Pursuit of Happiness Part 1
In the pursuit of happiness, it’s important to limit things in life that cause grief. I say limit – not eliminate – because we’re shooting for reachable goals.
People and obligations are elements in our lives that can be both a source of grief and joy.
So eliminating all of these things – while very effective at simplifying your life – is not a practical solution.
But sometimes it’s important to look at the people around you that are not serving YOUR best needs. Perhaps a coworker who nags and complains incessantly. Or a relative that has nothing good to say about themselves or anybody else. Limiting the time we spend around these types of people will have an immediate benefit to us.
And if we ARE those people who nag and complain all the time, STOP. We are damaging everything around us and sending out waves of pain and misery that wreaks untold havoc on our own lives and those around us.
Since our happiness comes from inside, it’s essential to guard our minds and hearts and be in total control of the things we think about all day.
I love people. I think they are vastly interesting and complex. I enjoy unraveling the mysteries of the people around me. It takes up a lot of my time, mentally. But I do not allow it to overwhelm me or take me off track from what keeps me happy.
My mom had a habit of taking other people’s problems into her heart and weeping for them. She was deeply empathetic and this made her a dearly loved friend. But in the long run, it was extremely unhealthy for her. The stress and grief this caused her took a toll on her health.
I have a tendency to do the same thing. I love my family and friends very much. But taking on their burdens – when there is literally nothing I can do for them except worry and stress – is something I have learned to stop doing.
Of course it isn’t easy. I do care very deeply. But I had to decide where to put my energies.
Making my own emotional well being a priority has changed my life.
The results I have noticed are quite profound.
The key for me is to find a calmness and peacefulness in my mind. It’s not rocket science – it’s just the opposite of the feelings you get when you are worrying and stressing too much about something you have no control over.
It’s easy to get there.
I know, I know. The swirling vortex of thoughts and troubles is a storm that’s nearly impossible to quiet down. Or is it?
I start by reminding myself that I need to calm my heart. I take a few deep breaths and exhale purposefully. I intentionally slow myself down and relax. Saying the word “relax” in my head helps a lot. On each exhale, I silently say “r-e-l-a-x”.
Once I feel my facial muscles start to soften, I know I am getting there. I keep going until the muscles in my neck and shoulders release and feel like jello. Now I’m there.
The clarity in that moment – realizing that I AM in control of myself, taking a large step back from the thing that was stressing me, and looking at it with fresher and wiser eyes – is a priceless feeling. It’s control. It’s power.
Now I have the power to be of help and comfort to the person in need, or upset. Now I can do some good.
I’ve been working on this lately and it’s making happiness easier to hold on to.
And that makes me happy.