There are literally thousands of self-help books on this topic and yet I regularly see more and more people who are unhappy. People are still looking to find happiness from anything and from anywhere but themselves. Why is that so?
As I was doing my own soul searching and reading about this topic I realized that many of the self-help books available have information on developing wonderful life strategies. The problem seems to be that they fail to speak the language most people understand today.
You see, if you were raised in the modern, western part of the world you were most likely bombarded by the idea that happiness comes in the form of a beautiful house, children and expensive cars just to name few. If you were raised to believe that in order to be happy you had to have all these things, it will be quite a chore to change that perception.
All your life, your brain actually registered images of things that you needed to acquire prior to your happiness. Your parents could have done a wonderful job raising you and emphasizing how easy it is to be truly happy, but the media, school and Hollywood were still telling your brain something different.
With that kind of misconception, what happens next? Those that achieve the "American Dream" spend their entire lives obtaining more material goods but still find themselves unhappy. Some of those less fortunate find themselves bombarded with self-pity and deception that makes them angry and even more anxious about discovering the road to happiness. Neither of these situations is healthy - or accurate.
One of the hardest things I have to tell my coaching clients is the fact that they need to let go of the past, and start embracing the present for what it is right now. This is so difficult for me mainly because I know it will be a real challenge for them. Often, I have clients who think I'm speaking another language. It just doesn't seem possible to them at first. But it is!
So how can we really be happy in life?
- By not putting pressure on ourselves.
- By realizing that our circumstances don't have a lot to do with our happiness.
- By coming to the conclusion that "who" you are is more important than what you own or what job you have.
When you can answer the fundamental questions of life, know what your values are, and live your life around the things that are important to you then happiness will follow. Once you know your values and the direction you want to follow, develop a strategy for living that ideal life. At the same time learn to embrace change, unhappiness and all the other negative emotions that come your way. These are actually opportunities in disguise.
There are few things that you can do to concentrate on you and not your circumstances:
1. Stay focused, listen first to yourself and second to others - know what you want to accept from others- accept only advice that is in relation to where you want to go in your life.
2. Notice the behavior of others. Are you beginning to notice a lot of negative emotions in others? Perhaps you should look for more positive companions.
3. Explore something new on a frequent basis. You just might find something you really enjoy doing.
4. Focus on love - Give love in the form of a nice word, a small surprise, etc. Unconditional love is the centerpiece of your life.
5. Learn to be patient, compassionate and empathic with people. The more you give to people the more you will receive back.
6. Make a list of things about yourself that you like. Not things you own... traits about YOU. When a difficult situation arises, read your list. You can still be happy because you are still you.
Stress is inevitable but you do not have to be a victim of it. You need to strengthen your inner resources such as courage, optimism, humility, humor, intuition, acceptance and forgiveness. Always remember that your reaction to what's happening to you is actually causing your stress.
True happiness goes beyond possessions, beyond stress and beyond life's ups and downs.
It is a mainstay. It is centered within you, not just a temporary feeling you get from buying a new car or landing a new job. Stay focused on your own, self-dependant happiness and watch your life glide into place.
Carole Nicolaides is the President of Progressive Leadership, Inc. She offers Personal & Business Success Coaching, customized coaching-consulting, teleclass services in the areas of Branding Strategy, Business Planning and Leadership Development. Carole thrives in assisting entrepreneurs and executives reaching their full potential and living their best life. Subscribe to her FREE Ezine or book your FREE coaching session by visiting her site at ProgressivePicture Credit