When you ask people what the one thing in life is they would really love to have, you will receive many diverse answers. The answers range from money, a beautiful face, a luxury yacht or a better job all the way to world peace, but the answer which crops up most often is simply "to be happy".
Most people believe that happiness can be found in needs fulfilled. Some people are of the opinion that a better job or a bigger house will make them happy. A friend of mine believed that if she were to drop two dress sizes happiness would be sure to follow. Many believe that finding a life partner will make them happy, while others think they are doomed to a life of misery because of an unhappy childhood, physical ailments or misfortune.
We equate getting things or achieving certain goals with happiness, however very often happiness has little to do with receiving, but much more with letting go. There are five very important things we have to let go of for Happiness to settle into our lives. You see we have to make space for Happiness. Our lives are often so cluttered with junk that there is no room for Happiness to move in.
First of all we have to let go of Yesterday. Our yesterdays are filled with many special memories and these wonderful memories we should celebrate and cherish, however, there are many things from our yesterdays which we need to let go of. These are the mistakes, the resentments, the disappointments, the heartaches and the fears. When we carry these with us into the future we become burdened with regret and anger. We relive the pain and anxiety of the past and we are unable to appreciate the joy of the present moment. No matter how much time we spend mulling over the past it cannot change a thing about it, but it can steal our joy. We cannot grab hold of happiness as long as we are holding onto the past.
Secondly, we have to let go of fear. Fear is a natural instinct to protect us from dangerous situations. It is ingrained in our reptilian brain where our fight or flight response comes from. When we are faced with real life threatening situations our natural fear response can save us from disaster. However, today many of our fears are "socially transmitted" fears, fears that have been passed on to us by our ancestors or imagined fears. Our fears are quite varied. We could fear ridicule, rejection, failure, heartbreak or judgement. Many of our fears stem from our past experiences and our fragile ego's. Sometimes we are unaware of our own fears. Therefore we need to take stock of ourselves and our situation and dig into the well where fear is lurking. Write down what it is that you are afraid of. The only way to rid ourselves of fear is to face the monster and to stare it down. You will be surprised to find that it is not as big or as real as you imagined it to be.
Next you need to let go of the reasons why you cannot be happy. These reasons or excuses are deeply settled in our own self-worth. I used to believe that I have to do something good or extraordinarily great before I may allow myself to be happy. I believed that happiness was for other people, not me. Our own self-imposed rules limit our access to happiness. The housewife who only allows herself a facial once all her chores are taken care of at the end of the week never gets to the spa, for when are our chores ever done. The business woman rushing from meeting to meeting, secretly yearning to take an art retreat, believes that the business and everyone else's life is more important than her own happiness. These are only excuses because secretly we believe that we do not deserve to be happy.
Then there is the Inner Critic. Enemy number one of Happiness. We can never take pleasure in a job well done as long as the Inner Critic stands in judgement over us. As long as he rules our thoughts we are subjected to his harsh and ridiculous judgments. The Inner Critic is not a friend and it is never on our side. It is incapable of giving us unbiased feedback and its main purpose is to make us feel inadequate and small. As long as we listen to our Inner Critic and allow it to stand on its soap box and spout negativity we will be unable to see or hear Happiness' welcoming call.
Lastly, we have to let go of other people's opinions. Yes, they are entitled to their own opinions, but you are entitled to being yourself. Their opinions are theirs and not yours. You are a unique human being with your own unique way of doing things, thinking and abilities. Make peace with the fact that not everybody is going to like you or approve of you. So? The earth does not stop its rotation, life carries on. For every person who does not like you or approve of you or your way of doing things, there are at least two people who adore you, admire you and are happy to be guided by you. What is of much more importance is being the best version of yourself. It is much more important what we think of ourselves and the values we believe in.
When we implement these five points in our lives and we learn to let go we discover that Happiness is already residing in our home, he has just been waiting for us to notice him and embrace him. Go on then, let's be happy!
A final note: I have come across a book by Luminita D. Saviuc "15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy". It is available from Amazon and truly a worthwhile read. You can also visit her blog at https://www.purposefairy.com .