You want to be happy. You’re dreaming of being happy. With your whole body and soul, you yearn to find happiness … true lasting happiness … the happiness that you know deep down in your heart has the potential to set you free.
Yet, when you’re put to the test of what you’re willing to do to be happier, you throw up one objection after the next. You put limits on what you’re willing to risk and how far you’re willing to venture outside your comfort zone.
Maybe you’re not happy with your job or your career choice, yet you’re afraid to take the step to find another one. Perhaps you wish you had more love in your life, yet you stay home night after night, never varying from your oh-so-comfortable routine. Or, maybe you long to live in financial freedom, yet you fail to break the patterns that could help remedy your situation … such as going back to school to get more training or eliminating spending on non-essentials that would release you from your debt trap.
What Would It Really Take to Be Happier Right Now?
Are you lazy? Heck no, at least I doubt that’s it. Are you frightened to make a change? Bingo! That’s the ultimate truth for most people.
We get so comfortable with our habits, even when they’re no longer serving us, that we simply don’t want to risk taking a leap; We fear that rather than leading us to greater happiness, we’ll experience greater pain instead. So we stay stuck in the middle … we might even make excuses for why there’s nothing we can do about our lot, though deep inside we know those excuses aren’t true.
Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.” – Paulo Coehlo
Now, I don’t have a magic cure-all for life happiness. What I do know, though, is that when I’m unhappy in a situation and I am brave enough to take some steps outside my comfort zone, I always benefit in some way.
The feeling of the fear was far worse than the actual pain involved with taking that new step. Does it always work out as I expect? No. There are no guarantees — that’s why they call it taking a risk. Yet, when I allow my heart to lead me, I end up in a better place. I’m more confident which allows me to keep going forward into new zones where I often find greater peace and fulfillment and a sense of wonder and joy that I would not have found otherwise.
Perhaps the one thing you need to do in your life to find greater happiness is to do something that you’re afraid of, yet something that you feel called to do. Trust that inner voice and the navigation signals it is sending to you. Be brave enough to venture into the unknown and perhaps you, too, will find a greater sense of happiness in your life than you’ve ever known before.
[clickToTweet tweet=”When you’re unhappy, that’s a call to take a step outside your comfort zone!” quote=”When you’re unhappy about anything in your life, that’s a call to take a step outside your comfort zone!” theme=”style4″]
Discussion questions — What fears hold you back? Have you ever taken a step outside your comfort zone that led you to more happiness? What would you be willing to give up to expand the joy and happiness in your life? Leave your ideas and thoughts in the “SPEAK YOUR MIND” section below.
15 thoughts on “How to Be Happier Right Now (Hint: It’s Not What You Think)”
So love your inspiring post.
Thank you so much Sylvia!
I am a recovering addict, so maintaining my sobriety is at the top of the list of things I do every day on my journey toward happiness. I was recently asked to write one paragraph of the BEST case scenario if I STAY clean and sober, and THEN write one paragraph of the WORST case scenario if I DONT stay clean and sober. Thinking about all the awful things that would happen if I use and drink again was EASY! But letting myself visualize my dreams coming true, leading to ultimate happiness, I am afraid to do so because it is hard for me to believe that they could really materialize. Guilt and shame also make their case, trying to convince me that I do not deserve to be happy as I did a lot of damage in my active addiction, and a life of penance is what I am due.
Teri — First, congratulations on getting sober and committing to your path of sobriety. That is a huge, huge, huge accomplishment! I know it is a struggle you’ll face from now on, yet you’re strong enough to do this … you understand the value in doing this … and you deserve to give yourself this precious gift of sober living!
I understand what regret, guilt and shame feels like. I’ve been there. When we’re under the weight of addiction, we make a lot of horrible choices … we hurt people … and we damage ourselves, sometimes to a point where we think we cannot be repaired. It can feel like it’s too much to be forgiven for. But, as Maya Angelou is famous for saying, when you know better, you do better. Now you know what to do. Now you can do better. Just as you’re working through the process of staying sober, you must also begin your work on forgiveness of yourself. It will set you free.
