Shades of Happiness
We often measure the success of our lives by whether or not we’re happy enough, taking the slightest lull in our lives as a sign that something is wrong. However, those long stretches of “middle” are often where we are en route to our greatest goals and along the way we are processing who we are and deciding exactly where we want to go in our future. If you’re feeling just okay about your life, or maybe you’re frustrated you haven’t reached the stage you want to be, consider the idea that you’re exactly where you should be, right now.
Even this day and this moment, right now, is just a part of your road to get you where you want to go. Think of it as a rare middle in life: nothing is wrong or too late or less-than. No “should” applies, because this is your life and no one else’s, and it’s all just part of living. If you’re feeling stuck, don’t fret - your next stage simply hasn’t arrived on the horizon yet but you’re already walking there. You’ve just got to keep your eyes on the horizon. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, focus on listening to where you want to go. Expand yourself as often as possible and traverse this time with open ears and open eyes. Stay focused on actions and what you’re heading to right now, at this very moment – don’t stop to dwell in a vortex of negative energy. You life is in motion at this very point in time: you are changing and you are growing. If you’re asking, “But why am I not happy right now?” What you might not realize is you can be happy with your life at this very moment. How? With deliberate attention. It comes down to reorienting your focus, again and again.
Happiness is a decision you make. It's the choice you make about how you will approach your life, and because it is a mindset, it can be constant– even when your life in literal terms is not what you would deem as "ideal" for whatever reason. Because, like a color scale, happiness is made up of your approach to your experiences in their entirety. It is not the result of a single circumstance. Happiness is an inner awareness you have – of how spectacular you are, and your life is. It is also your awareness of your commitment to live in a certain way.
If you find yourself judging a static state of feelings - maybe you can't tell if you're happy because it's less dramatic than what you see in TV. If this is the case, know that you can shift your appreciation for this moment as it is right now. Not all days are meant to feel overwhelming - but they can still be blissful and loved and valued by you. Just as some colors are brighter than others, or more talked about because they come with a chemical thrill, some days in your life are still on the highway that leads to your future goal – way up in the mountains, still yet to be known and achieved by you.
The richness of your life only comes from the emotional palette in its entirety – from the dark to middle to light. Life shouldn’t be a constant gush of euphoria, for that would get boring, and it’d mean you’d lose complete perspective on the true weight and value of your experiences. Happiness doesn’t always feel like someone threw you a surprise party – it comes in a variety of shades to match the array of emotional experiences you have throughout life, and without that wide array, it is no longer as full or rich. Though you might regret having painful emotions, or going through lulls or difficulties, that is a feeling you get to feel - and that means you are living. You are present and experiencing the depth life offers you. You should feel proud, and embrace it as a testament to your life's richness as it only feeds your capacity for love and happiness as a whole.
If you can’t help but hate on yourself and where you’re at, I offer this as a signpost to your life-success. As silly as it may sound, to be able to function as a responsible, reliable person who doesn’t give in to the impulse to be a helpless child, represents a great amount of inner strength and maturity. You are a successful individual with a strong foundation, and you should be proud of this ability – as it’s something built through discipline and honest effort. Trying and working at anything at all is HUGE! You have the makings of greatness already in practice! Right now, though the scenery seems less glorious than your impatience tells you, you are on your way to everything you want in life! All you have to do is keep growing. Know that you will reap the rewards of the stability you foster and as you progress through life it will promote your happiness in ways you cannot imagine. And as you continue to grow, you will grow at faster and faster speeds. Almost like a cartoon snowball barreling down a mountain: the longer you try your best the more momentum you build, and the easier it gets.
Sometimes when we don’t feel enough is happening in our lives, we don’t see any markers or win any trophies, we get anxiety. We judge ourselves with should’s about others that have no worth or relevance to us and our happiness. When we get antsy about what’s not happening is also what can lead to giving in to impatient and destructive behaviors, which only move us backwards on our path. To maintain a state of inner calm, accept the up’s and down’s, the middle’s, and just be – that is what builds a launch-pad of a foundation. That stability is what gives you the footing you need to grow into your “best” self.
If you are feeling stuck and you’re getting an itch to do something destructive, replace that instinct with a positive action that broadens your horizon in any direction. If you want to “feel” something feel it in a context that grows your person and adds a new facet to your life experience. Take a new class that takes you waay the heck out of your comfort zone. Try a new kind of exercise just to do it – try one you think you’ll be bad at! Whatever it is, choose something that will don you a new perspective – something unfamiliar and exciting that “you” would “never” do. Know that any feelings of anxiety you might have about not being where you “should” today, will pass. Don’t judge the feelings or give them rule over your person, because they don’t deserve this much weight. Just use your smartest thinking and move toward the general direction of your greater goals in life. When the perfect change is ready to happen, it will happen. You will see it clearly, it will feel right and easy, and then you’ll just do.
When you make a decision to be positive and act as your best self, what happens is you stop hiding from your true abilities. From the outside in, you rise to the occasion. When you encounter challenges, you conquer them and experience dramatic growth. When others are petty, you rise above it. When you could do the minimum, you go for what you know you’re capable of: which is excellent. It all starts with a decision about yourself. And that decision becomes your reality. You unlock secret powers inside yourself that catapult you toward the life you really want.
A happy life is a decision you get to make. You can decide to live as your best self. To grow above. To be kind and forgiving. To eat healthier at lunch. To stop wasting energy on what’s negative, and instead look for solutions in your power to change. You get to decide all of those things everyday. And once you commit to that decision, the rest is easy. When you stumble, you simply remind yourself of who you are. And you try harder. And with that practice, life falls into place. Just because today isn’t adorned with all the bells and whistles of a cheering crowd and a golden statue with your name on it, doesn’t mean it’s not great. And it doesn’t mean you’re not a success. Smile and know that you are on the right path, even if you didn’t recognize it at first. Just focus on where you’re headed. Because things move quickly when you aspire to be your best.
Sending you my love and vibes of positivity.. Smile! xox Sarah
Featured image via tamara noland