One of my all time favourite books is the top 5 regrets of the dying by Bronnie Ware
Number 5 on her list is… “I wish I had let myself be happier”
That’s a regret that none of use ever want to feel at the end. It’s a gratuitous waste of a life.
We are the reason we are not happy. Which as terrible as that sounds, is actually a good thing. Because it means we have the power to create our happiness as well as destroy it.
We are responsible for our own life experience, including our happiness.
We can’t expect our partners, friends and family to be the source of our joy.
It’s an unrealistic burden to put onto others and will also leave your happiness at the mercy of someone else, and that is never a good place to be.
Many of us live on autopilot, never thinking about the impact that our decisions have on our own happiness.
Years ago I struggled with anxiety.
I never wanted to feel anything other than happy.
I was completely oblivious to my anxiety. Even though I was suffering with the physical effects of it through panic attacks and debilitating irritable bowel syndrome.
I was too afraid to feel the uncomfortable emotions.
So I numbed myself with false positively created by drinking too much, and being too busy. My joy was usually purchased through things.
I looked to the outside world to tell me what happiness was.
I followed what everyone else told me to do to be happy.
Of course it didn’t work.
The more I numbed the bigger my anxiety grew.
I now know I created this with my thinking.
Eventually, though therapy I cured my anxiety.
As a result my happiness skyrocketed.
I learnt to listen to myself, and ask what I really wanted.
I now regularly question myself, I check in with how I’m really feeling, and I create my own version of happiness through what I genuinely want and need.
You can do the same too by asking great questions:
Why do I do the things I do?
Is it routine?
Is it what’s expected?
Is it what makes others happy?
Is it because its what I really want to be doing?
What does real genuine happiness feel like?
Where do I feel it in my body?
When am I at my happiest?
What saps my happiness?
Write a list of all the things you love to do that make you happy.
From small things through to large things, aim for at least 10.
You can add to the list over time, keep it relevant.
Schedule at least one thing from your list
And do it everyday, it could be something small like drinking a delicious cup of coffee, or something large like booking a trip to the Maldives. But make it a consistent practice and keep flexing that genuine happiness muscle everyday..