You deserve to live a beautiful happy life … we all do! Live a life of gratitude from now on … and not just gratitude for the major blessings, gratitude for EVERYTHING! Cast off the habit of living from a place of regret, and instead begin to see your world from a place of hope and beauty … and allow your gifts of service and kindness to help light up the world. Helping others who have struggled with addiction is an excellent way to get started.
Your ego will try to convince you that you should cling to guilt and shame, but it is a liar that operates from a place of fear. Move to a place of love … listen to the wisdom and Divine love within your heart. I know this isn’t an easy switch to make. Just as you focus each day on staying sober, you must begin to focus on embracing these uplifting ideas rather than continuing to hold onto the negative ideas that are trying to weigh you down. It’s a journey — be kind to yourself along the way!
Praying that you’ll release the fear, let go of shame and guilt, and walk into the loving light that you DO deserve! Sending much love your way, – J. Marie
The problem is if you are searching for happiness you will not find it. You have to create it from within yourself. No one else can do it for you. Like finding your passion in life or a hobby, or your job. You should have things that give you some fulfillment
Sandy — you make some great points. Thanks for sharing!
stumbled upon your site through a post I saw on Facebook and so glad I did! Struggling to find the “joy” again…just haven’t found my purpose niche in life… i love my husband, my music but finances are such a struggle it weighs heavily. Always trying to read and nurture through self help stuff but never seem to be able to “commit” to fixing or going the full mile. FEAR…bingo! You hit the nail on the head… don’t know why I’m so stuck and afraid to venture forth to complete anything…the confidence in myself is certainly a stumbling block…. I’m a ‘fixer’ and when I can’t fix something/someone (I know we can ONLY fix ourselves) the frustration mounts because I KNOW that the ULTIMATE GIFT we are to learn is ‘love’. Had THAT ephiphany last night watching a movie, but feel SO STUCK, like being in quicksand. I have SO many talents but only the music makes us money and i want SO much to let my creative self thrive…just so stuck..
Paula — I’m touched by your comments, as I know many people are because they see themselves in similar situations. Sometimes just knowing others are out there and feeling our pain helps. There are no easy one-size-fits-all answers, but I do have a few suggestions that you might try. Here goes …
What your “logical mind” is begging you for right now are solutions … answers … concrete ways to deal with your financial struggles and lack of clarity about purpose … a step-by-step way to take control and fix it all. That’s what we “fixers” (aka control junkies) like to do. Fix things … control things … in fact … control nearly everything. But that’s a heavy load to put on yourself and there’s no way your logical mind can give you the peace and assurance you need. But, when us “fixers” can’t fix things, we get worried … scared … and sometimes we even turn on ourselves thinking there’s something wrong with us. Confidence plummets. Though I don’t know you, from what you’ve told me here I suggest that the answers you seek won’t be found in your mind. You need to go deeper … deeper into self-love … deeper into connecting with your intelligent core that resides within you.
So here’s my advice: give yourself a break and breathe. Sit in a quiet place where you feel safe, comfortable and inspired. Could be a favorite chair in your home… a park bench … or wherever. Your only task for the moment is to breathe, so just focus on your breath and experience it fully. Don’t confuse “just breathing” with doing nothing … allowing yourself good, quality breathing time can be a life changer. Answers appear when we’re calm enough to receive them, not when we’re fighting a raging battle in our minds. Next, as you calm your mind and listen to your steady breath, begin to allow yourself to bask in the miracle of now and to dwell in gratitude. Let your entire body be transformed by the deep appreciation for your life’s blessings. Once you’re “feeling” gratitude throughout your body, here’s the next step: Take in a three or four slow deep breaths. When you feel calm, ask your heart “Heart, what are you trying to tell me that I’ve been too busy to hear? Heart, what’s the most important thing that I need to know right now?” Then listen patiently and quietly for the answer. Feel free to keep asking your heart any question that comes to mind … then wait patiently and quietly for the answer.
