Happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey. You may have heard this quote before and who said is not really important, but what is important is how you say it to yourself. Do you actually believe the quote? Or is your conscious telling you that somehow it makes sense and for logical reasons you should agree that happiness is a journey. The problem that a lot of us have with life is that what we know to be logical doesn’t always match up with how we feel. The inner struggle we have from day to day to marry our emotions and logic can cause a stress on every aspect of our lives. This is when we have to take a step back and take the time to magnify the positives in our life, highlight what’s important to us and make a commitment to ourselves to enjoy every day, one day at a time.
Being upset about what you haven’t accomplished, have not started or do not have can be frustrating. Thoughts racing through your head, pressure from your family or friends, or spouse. Even while reading this all of the specifics of your situation are crowding your mind and leaving you uneasy. Realizing that happiness is a journey starts with the decision you make to take a step back and look at your life from the outside. By this I mean you have to take a deep breath, meditate if you will and clear your head. Taking control of your emotions and later on, your life, will require you to be able to stop at a moment’s notice and remove yourself from the situation to be able to make well thought out decisions.
Once you are able to remove yourself grab a blank sheet of paper and something to write with. Take 2 minutes to write down everything in your life that makes you happy. Try to avoid listing tangible objects. Stick to memories, people and moments you have overcame, difficult obstacles or triumphed opposition.
When you are finished take another deep breath and relish in your list. No matter how short or long it is there is at least something on it and for that you have a reason to be thankful. So often in today’s world we get caught up in moving fast paced, providing for our families, and building our accolades that we don’t take the time to slow down and enjoy the things that truly make us happy. This sounds corny, we know, but it’s true! When was the last time you sat down, by yourself, just for a few minutes and took the time to relive the positive things that have happened to you? We don’t! We live, good things happen. We celebrate in the moment and then we leave that feeling behind only to chase new ventures and feats. We should enjoy the positive moments over and over again for years to come. Who says the happiness should end when we graduate, or get a promotion or get married?
Now that you have magnified the positives in your life it’s time to think about what’s important to you. Not material things. It is very risky to associate material objects with happiness which is why in these exercises we shy away from including those things in our list. When you think about what’s important to you your mind should focus in on things like values, maybe a life mantra or traditions that have been in your family for generations. Rules that you govern your life by. Take a few moments to add what’s important to you on a list of its own on the same piece of paper we used in the last exercise. Knowing what’s important to you and writing them down are two different actions and thus create two different results in your life. Simply knowing is just an acute awareness that there are importance’s, that these traditions or values exist. Writing down what is important to you is a decree in your life. Having these on paper is a declaration that not only are these values real but that they belong to you. You take ownership in ensuring that your life is lived in the light of what you believe and that your actions are a representation of what you say.
Now that you have a written record of the positives in your life and what is important to you, it is time to make a commitment to relish in your list every day. If only I was actually talking about the topping, we add to our hot dogs. Maybe life would be easier then. Fortunately for both you and I life does actually get better than a foot-long hot dog and learning to relish in your own glory is much better a taste. The definition of “Relish” is; enjoy greatly. “He was relishing his moment of glory”, enjoy, delight in, love, adore, take pleasure in, appreciate, and savor. Every one of these adjectives is a perfect description of how you should look at your current state of being. When you wake up in the morning you should pause and relish the life you have been given. Even if things are not perfect, or how you would like or hope them to be taking the time to remember all of the reasons you are great will empower you to seize the day. These pausing moments are not only for when you wake up. You can take a moment any time during the day to relish.
For a few minutes write yourself a little note. This note should assert the importance of reading your list every day and taking time to relish. The goal here is to capture the determination and excitement you are feeling now in the note so that later on when you’re feeling anything but determined and excited you can read the words you wrote to yourself and feel encouraged.
Happiness doesn’t happen overnight or at the blink of an eye so don’t expect that after reading this you will be a new person. Be okay and at peace with the fact that this is a stepping stone to you being able to enjoy the moment of life you are in right now. Even though we focused on the positive, what’s important to you and making a commitment to relish doesn’t mean that all of the hardships you have gone through don’t play a part in your happiness as well. Kanye West once said “Everything I’m not made me everything I am” and in this instance you are the sum of ALL the things that have happened to you and the fact that you are able to read this now and look back on your life is a testament to how far you have come and how far you will go no matter what the world may throw at you.