist change, even for the better!
So if you’ve started on your path towards owning your happiness, please be gentle with yourself! Keep practicing and you will get there! 🙂
Peace to you!
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