As we continue our journey of learning how to take our lives back and reclaim it as our own, I often hear a common question.
“How can I be happy?”
This million-dollar question seems to be on everybody’s minds. We often wonder if there’s some magic potion we can drink to be there. Or some secret code we can crack that will then enlighten us on how to attain happiness.
But I think it’s a lot easier than taking some round-the-world journey. Or selling all your worldly goods and living the rest of your life as a guru in the mountains.
No drastic measures or hiking required. Image via Sundance Studio.
The secret to happiness lies in living and loving the present.
It’s really that easy.
You may be doubtful, or think I’m full of shit.
“But Martha! What if I’m currently at a stage in my life where nothing is going my way? I still feel hurt and betrayed over the divorce! I’m stressed out about not finding a job or never being able to retire!”
I get it. Because I’ve been there, too. But remember what we talked about two weeks ago? Happiness can only come from internal factors…not external ones.
And being happy comes from loving where you are…now.
It doesn’t matter if you feel like your life is a mess.
It doesn’t matter if currently, your life is a lot different than what you thought it would be ten years ago, five years ago, even a year ago.
What matters is your ability to see the good in whatever your current circumstances are, and to be grateful for what you have in this life, versus what you do not.
And it’s not just me who thinks this. A recent TED talk goes in-depth to find the traits of the happiest people around the world. And the common thread between all of them wasn’t their income, or their material possessions, or their relationship status.
What linked them together was the fact that they could enjoy and thrive in the present moment, regardless of what circumstances surround them.
They were happy because they were grateful. Not grateful because they were happy.
If you want to know learn more, check it out here!
The only fantastic voyage you need for your happiness is the one within. Image via GetMotivated.
Exercise: How to love the present, whatever it looks like.
Learning how to be happy with wherever you are right now can feel foreign, mainly because most of us live in a culture or were raised to not think in this manner. But I promise it’ s a lot easier than you may think!
Let’s start with this simple exercise. In the next few weeks, we will dig deeper on how we can get rid our own self-doubt and really become empowered. But for now, let’s build an awesome foundation.
1. List obstacles you think are keeping you from being happy. Need some help? Take a look at the examples below.
My retirement took a hit from the divorce and now I’ll never retire.
How can I be happy when I am in a job that I absolutely hate?
My ex left me heartbroken and angry. It’s hard to be happy with these feelings.
2. For each of those obstacles, flip the script! List 3 GOOD THINGS about them.
At least I am no longer in an unhealthy and unhappy marriage
Although I have to continue to work, I now have an opportunity to focus on doing something that I love, or can now explore something new
If I want to retire, maybe this gives me the opportunity to think about nontraditional retirement and relocating to someplace with lower costs of living and good weather, like Costa Rica or Thailand!
This job is giving me an income so that I can have a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and opportunities to do things outside of work that I love
If the work is really bad, it now serves as motivation to find something better and inspires me to find another line of work that I am more compatible with
I am now learning more about myself with this job—the things I can tolerate, the things I won’t stand for…things I previously did not notice
Do you see the pattern here? Now, you try it! 🙂
3. Repeat when you feel stressed, overwhelmed, resentful, sad, etc.