Am I sounding a little crazy and “whoo whoo?” Well, I know this could sound that way, but I am advising this because your head is spinning right now and because of that you can’t hear the wisdom within. Your fear is trying to tell you something, but it’s all coming at you so fast and furiously that you can’t understand what to make of it, which leaves you frustrated and more fearful. It’s a trap and the only way to get out is to literally “get out of your mind and into your heart,” which has been described as the most important journey we’ll ever make!
By the way, I can REALLY relate to you when you talk about money fears … that’s a hot button for me, too. Not having enough money to pay bills or constantly living in lack is one of the most miserable states we can live in. The fear that stems from the pressure of financial problems can drown out our internal wisdom if we allow it, that’s why you need plenty of time in calm and quiet.
Getting “unstuck” seldom happens all at once. You have thinking patterns and behaviors that you’ve had a long time … so you must be kind and supportive as you learn to go a new way. You’ve mentioned you’ve bought a lot of self-help books, but don’t commit. Again, many people can relate to that … so don’t be hard on yourself for it. Sometimes the books can be so overwhelming with so many ideas. I’ve found the big two are “love yourself” and “listen to the wisdom within.” And, I’ve also found that practicing affirmations frequently does wonders for changing my internal dialogue. My favorite affirmation is one from Louise Hay: “ All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come. I am safe.” Whenever there are issues in my life, I repeat this over and over … sometimes hundreds of times in a day (I have it posted on my fridge and on a mirror in my bedroom!). It’s worked miracles in my life — you might give it a try!
One last thought: I think that there are so many gurus out there preaching about purpose that there’s now an epidemic of people obsessed with finding their “one great purpose” … which is leading to stress, frustration, and even depression. I will never claim to have all the answers, but this is what “purpose” looks like to me … and it’s multidimensional: 1) Our purpose in life is to love ourselves and to love others, we all share that purpose. 2) We have each been blessed with certain gifts and talents and those make us unique. When we find a way to use our gifts in service to others, then we are “on purpose” in our lives. 3) Our purpose may or may not have anything to do with what we do to make a living — but as we make a living, we can certainly practice #1 and #2. 4) I think there are those people who can say “my purpose is to do X,” but if you can’t say that right now, don’t sweat it so much. If you focus on #1 and #2, perhaps in time a more precise definition of your purpose will be revealed to you … but you won’t have to worry about what to call it, because by the time you can describe it you’ll find you’re living it.
I hope these thoughts offer some different perspective for you. Wishing much peace, love, joy, and abundance on your journey, J. Marie
your response is so eloquently expressed and sincerely heartfelt. for that, I am truly grateful! You have much wisdom to share. You are right, you don’t know me, BUT from all that you wrote, I would have guessed you were a ‘heart’ friend for years! SPOT ON in all that you said. Sometimes I think, at 57 years young, I have gone 1/2 my life and not accomplished a purpose, but when reflecting on it fully, i see that I have been an outstanding single mother for 25 yrs before remarrying 8 yrs ago and if nothing else, THAT in of itself would have been a ‘purpose’. I loved what you said about self-love because for me, I can give ALL the love in the world to everyone around me, EXCEPT Me… something I have been trying to work on… a continual work in progress. Thank you so much for your thoughts, they have really resonated , I’ll find my “quiet” place to become still and to LISTEN…something that has ALWAYS being a great challenge. Love & Light… p.s.. NONE of it sounded Woo-hoo as you might have thought…I’m totally into all that… being recently listening to Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s meditations…not fully, but working to get there… again..THANKS for the bottom of my heart. Namaste.. Paula
I want to experience happiness. I think the choices I made has prevented me from being happiness. I try to be happy but something or someone that prevents it. I tend to ignore some thing but get criticize for isolating myself from a negative environment. In them love department, I can not seem to get that right either. I attract the wrong guys and I get hurt in them process.. I am still waiting because I know I will be happy day.
