As published in Adventura Magazine
I hear many people in my practice tell me they can’t understand why they don’t feel happy. Immediately after that opening statement, they proceed to rattle off a litany of reasons why they should be happy: they tell me that they are successful, have a boyfriend and are at their ideal weight. Then they’ll ask, “What is wrong?”
The “aha” moment happens when they make the connection between outer happiness and inner happiness. It is very easy to awaken outer happiness associated with being with friends, shopping, alcohol, sex, travel and sports. But unless one has inner happiness, all those things are just distractions and an illusion of contentment. Hence the question, “What is wrong with me?”
We have all felt that nagging feeling of restlessness and melancholy but can’t quite put our finger on what is making us feel that way. We feel that way because we don’t have inner happiness. Inner happiness is feeling OK no matter what is going on around you. It is having the ability to keep things in perspective and to enjoy life versus living it. Inner happiness is what adds quality to every breath you take.
Celebrate your present season in life. We all go through “seasons,” but the trick to inner happiness is to enjoy and embrace the one you are presently in. Live in the present and choose to find the good, the lessons and the growth that it brings. Stop thinking of things in terms of the outcome but rather stay in the moment. Keeping your heart open and not letting it get hardened by life’s bumps in the road is difficult, but not impossible. When you are able to celebrate your present season, you are acknowledging where you are, knowing it is but a season with more seasons to follow. If you move from one season to another with the baggage from the previous one, you are only cheating and limiting yourself, which brings me to the second way to inner happiness.
Change your perspective. Shift your focus and view things differently. Look to what the future brings with anticipation and not apprehension. Don’t focus on what brings you sadness, but focus on what brings you joy. Don’t look for reasons to be offended or angry; instead, look for reasons to love. Remember, one will always find what he or she is looking for.
Your passion = your purpose. Nothing speaks to the heart more clearly than a feeling of purpose and doing what you are passionate about. Having a passion and purpose doesn’t always mean grandiose accomplishments; it’s more about what makes you feel alive and excited. If in the process you can tap into your creativity, which everyone possesses, you have truly struck gold.
Let go. Letting go is easier than holding onto something or someone whose time has gone. Holding on creates a struggle that prevents new things from finding their way to you. Letting go is also about being free and not trying to control situations and people. It’s about being you and letting others be themselves. By the same token, having a faith and belief that there is something greater than you enables you to let go of attempting to control an outcome and just let it be. Loosen your strings on things a bit and life will flow more easily.
Follow your heart. When you listen to that small, still voice in your soul and follow your heart, you will have no regrets. Figure out what makes you happy, take opportunities, be spontaneous and live your true, authentic self. Being your best and not someone else’s definition of that will bring you inner peace. And where there is inner peace, there is happiness.
Awaken your inner child. See the world through the eyes of a child. What a gift to give yourself in the ability to see the beauty of what is before you as if you were a child seeing it for the first time. Appreciate the awe of the setting sun, the colors and energy of a parade, the smell of the Christmas tree with its twinkling lights and the joy of snuggling with an animal. To be able to feel your face light up when you get a present or your heart sing when you decorate for the holidays is to be in
the world of a child. The lightness you experience and the warmth of the moment is what brings you that inner happiness. Relish the ability to not just look at something, but to actually see it. Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but take time to enjoy family, friends, food and traditions. Don’t let the frantic pace of life hurry you down the street but rather walk casually, stopping to smell the flowers and feel the grass beneath your feet. When you take time to slow down and actually feel the moment, you will be taking the first steps toward seeing this world through the eyes of a child.
And last, but certainly not least: be your own best friend. If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we are more compassionate, tolerant, forgiving and loving to our friends than we are to ourselves. Have a relationship with yourself just as you would a friend. Be protective, patient, loving. Do little things for yourself. Listen to your feelings and body and say, “I love you” on a daily basis.
Once you experience inner happiness, nothing will ever look or feel the same again. I invite you to step into this world—one that has always been there, you just never knew how to get there. Take this opportunity to change up your life and awaken your inner happiness, then hold on for an amazing ride.
Debbie Martinez is a certified life coach specializing in divorce and a Supreme Court certified family mediator with a private practice in Miami. For questions regarding life changes, relationships or divorce, call 305-984-5121 or visit thepowerofdivorcecoach.com.