For many people, happiness is something they think happens due to outside forces. If I get the grades I want. If I have a job where I am successful. If I have a relationship. If I am thinner. If people are proud of me.
I call it the happiness hamper. The place where you go to dig through all the things to find one that you think will make you happy. Trying on different ones to see which will make you happy at that moment. All of these kinds of happiness are dependent on someone or something else.
True happiness can only come if you are happy with yourself – with nothing added by anyone or anything else. Just you, in your own flesh, looking in a mirror and saying that YOU make you happy.
People that seek happiness outside of themselves from other people or things are very often disappointed and decidedly unhappy. If your happiness resides in your getting a certain job or making a certain amount of money and that doesn’t happen as you hope it will you then feel sad and as if you are now not successful or worthy.
If you seek happiness in relationships and your relationship does not work out…you feel sad and as if you somehow lacking because that person did not choose to stay with you.
If happiness does not start with you how then can you expect to be happy with anything else that you do or with anyone else. If you inherently find fault with yourself and are not wholeheartedly happy with just you – how can you expect that you would be able to be happy in some other situation? You are still the same person are you not? The same one you are not happy with. That does not change because your situation changes.
So many times my clients when I talk about being happy with themselves bring up all the trauma and suffering from their life. They believe they cannot be happy with themselves because of all the beliefs and responses they have to this trauma – that other people and other situations taught them. But they believe it, internalize it, live it with words like “my fault”, “not worthy”, “not valued”, “not smart”, “not pretty” and on and on.
I should have a sign in my office with the following words: Repetition and Reinforcement. I say it often enough. I believe it absolutely that it is the only way to change how you think about what you feel. You must repeat, repeat, repeat for as many times as is necessary. And then you must reinforce by repeating hundreds, millions, hundreds of millions until your brain believes what you are saying. Until the negative things you have internalized are gone – replaced.
Start small, say it once a day, have it written and placed next to where you brush your teeth every morning. Say it out loud looking at yourself in a mirror and smile when you do it.
I AM HAPPY WITH MYSELF.
Do it once a day for four weeks. Then do it twice a day for three weeks. Then three times a day for three weeks. It takes 21 consecutive days of doing something to make a habit that sticks. Then do it four times a day for three weeks. Ever increasing until it becomes a running monologue in your brain. And smile every time you say it – smiling releases endorphins, endorphins make us feel happier.
Happiness starts with YOU.
Until next time be well,