KENTUCKY (5/25/13) – In my last article I shared with you a dream that I had that made a lasting impression on me. My dream consisted of seeing a pretty lady walking down a path in a beautiful white dress. As she was walking, mud was being thrown at her from all directions. Eventually, the mud completely covered her. When I woke up from this dream, my inner voice told me that the woman represented the beauty of her true self as she was walking peacefully along the path. The mud that was thrown on her represented all the negativity and false belief that came at her in life. As she stood there covered, she had allowed the mud to saturate her beauty.
Throughout my “Clearing the Fog” series, I want to discuss three false beliefs that can ruin the beauty of our true selves. It seems that sometimes we go through life in a fog. Things are unclear and we are not able to see things for what they really are. My intent for these articles is to clear the fog of false belief and to help uncover some of the lies that you may have come to believe are truth. So you can come closer to being the real you.
This week, I will discuss the false belief of conditions to happiness.
I use to think the following:
“I’ll finally be happy when I get married.”
“I’ll be happy if I have children.”
“I’ll be happy when this person loves me the way I think they should.”
“I’ll be happy when I make a certain amount of money.”
“I’ll be happy when I buy a house.”
Does any of these statements sound familiar? During my young adulthood I was on a constant pursuit of happiness. I just knew that once I gained this amount of money or that relationship, then I’d finally be happy. Please don’t get me wrong, I love my marriage and all the people in my life; but gaining this did not stop troubles from arising or having feelings of sadness and anger.
The false belief that we have accepted as truth is that we must obtain certain things in order to be happy. We believe that tangible items can make us feel good permanently or that a certain relationship will make us forever joyful.
How can an object, like a house; that is made of brick and wood, make us permanently happy? Doesn’t the newness eventually wear off? Do we get desensitized to whatever we have?
Then what happens after the excitement of the new thing wears off? We start to feel “average” again. We then go and try to find our next “high” in something else. It is a never ending cycle.
Or, we find the “perfect” mate or friend. Things go great until the day they disappoint us or don’t meet up to our expectations. Then we become depressed and feel that our lives will never be the same again.
The problem with this belief is that we are looking outside of ourselves in order to be content. The false belief (mud) that is being thrown at us is that we cannot find true happiness unless it comes in the form of things or situations. By believing this untruth, we are relying on the impermanent and ever changing to fulfill us. Situations change. There are not very many things that are guaranteed in this life. There are people who lose their jobs every day. People lose their houses in natural disasters every day. If you looked at material possessions to make you happy, then what happens if you lose it?
People change. Everyone has disappointed another human being at some point in their lives. If you are totally dependent upon a relationship to make you happy, then what happens if they change and you were to grow apart?
Your well-being is too important to place it in the hands of situations that can change so easily.
So, what can we do instead? We can place our happiness in that does not leave us ourselves. Here is what I have learned from my own life. I have learned that I cannot control many things that happen to me. I cannot control if the economy hits rock bottom and I lose my job. I cannot make anyone love me. I cannot control the weather. What I can control is my attitude and mindset toward what life throws my way. Controlling your reactions to life’s actions is a practice. There is no magic wand that is swept across you one day and then BAM, you have it (I wish it were that easy). Choosing to be content no matter what is a happening that takes patience and time to create it into a habit.
Contentment and happiness walks hand in hand. Here are some thought processes to help you achieve happiness within oneself:
1. Why do you have to wait to be happy? What exactly are you waiting for? Is tomorrow even promised? Why not chose to be happy now?
2. Have you believed that tangible items can make you happy just to find out that you are still unhappy? If so, picture yourself at the end of your life. What is most important to you at this aspect of your life? Did material things come to mind?
3. Do you have low self-esteem? Make a list of all the qualities about yourself that you like. Now, focus your attention on the good qualities about you. It is just as easy to focus on the good as it is the bad, right? If there is a quality about you that you would like to change, then why not take action to change it? You have to learn how to love yourself and your own company.
4. Practice gratitude. Every night before bed, think of the things in your life that you are grateful for. This practice has been a lifesaver for me. It has helped me to see my life as a blessing just the way it is. It is something to be proud of and cherish.
5. Do you realize that there is an upside and a downside to nearly everything? Whether you are married, single, a parent, childless, rich, or poor; you will experience stress from time to time. Even if a person was living “the American dream”, this doesn’t exempt him from troubles.
If you feel like you have been on a journey to find happiness from the outside of yourself with no luck, then what makes you think that if you continue down the same road you will get different results? Once I grasped that happiness comes from within, it felt like a mighty weight had been lifted from me. I didn’t have to have this or that. I didn’t have to always be in control of everything. I just had to be. Be yourself. Be still and know that life is a sweet journey to enjoy.
Stop waiting and start living!
I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time. - Anna Freud
Wishing you happiness in this moment and always,
I am thinking about starting a once a month internet radio show. The show will consist of discussing some of the topics of my column along with other inspiring topics. We would go more in depth than what I do in the column and also have guest speakers and call-ins.
Would you listen in?
Click the link below and let me know!
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