The Pursuit of Happiness
We live in the land of the free. And one of the privileges that includes is the pursuit of happiness. Our founding fathers were very clever as they recognized that they couldn't guarantee happiness to all, just the guarantee to its pursuit. How we get there is on us. And they were right to put that responsibility on us because ultimately being happy is your responsibility.
We are now living in a demanding age where people want everything provided to them. A feeling of entitlement is rampant, but you can't legislate happiness. You have to find it on your own. True happiness comes from living in the moment. You’ve heard this a thousand times. It’s so easy to say and so hard to do. We carry emotional baggage with us. Most decisions we make are based on emotions, weighed down by all the past hurts we have endured. It’s this baggage from the past that keeps us off balance.
So how do we free ourselves from the ghosts of the past? Well, it‘s a process, a journey and like most journeys, it could be long and bumpy, with a few detours and flat tires. That emotional baggage can be heavy! That doesn't mean we shouldn’t start the journey. Starting takes one step - we can all handle one step.
Step one is gratitude. Make a list every morning when you wake up or just before you go to bed of at least 10 things for which you feel gratitude. They don’t have to be big things. Do you like your job? Your house? Your car? Did you finish one item on your to-do list? The laundry? The dishes? Do you have a family? Good health? If you’re not in good health, are you grateful for the doctor or nurse who is helping to treat you? Are your children in good health? Did your children have a good day in school? In their sports? Or with their friends? Did the teller at the bank smile at you today? Did you sail through all the lights on the way to work? Was the item you wanted on sale when you went to buy it? Was the sun shining? The breeze refreshing? Did you sleep well? Or better than last night? You’ll start to realize that what you have is pretty good. No need to look back.
But if you’re still not finding anything, you need to check to see if you’re surrounded by negativity: other people’s or your own. Negativity is magnetic. You can be pulled toward someone’s negative energy field, or you can be pulling in people to your own. Misery loves company, you know. But this type of company, you can do without.
Start paying attention to the people around you. Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time someone around you is negative, begins to sap your energy, or just starts to bum you out for some reason. And find an excuse to get away from them. Go over to the people who are happy. Draw their positive energy towards you. And snap that rubber band every time you’re the downer; when you’re the one complaining or focusing on the negative. You might be surprised to find out how many times you’re the source of the negative. Make a commitment to stop that behavior. Start talking about what’s going well….remember your gratitude list.
The first day you might feel awkward, but it will get easier every day.
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