The warmth of the sun and hanging out with my husband on holidays makes me feel good, it makes me happy. I like to feel happy!
I don’t live on a beach and my husband works away so if I leave my happiness to sun and hubby I’d be pretty gosh darn miserable. And I have been. It’s easy to be happy when we are in our element, but how do we up level our happiness and energy in day-to-day life?
It’s an interesting question, one that marketers capitalize on by promoting happiness as an outcome of actions taken. Actions that all too often include overspending, overeating, over partying, among other things. But is happiness out there – can it be bought, touched, eaten or drank?
Should we expect a “happiness pill” to come on the market soon? Some would say it’s already here. I remember when my doctor told me he thought needed a “happiness pill”, as if it would be the cure to my worldly problems.
Where Does Happiness Come From?
Happiness comes from within. It’s unexplainable, but the best word I can find to describe it is a feeling of joy, of balance, of congruency.
This morning, as I did the dishes my son shared what they’re learning about the Canadian Political System and what the various parties stand for, I felt it. When I’m in nature with the kids or walking our new dog, I feel it. As I write this I’m aware of the internal glow that warms me from the inside. Happiness feels warm, safe, and inviting.
Feeling Conflicted Kills Happiness.
I love my family and believe one of my most important roles is being a mother, yet this belief and desire has left me conflicted. As a professional working woman in the United Nations, a career I adored (read my background here and here), I worked long hours and had a fully-time Nanny to help with the kids. At least, that’s what I told myself. The reality was, the nanny raised the kids while I exchanged time for money and a sense of personal value. This was a point of internal conflict for me.
When the kids were babies it was great having a nanny, but as they got older I became permanently conflicted. Anyone could love a baby, but kids need more than love. They need guidance, values, and life skills so that will know how to study, cook, clean, and be good people.
As they grow older, kids got involved in activities and I wanted to be there to see the soccer games, the running races, the Mother’s day presentations. This is where my happiness factor started to slide.
One day I was leaving work early to attend a Mother’s day presentation at the school. My boss called just as I was about to leave and told me I had to choose work or being a mother. “You can’t have both,” he told me. He had no children and clearly had no idea of what he was asking of me.
I left work with a heavy heart to attend the presentation, but I wasn’t fully there. My concern about letting the boss down flooded my mind. Instead of separating work from home (tell me a woman who can do this!), I stewed on his words throughout the presentation, and for many years after.
This internal strife came to an end when the stress and lifestyle imbalance tipped me to the point of having to stand in front of the mirror and ask myself what I really wanted. To be a career women or to raise my kids. I wanted both.
I chose the kids and asked for a package to leave. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Because while I was out of balance and not happy, I had the trappings of success – externally everything looked great – a good marriage, beautiful kids, a successful career, a nanny, a beautiful home, luxurious holidays, etc.
I’m not going to tell you I was instantly happy, or that my health miraculously turned around. All of it did turn around but not before I went on a journey of self-discovery and of reacquaintance with myself. But what I came to appreciate along this journey was this happiness isn’t out there.
Happiness is up to you!
It’s the age old conflict we know what do to, but bringing ourselves to do it is raft with excuses, deflections, even judgements about why it can’t be done. If you’d like a little more happiness in your life, stand in front of your mirror and ask yourself these questions.
5 Happiness Questions:
- What is important to me?
- When I’m at the end of my days and look back, at my life, what do I want my legacy to be?
- What do I want to have accomplished?
- What will I have contributed during my life?
- How will I know my life mattered?
If your answers aren’t what you’re currently doing, don’t get scared. You can shift your life to become happy, the first step is to know what will bring you happiness. These questions will help you come to know yourself and understand what’s next!
What you focus on grows, write your answers down and look at them daily.
Happiness isn’t an exact science as life has a way of ebbing and flowing so that we are constantly course correcting and shifting to keep it in balance.
Capture them on paper, keep them close at hand and, review them daily. I have mine on my mirror in the bathroom, this way I see them when I wake and before I sleep. This action helps keep life progressing in the direction you desire. It’s simple we either creating more of what we want or more of what we don’t want by keeping your eye on what makes you happy, you’ll bring happiness into your life daily.
If you struggle with happiness shoot me a message here, I’m happy to jump on the phone and support you in strategizing how you can up level your happiness. Often it’s little shifts in our thoughts or behaviours that can have a big impact.
To your health and happiness,