Your Roadmap to Happiness Email Series
(incase you missed it)
PART 1: Your Roadmap to Happiness - Intro
Happiness is not an unattainable state, far-fetched idea, or difficult thing to achieve.
The reason we believe it is is because we have the wrong idea about what true happiness really is.
Happiness isn't based on what we have, how we look, and how much life works out for us. Happiness isn't a fleeting state based on external factors.
The reason we associate happiness with these outside things is because we have been falsely programmed by mainstream culture about what happiness is and how we can find it.
We have been bombarded with propaganda and advertising telling us that once we have, become, or attain something, THEN we will be happy.
Look at any commercial on TV and notice how they try to pick a pain point that you might have, and claim that the product they have will solve it for you. The pain points are usually feeling depressed, unhappy, in pain, under pressure, stressed, anxious, not cool enough, not pretty enough, or like life is not exciting enough.
Then, they offer their products like a new car, some sort of drug, new food item, phone, camera, etc. as "solutions" to your problem which actually have NOTHING to do with solving your problem.
All it does is give you the illusion of happiness as it immediately makes you feel good, however, the feeling is short lived. You then become highly dependent on buying another product or experience in order to feel good again. And we all know that once we have these things that they claim will make us happier, we eventually find ourselves feeling empty, deprived, dissatisfied, and unfulfilled. There is no true value gained because it never addressed the root of the problem.
This perpetual cycle, fed by social programming, creates this idea in our head that happiness is conditional, which makes it impossible to attain as you can never HAVE ENOUGH to fill your "happiness bucket." And it even sends the wrong messages about what happiness is.
It sends the message that “if everything goes perfectly, I will be happy. If I get what I want, I will be happy. If things go wrong or not as planned, I will be unhappy. If I get those new shoes, I will be happier. Once I have money, I will be happy.”
If our level of happiness is determined by what happens to us, then if the things we want to happen don’t happen, or don’t happen the way we want or expect them to happen, we set ourselves up for unhappiness.
That is a very unstable way to be. And it’s also very disempowering. To give all of your power to some outside force to make you feel a certain way? To give your power to the world?
Most of the time we do this unconsciously, and that is the problem.
We are not aware that we are letting the outside world dictate our happiness level. We are not aware of the influence that mainstream culture, social programming, and marketing and advertisement has on our belief systems and how much it shapes who we think we are. We are not aware of how much information we unconsciously absorb and how many subliminal messages are out there manipulating us to think and act a certain way. We simply just don’t know.
So this is your wake up call. It’s a call for you to realize your inherent power, potential, and ability to be truly happy and free.
I will be sharing some steps you can take over the next few weeks, but for this week, I want you to pay attention to how much you let your happiness be determined by outside forces.
Don't judge yourself or be hard on yourself when you notice that you became unhappy after someone cut you off in traffic. Just observe your tendencies.
I want you to pay attention to how your levels of happiness change as conditions in your environment change.
For example, do you feel a lot happier when you're all dressed up as opposed to when you don't look so glamorous?
Do you feel happy when someone tells you something nice, but unhappy when they say something mean?
Do you feel unhappy when something doesn't go your way, and happy when something does go your way?
These are just some simple observations you can make this week to get you in touch with where your happiness comes from.
And again, it's okay if you notice your happiness being conditional. This is normal given the society we live in.
And just for the laugh, also try to pay attention to how cleverly and subliminally advertisements and commercials try to manipulate you into buying their stuff. It is everywhere you look.
Let me know if you discover anything interesting!
Next week, I will be sharing the first step you need to take on your path to happiness, as well as some practical tips.
As for this week, stay aware!
PART 2: Your Roadmap to Happiness - Step 1
STEP 1: CHANGE YOUR PARADIGM OF HAPPINESS
The old paradigm of happiness as we discussed in last week’s email is that happiness is conditional and based on external factors. When we get what we want, when people treat us nicely, and when life goes well, we are happy. When life isn’t so accommodating, we are unhappy. It’s like an up and down rollercoaster.
We have come to define our levels of happiness by how much we have, how good we look, how accomplished we are, how many friends we have, how good our life looks on paper, and all sorts of other external factors.
