"If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present." - Roy T. Bennett
Do you know these moments when you feel you just solved a topic (in coaching there is no "problem" ;)) and the next thing you notice, there is a new topic that wants to be addressed and resolved? Like going from the next problem to another, or feel like the problems are never-ending? Despite you practicing mindfulness and gratitude, there seems to be always something to worry or complain about? And you wonder when you will ever "arrive" in life when everything is how it should be?
This is the thing - life is always how it is meant to be, and our suffering actually often results from our expectations how life should be. We also know that life sometimes does throw sudden and sometimes tragic events at our door step. We may also know that although we do our best, life still seems to get hold of us. Sometimes it is really just about giving ourselves the permission to be happy. Wherever you currently are (i.e. not there yet (be it dream job, partner, house), however you feel (e.g. hopeless, exhausted), whatever your state of body, mind, soul is - you have the permission to be happy!
Here are 3 keys to make this shift when it seems difficult and even unbelievable:
1. Stop and notice your thoughts and emotions - from a bird`s eye view
Our mind / ego has an important, but often over-valued function - to keep us safe. During ancient times, this was quite critical, to assess places for fire, food, and shelter. Nowadays with endless opportunities (more so in the Western world), this function has become "skewed" in that it focuses on potential threats in our life, that is full of events and information. As a result, our mind may look for a problem, even if it just makes a judgment, in every situation, if we are not mindful. Can you recall when you have a nice meal in a restaurant and when the bill came you think "oh, this is too expensive"? Or when you solved a quarrel at work, and suddenly something comes up in your family (although it has always been there)? Or when you see your body in the mirror and think "I shouldn`t each too much"? These judgments have many reasons - one of them is to find "security", i.e. having enough money, solving for any issue that arises, having a body that we think is accepted. Use mindfulness as a tool to be aware when your mind hops from one issue to the next, from a meta view. Neither immerse in it, nor judge yourself if you do look for issues. Be kind to yourself, and just notice when this happens, so you can do the next step.
2. Repeat this mantra for yourself - "I give myself permission to be happy"
This affirmation will help put your voice ("Saboteur", "Inner Critic", "Lower Self") aside and help you focus on a small or big thing that can make you happy. Be it a hot bath, a novel read, or 10min clearing, crying, feeling, or calling a friend, finding the good in the situation, breathing to arrive in this present moment. Anything that helps you feel better and make your state of mind shift. Note that this does not mean neglecting what is (in fact we need to acknowledge the reality without our judgments to move ahead gracefully) - losing our job can be shocking, breaking up with our partner can be painful, living in lockdown can be lonely - it is more an invitation to find and choose an additional and/or alternate perspective, that serves us and can be also true. Losing our job can be an opportunity to find something that really resonates with us; breaking up with our partner can be done in gratitude and trust that this relationship was a foundation for a siginificant one; living in lockdown can be a chance to slow down and do what we have aways procrastinated. Life is full of depth and richness - in every moment, even in our lowest.
3. Actively do and be whatever brings you happiness, fulfilment, and peace
Noticing what is going on in our head and repeating a mantra to shift our focus is, of course, only half of the mile - we also need to actively do (and be) to live after our permission to be happy. This can be differentiated between the "doing" and "being" part. "Doing" can look like watching a movie, connecting with loved ones, going to a museum, laughing at YouTube videos, doing yoga, journaling, and more. "Being" can be sitting in a park, meditating, being outside in nature, listening to music, being inspired by art, etc. Thus, "doing" is the active part, in which we are very good at in this "busy-to-look-good" time. That`s why we need to also express our "being" part for compensation, which can be challenging if we just do one thing at a time and just be with it (e.g. just sitting outside in nature). You may soon notice that your thoughts creep in and your body gets impatient, as this seems unnatural to you (although it is very natural to us human beings!). Don`t judge and just try to be with your experience one more minute. This will deepen your life experience, provide new insights and room for creativity, and connect with your core - instead of always being distracted and overwhelmed by people, sound, and images. In a nutshell, do what makes you happy, follow your joy, and park any feelings or judgments of guilt and selfishness - this is when your ego is coming back! You deserve this and can start with 5min until it is one whole day ;) it will have ripple effects on all areas of your life. You have the permission to be happy, just like when we were kids! :)
How do you give yourself permission to be happy? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I would be very keen to hear your views! :) PS: Subscribe to my Newsletter to stay in touch for any upcoming posts and news :)
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Deepak Chopra - The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Reflection: How do I give myself permission to be happy?
Intention: Do one thing that makes me truly happy every day.