“Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.”- Henry Van Dyke
Many of us spend our day to day moments in the pursuit of happiness. What will make me happy? Maybe I need a new phone. That will make me happy; I am so unhappy. Maybe I need a new partner. Why can’t I just feel happy? I can’t find anything that makes me happy!! What is wrong with me? We look to the outward world in search of the answer.
We focus our self-worth and happiness on what others are saying about us, doing to us and spend our days comparing our dull lives to our hundreds of Facebook friends that seem to have it all together, living their lives filled with laughter and fun. What MAKES them happy?
I remember growing up listening to my grandmother’s prayers asking God for a kind man who would make me happy when I grow up! Looking back to those old days, we were trained to look outward; I was never told to look inward! You see those generations believed that things or people are in charge of our happiness.
Don’t get me wrong, my belief system was just the same. I had a wish list which involved other people and things that were in charge of my happiness in life. However, after years of understanding how to change my limited beliefs, I know that our happiness and success actually lies inwards, it is a state of mind not place or people.
Few years ago, I did ask myself serious questions: How can I be happy living in the muddled world in which we do?
I knew I had to make a conscious choice to change. And then I had to take action. The action was to look inward within myself and fix me first.
I started looking inside ME, where I could see that pain, unhappiness and discontent is attributed to some form of non-acceptance and/or resistance to what is actually happening. I realised that accepting and honouring the present moment, what is actually happening and allowing it to be, can give me a taste of inner freedom from outward conditions, and quite possible lead me to a state of inner peace.
So, how to look inward and achieve outward success?
I started with implementing five important Selfs .These helped me discover and express what I truly wanted. They lead to clear communication within and helped me avoid drama, regret, sadness and misunderstanding.
Knowing your strength and weaknesses is not as easy as it sounds. To understand our personal surpluses and deficits is not an option on our journey to personal greatness. If we want to drive our performance, then we must be able to manage our emotions in ways that energise and direct that drive.
Be self-aware instead of self-conscious.
We know it’s not healthy to speak against or gossip about others. It becomes even more destructive when we use words to speak against ourselves. I learned through NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) that Self-affirmation is a matter of choosing what we focus on. Would you allow others to talk to you in a negative or bad way? hell no, we would avoid them, so why do we degrade ourselves, sometimes subliminally. Let a decision be your choice.
Be self-affirming instead of self-degrading.
If you are waiting to be motivated by someone else, personal mastery will avoid you. Always giving your best is an inside job. Some days are better than others, but give your best every day. Anything less than that leads to a thin life and ultimately, regret. Motivation is the underlying reason why a person does or doesn’t do something.
Be self-motivated instead of self-absorbed.
Knowing where you end and others begin is the key to healthy living. You have to understand that when people get together, they create an emotional force field. When we self-differentiate, we take responsibility for who and where we are. Responsibility means we have the ability to respond. This powerful skill gives us increased choices and freedoms. It strengthens our immune system to the opinions and actions of others.
Practice self-differentiation instead of self-pity.
There’s a reason why the airline’s safety instructions tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. You’ll be no good to them without it. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Be self-loving instead of self-serving.
It is Up to You
It is up to you to be your biggest fan. Let go of the self-criticism and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Any reinforcement you receive from others on the great job you did will just be icing on the cake.