This paradigm doesn’t work for obvious reasons. When you depend on life to go a certain way in order for you to be happy, you can never have true and lasting happiness. It is always dependent, attached and conditional. From this paradigm, happiness is just a fleeting emotion.
However, I believe there is more to happiness.
What we’ve been told and taught is not the truth.
I believe that the reason most of us aren’t truly happy is because we are following the wrong recipe for happiness.
We’re following the recipe that’s been thrown at us by society. The recipe that we’ve unknowingly been conditioned to believe is the truth.
No wonder why so many people struggle with finding peace and happiness. They are looking in all the wrong places following the completely wrong recipe.
So that’s the old paradigm of happiness.
And in order for you to find true and lasting happiness, guess what, you’re going to have to change your paradigm.
If you approach happiness from the same mindset you’ve always approached it from, you will always get the same results.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
So step 1 on your path to happiness is to change your paradigm of happiness.
Happiness is not out there somewhere in the new shoes you buy or the money you get; happiness is inside of you.
Happiness literally lives inside of you. It is who you are at your core. It doesn’t come and go as the wind blows, but is always and permanently at the core of your being. It is your higher self. The key is to awaken this deeper part of yourself so that you can always be happy.
Which brings me to my next point. Happiness is not a fleeting emotion, a conditional feeling based on something that happened, or a certain mood you have.
Happiness is an underlying and permanent state of connection, trust, love, acceptance, peace, and joy. These states are the essence of who you are.
Being happy doesn’t mean that you don’t experience emotions such as anger, jealousy or frustration. But it does mean that you experience them less frequently as you don’t get triggered as often. It also means that you don’t loose yourself in these emotions when they arise. You feel them, process them, and send them on their way while underneath you remain connected to your core truth.
Being happy means that you don’t let your sense of worth and identity be defined by the things that happen to you, the comments people make, how you look, or what you have. This way, if anything on the outside changes, as it always does, you are unfazed as you are in touch with your true sense of worth and therefore experience a lot more positive emotions.
The point is to first and foremost accept that happiness is always within you.
The second thing to realize is that happiness is a choice you make in every moment. You literally have to decide to be happy in order to be happy. And again, deciding to be happy doesn’t mean being in the best, most perfect mood, it means deciding to be in connection with your higher self; your essential truth.
Being TRULY happy is a skill you have to learn. It’s a muscle you have to build. It’s a reprogramming of the mind as your old recipe of happiness is still engrained in your brain.
So to help with that, I came up with some shifts you can make to engrain your new paradigm of happiness. These are powerful shifts that will change the quality of your life drastically.
1. Interpret life from a positive lens
YOU have a choice in HOW you interpret life. YOU give people, situations, and things a label and meaning; and then this label triggers certain emotions inside of you. For example, someone cutting you off in traffic is a neutral event. However, you interpreting it as bad is what makes it bad, which then brings up emotions of anger or annoyance. You allow a neutral situation to affect you so strongly based on how you interpret it.
So if you want to be happier a.k.a. stay connected to your higher self, then interpret life from the perspective that everything that happens to you has the power to teach you something or to help you grow as a person. Also, don’t assume the worst, and don’t give material possessions or life circumstances the power to own you and define your happiness.
In every situation that seems to trigger you, always ask yourself...
“What can I learn from this?”
“How can I grow/improve from this?” or
"How can I look at this more positively?"
If you look at life from this lens, you will never be dissatisfied or unhappy as you can find meaning in the most unlikely of experiences.
2. Drop your expectations and accept the moment as it is
Stop expecting that your new wardrobe will make you happier. Stop expecting for people to be a certain way. Stop expecting for your day to go as planned.When you set all of these expectations for how you want life to be or how certain possessions will make you feel, you set yourself up for disappointment. This is because life is ever changing and it’s unpredictable. The future holds no certainty, so when you approach life expecting certainty, you will find yourself disappointed.
Instead, learn to flow with life. Accept life as it comes at you. Roll with the punches as they say. If something changes, change with it instead of dwelling on how you wanted it to be. Live in the moment and accept things the way they are.
3. Be happy with what you already have
Instead of focusing on what more you can attain or accomplish, be happy with who you are and what you have. Be grateful for your life. Be grateful for the little things. Find satisfaction in your life the way it is NOW. If you focus on that instead of what you lack, you will be much happier.
