We all want to be happy. Yet my idea of happiness may be different from yours, and yours is probably unlike someone else’s. Although it is supposed to be the state of mind that we all desire, if you asked a politician, a scientist, a psychologist, a young kid, and an enlightened saint what happiness is, you’d get completely different perspectives on the subject.
The idea of happiness covers a wide scope of emotions that range from a sense of relief or security to absolute inner peace. It is different for each one of us, not only because we may be at different stages in our lives, but also because most of us are confused about what we truly want in life.
You may think, “Oh, if only I had… [fill in the blank], I’d be happy.” And you could fill in the blank with “money,” “a partner,” “recognition,” “a house of my own,” “a job,” and so on. But is this what would really make you happy? And would it make you happy right now or in the future, for the next few years or better yet, for the rest of your life?
Yes, happiness is fleeting. It comes and goes. Plus, it changes as you get older, and it acquires different meanings as you grow emotionally and spiritually. It teases you, peeking from time to time to make you reflect and gain a little more clarity about what you really want—by creating contrast with what you do not enjoy.
For instance, if you are just falling in love, you are as happy as can be and that state of mind puts you on top of the world. A year or two later, in the same relationship, with the same person, once the love hormones have faded, well, not so much… You go back to normal. You may still be in love, but it certainly doesn’t feel the same. And you may start missing feeling “high.”
Is Your Life a Ferris Wheel or a Roller Coaster?
It’s the natural flow of life: it goes up and down, up and down. It seems nearly impossible to always remain on top, but the tendency to remain on the lower fluctuations and become jaded is pretty strong in most people. Why? Because moving upward—whether we’re talking about emotions, visibility, or awareness—requires more effort than remaining in the lower states, which cover a common emotional comfort zone (aka “comfort box”). This is where the ego-mind keeps the control and makes us circle around everything that we perceive as wrong or missing.
As long as we remain there, we’re submissive: we settle, we self-efface, we sacrifice—our dreams, aspirations, talents, goals, freedom, and so on. We trade our time and energy for less than what we really want, and we learn to behave according to other people’s needs. Then we justify our behavior with the belief that we’re “good,” “generous,” or “spiritual.”
We may very well be all that, except that if we leave ourselves out of the equation, then the shadow side of those good qualities shows up to make us feel unappreciated, angry, and resentful. And there goes our happiness: out the window.
Remaining in that lower sense of self prevents you from gaining clarity about what you truly want in life, because even if familiar, it gets pretty fuzzy and mucky. It may seem comfortable, but it’s ambiguous and wishy washy, and it keeps your vibrational energy on “whatever” mode. So you get a “whatever” kind of life experiences, which are probably not going to make you very happy. If you lack the clarity and direction to set your creative energy in motion, it won’t be able to shape anything different than what you have at the moment.
Now, at some point it may begin to feel too constricting and uncomfortable, and you will start questioning it, wondering about new possibilities. So you will either consciously set about to find them, or you will unconsciously bring events to shatter your comfort box and you simply have to make the leap and move toward something new. Of course, you can always try avoiding any changes by buffering your feelings with drugs or addictions, but that’s the kind of story that leaves no room for happiness.
Three Keys To a More Fulfilling Life
I believe that absolutely everyone needs 3 things in life to make it meaningful and fulfilling. These are: experience, growth, and contribution. You need experiences to understand and participate in the world. Some of those experiences may include things like traveling, finding love, making money, owning a house, learning music, or having kids.
Others may be about rejection and betrayal, or losing people and things, dealing with health issues, or going through divorce. Yet every experience has value and purpose, even if it may be hard to see it clearly at times. You grow as a result of your experiences, as you are able to reach higher levels of awareness and understanding (of the world and yourself).
This growing process allows you to set clearer goals and expectations. If those remain stagnant and don’t evolve over time, it means you’re not really growing, you’re just getting older. Growth comes from the natural inner drive to find happiness, which in truth is your essential nature. So it entails mustering the courage to be honest and express who you are and how you perceive and do things. It’s being able to remove the cloak of invisibility and taking responsibility for everything that makes you who YOU are.
When you are ready to honestly see and appreciate yourself, you are also ready to make a contribution to your community and the world: to leave your energetic footprint. And the impact and depth of your contribution will vary according to what you chose to experience this lifetime; it is not a competition and doesn’t require anyone’s approval. It is an agreement between your human experience and your soul that is meant to bring you fulfillment and satisfaction: to connect you to who YOU really are—true happiness.
A Quick Reflection and Exploration of Your Soul Blueprint
Here’s a simple exercise for you to explore this. Grab a piece of paper and give yourself only 90 seconds to answer each of the following questions (time them!). Let the answers flow without censoring or over thinking, so you can move past the ego-mind and get to the truth of what would make you happy. Ready? Here they are:
- What do you want to experience?
- How do you want to grow?
- What do you want to contribute?
Remember, it doesn’t matter where you are at right now or how “unfeasible” your ideas may seem, just give yourself permission to express what comes to you without judgment. What’s important here is to reflect on and explore what you want in life, what would give it more meaning and purpose according to YOU, regardless of what others are saying or doing. You create your own reality with your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, so I encourage you to focus on those that make you happy and keep you happy.
I’d love to hear about your experience with this exercise, so please leave a comment below, and as always, contact me if you would like to gain clarity and direction for your dreams, goals and aspirations, or the support and accountability you need to fully commit to living a soul guided life (or creating an empowering business). Isn’t it time for you to live a life that makes you happy, on your terms, with no apologies, and to contribute what only YOU can?
© 2013 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.