I’ll feel better when… I’ve lost weight, I’ve bought a house, I’ve got a promotion, I’ve got a new car, I’ve got more time, I’ve got new clothes, I’ve got way more money…
Until I get there, I’ll be over here struggling, beating myself up, depriving myself, falling on and off track of my goals, getting distracted by what I should be doing rather than what I want to be doing.
Prioritising the ‘stuff,’ the ‘outcome’ is what stops us from feeling good – it’s always something we strive for but never achieve because happiness isn’t an endpoint; happiness is something we create, work on, learn, practice, and build on a day-to-day basis.
I’ve seen this happen lots of times; as a coach, my intention is always to support and empower women to achieve a life they love, and when I ask them what it is they really want, the most common answer is they want to be happy, but what always follows is “I’ll feel better when…XYZ.”
My coaching role is to support my clients’ well-being, not just to focus on the outcome of achieving one goal. By doing this work, I’ve learned that this self-care act changes a person at a much deeper psychological level. A shift happens when we dedicate the time to look after ourselves in ways that we’ve not before.
By focusing on the internal stuff, our healing, letting go of limiting beliefs, self-compassion, you start to feel better without needing the ‘stuff,’ you begin to feel good about yourself and what you already have.
You’re enough as you are today to be happy. You may want or need to make changes in your life, but not allowing yourself to be satisfied until you’ve accomplished them isn’t going to make you feel better when you get there. You’ve heard of the phrase “trust the process” this is it. Being happy now doesn’t hinder you in the process; if anything, it will help you! Happiness isn’t something that happens overnight, so even if you wait until things are perfect, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll feel any happier. Finding happiness during the process is going to make you more comfortable whether life is perfect or not.
We tend to tell stories about ourselves that are not only false but actually hinder our ability to change. We assume we lack relationship skills, are not pretty enough, are not organised enough, are not disciplined enough, not smart enough, or good enough to get a dream life. These limiting beliefs and opinions we hold about ourselves stop us from achieving the life we want to live. To be happier, you will need to consider what views you have about yourself and start taking steps to re-writing those stories.
We tend to forget how long change takes and often get frustrated or demotivated when we don’t see the results of our efforts almost immediately. When we adopt a new way of living, it will take time to build up new habits and routines, and as is life, nothing will ever run as smoothly as we would like it to, be prepared to make mistakes and to fall back into bad habits, you’re a human being this is normal! Be kind and compassionate and keep going.
Taking personal responsibility for your happiness is the only way you’ll experience genuine happiness. You can’t wait for someone or something to make you happy – happiness really is an inside job. You have the choice and power to choose in every moment, own the results of your choices, intended or unintended.
Adopting an attitude of curiosity by letting go of what you know and being open to what you don’t will open new pathways to find out what makes you happy. We all have beliefs, assumptions, and past experiences that can limit our views. There are endless possibilities, so be open to finding them out.
Your environment makes a significant impact on your ability to be happy, are the people, places, and things around you helping you or hindering you?
Consider who you spend most of your time with? Are the conversations leaving you feeling positive or negative? Where do you spend most of your time during the day? And, what are the things you use regularly? Making minor tweaks and changes in your environment can make a significant impact on your day-to-day happiness.
Even when you think you don’t have it all, we can feel better from right where we are. It might feel ‘wishy washy’ and ‘silly’ to begin with, but you will need to step outside of what’s familiar and comfortable for you if what you’re doing isn’t making you feel good. Switching to a happier mode and reaching for better thoughts takes practice, but soon enough, your mind will gravitate to the brighter side of life.
Let’s remember that we’re all human beings, we’re complex, messy, and that part of being human is to experience all of our emotions, the good and the bad. Sometimes you’re going to be able to maintain a level of happiness during the challenging times, and sometimes you’re not, and that is OK, show yourself compassion during these times and don’t give up or think you can’t do it; you can, it might be hard sometimes, but you can do hard things.
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