Keep in mind that accepting life as is and being happy with what you have doesn’t mean that you give up on trying to create a better life for yourself. It just means that you appreciate and embrace where you are now, instead of denying it and wishing you were somewhere else (or wishing something else was happening when it’s not).
So here is what I want you to focus on for this week…
BE HAPPY FOR NO REASON
I want you to focus specifically on being happy for no reason this week. Challenge yourself to be happy just because. Try not to attach a reason to why you are happy and try not to find something to make you happy, but rather justbe happy for the sake of being happy.
If someone asks you why you are so happy, resist the urge to give it a reason. Just say “just because” or “I’m just happy” or "no reason."
The point of this exercise is to train yourself to find and bring to the surface the happiness that lives inside of you, and to let go of attaching your happiness to an outside circumstance. The more you practice being happy just because, the less you look for outside things to make you happy. This again, is a skill you have to learn, but the more you practice, the happier you will truly be.
And then also remember the 3 tips I gave you and try to implement them as much as you can:
- Interpret life from a positive lens
- Drop your expectations and accept the moment as it is
- Be happy with what you already have
This first step of changing your paradigm is the foundation for happiness. Without realizing that the power is within and not without, you won't be able to be truly happy.
Next week, we will build on this foundation where I will share the second essential step to lasting happiness.
As for this week, focus on being happy for no reason!!!
PART 3: Your Roadmap to Happiness - Step 2
Thus far on our journey, we have developed a strong and solid foundation for happiness. We know that happiness is a deep inner state and not a conditional feeling determined by outside factors. We know that we can always access happiness because happiness is our true nature. And we know that we can always BE happy, because happiness is a choice we make in every moment.
So the next step solidifies that foundation.
STEP 2: PURSUE YOUR PASSIONS
You may or may not have seen this one coming. Pursuing our passion is an essential step to sustainable happiness. Why? Because passion is a natural "joy generator," and it feeds your mind, body and soul. It also provides you with longterm positive energy, enthusiasm, and excitement.
So if you want to be happy in the long run, make sure that you are pursuing your passions.
Your passions are things you love to do, people or things you love to be around, places you love to visit, and environments you love to be in. It is something that allows you to be in a state of flow and nonresistance. It is something that uplifts you, energizes you, and makes you feel connected and ALIVE.
When you are enveloped in your passions and doing something you truly enjoy, you are in a higher state of energy. These higher state of energy are ones of joy, happiness, and love, and in essence, who you are. Therefore, following your passions can literally help you get in touch with your true self.
The more you do things you love, the more you can get into a state of flow. This is when you are completely in the zone, immersed in what you're doing, and totally in the present moment. The more moments of flow you have, the happier you will overall be.
A misconception about passion is that you only have one. People often ask themselves in confusion "but what is my passion!?" or "I don't know my passion," as if there was ONE magic thing that if they found, it would solve all of their problems.
The truth is, we all have many passions. Sometimes they're obvious, and sometimes they need a little time, self-discovery, and life experience to be realized. But no matter what, you << Test First Name >>, HAVE many passions.
The other misconception about passion is that you need to have it be your "9-5" or your profession. When people say "what is my passion" they are usually referring to that thing they love to do that they can then make into a career. Of course, this is the ultimate ideal. To do the type of work in life that fulfills you AND that sustains you financially. If your passions CAN be turned into a profession, I highly recommend that you work towards this goal.
HOWEVER, it is not a requirement for happiness. You can work a job that you're good at but not necessarily passionate about and still be happy AS LONG AS you give your passions your time and energy outside of work. However, if you neglect your passions during your free time AND you don't love the work you do, you will feel drained, stressed, and unfulfilled.
So let's do an exercise to help you discover and pursue your passions so that you can have more joy in your life.
1. Make a list of what you love to do.
These are things that make you feel like you're in the zone, things that excite you, things that light you up, and things that give you a sense of fulfillment.
Some questions to think about:
What makes you feel alive, what comes naturally to you, what do your friends or family say you are good at, what type of personality do you have, what are your strengths, what types of topics do you love talking about, what are your hobbies, what energizes you, what types of activities or practices have you always been drawn to or always come back to, who do you love to be around, what environments do you enjoy, and what places do you like to visit?