II am bless to have a job, 2 wonderful kids, transportation and roof over my family head. Maybe I will have a husband one day and move away… I think once I have my own family and start fresh it will be OK… I may be disappointed in myself right now but I am praying things will get better… Getting involve in church will help me as well.
Maria — you are not alone in your search for happiness. Many people who are grateful for their blessings still don’t seem to find the happiness they so desire. It’s so common, so don’t be hard on yourself. In fact, that’s the best advice I can offer … really DO NOT be hard on yourself. Love yourself each and every day. I know most people don’t want to hear this, but the happiness you seek isn’t in other people, or things, or money, or anything like that … oh that it was, it might be easier to find! Instead, happiness is a decision you make to see the world and yourself with love and appreciation. Live each day being kind, loving, and grateful … nurture your spirit … choose self-encouragement over self-criticism … and start each day determined to be positive and spread good cheer. I love that you said you were getting involved in church; both the spiritual direction there and the sense of fellowship will enhance your sense of belonging, while giving you guidance to live your best, most fulfilling, happiest life. It’s all a journey, so don’t get bummed out about a few rocks in the road. You can and will overcome anything you set your mind to. Wishing you much peace and happiness along your journey. ~ J. Marie
Thanks J. Marie. I needed to hear this.
I personally believe and have experienced that when I am longing for my soul mate, I am usually in a place(literally!) that triggers that feeling. Maybe in the movies by myself, or a carnival or even in certain places in my own house. Watch for the patterns and perhaps you can break them up a bit by avoiding certain places when you are depressed or you feel you might go there if you see your mother or go to church or whatever is your “trigger.”
Also I think all of us are geared to need different things in a different order. It is not a cut and dried pyramid like Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.An introvert may enjoy being alone for much longer than an extrovert but…heres the dichotomy, an introvert is also going to be alone much more often and be lonlier because it is harder for her or him to make friends and try out new places. So I ask myself, how can i break that pattern as well.(smile)
And sometimes, when you try to figure out what to do and you cant, then thats the answer! What do I mean?(smile) Meaning, if you can’t figure out how to do, it is because God or Fate or whatever you believe in, has not come up with what is right for you yet.
So you are like a microphone turned on waiting for music to come through it and it doesn’t. ….only the microphone doesn’t get depressed about it. It stays in “wait/idle mode” to save energy and…The microphone will wait 2, 3 or 20 years until someone either picks her up to sing a song or takes her to another place where she is needed more. But the microphone doesn’t get upset or take it personal. My father still alive today at 87, did not find the love of his life until he was 79 or 80.( It was a chance meeting at a N.Y. diner waiting online.) And I mean in ‘all” departments! She was 20 yrs younger.Yes, dad is very blessed in many ways. But God left him alone without a partner for 37 years after my mom divorced him to show him that a good woman “is” the most precious thing a man could have.It took him 37 years to learn his lessons. In some areas he is a bit slow. (smile)
Maria, I too have difficulty being happy on a consisitent basis. In my times of darkness I have found that keeping a daily journal of Gratitude helps turn me around. Get yourself a new journal book or just a notebook and start writing down at least 5 things you are grateful for each day. I usually did by at night just before going to bed. Does not matter when just that you start. The first time I did this it was a struggle to come up with 5 things but before long I was writing 10 or things. I also found myself thanking God right at the time the gratitude filled my head and then my heart. I hope this will be of some help for you. I know it has been a while since you first posted. So I am affirming your new found happiness, happiness inspite of appearances. Love and Light and may the blue bird of happiness be setting on your shoulder when you read this. If not know that he is flying around your head eventhough you may not able to see him at this moment.
Thank You LC, sounds like something I should start doing, mind everyday I remind myself of the blessings God has given me, but I never thought about a journal. Great idea