“Cherish this moment, for happiness is elusive”…how many of us really believe that happiness is elusive? I used to believe this…I am slowly realizing that we can learn to sustain our happiness.
Okay – so we can’t beg for it or buy it or even barter for it. We can however create it and better yet sustain it. By deciding to be happier, making it a priority – happiness won’t be so elusive. The old adage, “people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be” is true. Choose to live a life of happiness. When you are not ask yourself why and begin to erase the unhappiness. For me sometimes all it takes is a really good piece of chocolate, a nice pinot noir and some music – can turn my day around.
Learn to be present in the here and now. Placing emphasis and attention on the past and the future makes it impossible for us to fully experience this moment right now. One way to remind yourself to be present is to take a deep breath any time you notice you are worrying about the future or experiencing regret about the past. Yesterday is your history, the future is a mystery. The here and now, this moment is life’s true present to ourselves.
Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. Learn to communicate honestly about what you want, expect. Do not wait for people to make you sweet offers; do not fall into the trap of assuming people should know what you want. Learn to be less judgmental of ourselves and others.
I am finally learning that I deserve to live the life I want to live. But in doing so, I also have to allow other people the ability to live the life they choose without judgment and criticism. We can only control our life, putting our attention on how other people ought to live their lives will cause us nothing but disappointment and frustration.
I have stopped worrying what other people think of me. My opinion of my life is the only one that matters. I will never make everyone happy – so I choose me. One way to stop judging others is to stop thinking about what other people think of you. Trying to live up to other people’s expectations is hard, never ending work. This is your life. You are the only one who has to approve of how you live it.
Happiness is less elusive than you might think. It is also contagious. One way to be happy is to be with happy people. Smile more. Seriously do the things that make you happy – worth repeating: chocolate, wine…lol
“If you let go a little, you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of happiness. And if you let go completely, you will be completely happy.” ~Ajahn Chah
I won’t lie – it has taken me many tears and years to find happiness that is not so fleeting. I used to experience some very high and low moments. So many moments of complete happiness, bliss, peace, and then it used to just dissipate without notice. Boom! Like when on vacation, then coming back home! I started to spend more time by myself, writing, and exploring what was really going on with me – deep inside. Mainly asking myself: Is it because I can’t focus that I experience a deflation in my mood? Do I become bored too easily? Or maybe I have lack of patience that often leads to dissatisfaction?
Several pages later, I arrived at: I can focus; but I am impatient, so I involve myself in multiple projects and events to even out the pace. When one project or event ends, I fully dive into the next to prevent boredom. During this gap of engagement, my mood shifts.
I used to work only part-time, many temporary consulting positions just for these reasons. I found comfort in moving around, connecting, accomplishing, engaging, clinging.
After many days, months of soul searching, I learned that I cling. I realized that many of my mood dips, the occasional creeping feelings of dissatisfaction resulted from my clinging – clinging to past accomplishments, the next stimulating thing, the next anything in the future. I would bet that many of us, at some point in our daily lives, find ourselves clinging:
- We cling to old habits.
- We cling to daily comforts.
- We cling to pleasing others.
- We cling to the next vacation.
- We cling to a stubborn attitude.
- We cling to the love in a relationship.
- We cling to a perfection of how we should be.
- We cling to the security of a paycheck.
- We cling to memories of the past.
- We cling to the someday: the someday of when we reach retirement, or when we win the lottery, or when we get that awesome job, or when something uncomfortable in our life passes.
Often our clinging is to satisfy our ego—an attachment to prove to ourselves and the world that we are good enough. To prove that we are worthy. To prove that we are somebody special. We each want to be heard, loved, and appreciated. So we attach ourselves to the needs of those feelings and, in turn, we seek out fulfillment by clinging to external outcomes. I know in the past, I found myself clinging to the comfort of an unhealthy relationship because of some false belief that I did not deserve better. I have seen many people cling to over-committing at the office because they don’t fully enjoy their life outside their careers. Many cling to other people’s opinion or approval because we have not tuned into what we truly want. Most common, I believe is how we tend to cling to old habits because of the fear of the unknown and change.
Each day we have the decision to choose the constant of peace or the erratic peaks and valleys of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Once I recognized that I was clinging, I began to reflect on memories of when I experienced true happiness. I found, in each these moments, there was neither attachment nor expectation. I was, simply, fully submerged in the present – completely surrendered to the moment, the present. Clinging disconnects us from being here. When our mind clings to replaying the stories of the past or worrying about the future, we wander, and wander further away from the present, further away from happiness.
Clinging detaches us from our ability to live freely. It removes us from the flow of creativity and flexibility. When we box ourselves in with expectations of a plan, we distract ourselves from seeing a grander picture. When we cling to expectations of people, desires, and situations, we become shortsighted.
I plan on sustaining my happiness by accepting that happiness is an ongoing practice. It is a conscious choice. I’m learning to spend more time here in the moment, while reminding myself that happiness is a choice: I can choose to cling less to the past. I can choose to wander less to the future. I can choose to marvel more in the present.
Be happy…live wisely. ♥