Seriously, take a moment to do this exercise. We seldom sit down with ourselves and actually think about these questions and identify what it is we truly love to do, yet they can give us so much insight into who we are!
If you're struggling with finding your passion, remember that patience is the name of the game; however you should also stay proactive. You can check out my top tips for how to do that in this post. The key things are constant personal growth and self-discovery, as well as experimentation which is basically putting yourself out into the real world and exploring different jobs, skills, responsibilities, and environments to see what you enjoy and what you're good at.
2. Next, make a list of all of those things, people, activities, and environments that drain you, stress you out, or that you hate doing/being in.
This can be your job, parts about your lifestyle, your habits, your responsibilities, the people you engage with, relationships in your life, day to day activities, places you hang out, things you watch on TV, conversations you have, etc.
3. Now, take a moment to reflect on how much time you actually spend on doing the things you love and are passionate about.
Are the majority of your days spent doing stressful and draining things?
The quality of your life is determined by the small choices you make each day. Each small choice adds up to what we call "the life that we live." So to enhance your sense of happiness, you need to be conscious of what types of activities and people you allow into your life and what you give your precious time and energy to.
4. The final step is to INVEST your time, energy and focus into your passions.
If you don't yet know what your passions are, then you need to invest your time and energy into learning more about yourself, doing some personal growth work, and actively seeking out new experiences to see what you enjoy doing.
In either case though, you need to reprioritize your life and identify how, when and where you will incorporate MORE heart aligned and passion focused activities into your life.
This will most likely require that you replace your old habits with new, soul-aligned ones.
So as part of this step, write down what passions you want to give more time and attention to, and how you will incorporate them into your everyday life. What will you do and when will you do it?
Let's say you really love cooking but can't seem to find the time for it....
Think about what you can give up that doesn't fulfill you to create extra time for cooking. Can you give up watching TV, browsing social media, or laying in bed an extra hour?
Or maybe you love to be outside and hang out in nature. Instead of going shopping on the weekend, can you spend the weekend being outside exploring nature?
Or let's say you have a passion that you can and actually want to turn into a career. Think about what you can do each day when you get off work to get closer to your goal. Instead of coming home and getting into the same old routine, develop a new routine and figure out HOW you will make your passion into your profession. Is it getting a new job? Ok - what is that going to require from you? Is it starting your own business? Great - what kinds of business plans do you need to come up with? Get clear on all that you should be doing in your free time to bring your passions to life.
The main takeaway from STEP #2 is to give your passions more time, attention, energy, and PRIORITY.
It's so easy to get lost in our to-do's and modern day responsibilities that we often neglect the things we love to do. We focus more on our kids doing all sorts of fun things, while we forget about our own inner child.
We are all children at heart. Yes we look like adults on the outside, but on the inside, we all have a youthful spirit that we need to embrace! When we neglect our passions, we neglect our true nature, and our life becomes dull, serious, and meaningless.
So it's time to start investing in your passions!
***Your exercise for the week is to:
Dedicate some time EACH DAY for the next 7 days to your passions.
Each day, instead of doing as you normally would, choose to do ONE THING you're passionate about.
This can be ANYTHING that you genuinely enjoy doing, anyone you genuinely enjoy being with, or anywhere you truly enjoy being. Be conscious of where you put your time, energy, and focus.
And yes, to make space and time for your passion, you will have to eliminate some of the things you currently do each day. And that is the point. Try to replace a mundane routine with a passion filled activity each day for at least 7 days and see how much happier you will feel!
If you don't know what you're passionate about, I want you to be proactive and try something new this week. You can attend a workshop, seminar or event around something you're not familiar with. You can start tutoring or coaching someone for free on something you're good at. You can ask a friend who has a different job than you if you can shadow them for one day. You can volunteer at a homeless shelter, day care center, or nursing home. The point is for you to do something to expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone so you can get acquainted with what you like to do and what you're good at.
Next week, we will be diving even deeper into how to create long lasting happiness, and we will take this idea of passion one step further! I can't wait!
Look out for an email from Follow Your Own Rhythm Wednesday morning which will cover step 3.
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