True personal power is when you know how to be happy even if you don’t get what you want. Life is easy when things are going our way, but it’s the challenging moments that shape our true potential.
Have you ever been having a great day, feeling contented with life and then suddenly, along comes another person who seems to have more than you?
They might have a bigger home of or a nicer car or a bigger salary– and suddenly the mind goes into wanting mode. What once made us happy now no longer does so; we feel the need more to be fulfilled so we may chase the illusion of happiness in material things.
Our consumer society has a vested interest in making us dissatisfied and that’s why we’re always wanting more. The truth of the matter is that as long as you are in a state of perpetual wanting you will be unhappy – and probably broke.
Real happiness has nothing to do with worldly things. It is a mind state that can be cultivated regardless of your outer circumstances. Regardless, it doesn’t just stop with wanting stuff. We also want to be liked, to be praised, to never be blamed, to be successful, for our kids to be successful…and the list goes on.
The problem with goals is that they don’t always eventuate, no matter how hard we try. This is not personal and it doesn’t only happen to you; it’s just the nature of changing phenomenon and conditions and causes that have nothing to do with you or how hard you tried (or didn’t try).
Yet you can still be happy even if life doesn’t always go smoothly. Here are some tips on how to bring more peace, contentment and joy into your life.
Simplify Your Life
Ever noticed how the more stuff you have the more complicated your life gets? Let’s say for example, you decide you want a bigger, shinier house. The one you have right now is fine of course – but this new house is going to be the thing that finally does it – once you have this house, only THEN will you be truly happy.
So you take out a mortgage, buy the house and move in. For 6 months or so, everything is peachy keen. You’re convinced that this house will make everything right in the world.
Then inexplicably, the novelty wears off. The house is just a house and now you’re left with the stress of meeting monthly repayments. The house is so big that you don’t have time to clean it yourself. The pool needs to be maintained. And the list goes on.
More, bigger and better do not necessarily equate to happiness. The next time you feel compelled to be more, do more or have more, ask yourself ‘will this really make me happy?’ Chances are you can probably find peace and contentment where you are right now without breaking the bank in the process.
Let Go Of Grasping
What causes the most suffering in the world is holding on tightly to what we want and pushing away what we don’t want. One of my clients became acutely aware of this fact during one of our conversations.
She observed that on those occasions where she was having a good day at work, rather than just enjoying that experience for what it was she found herself becoming anxious just in case the next day might not be so good.
Grasping and aversion come from ignorance of the truth of impermanence. Simply put, this means that everything that arises must pass away. That means me, you, things we acquire, good experiences and bad experiences.
Logically we all know this. But most people don’t really get it deep down. So we continue to hold on, fearful of losing what we love and creating more stress, tension and unhappiness in the process. Trying to hold onto or push away experiences will only cause havoc. The solution is become mindful of the times when you are clinging to some experience or situation, so you can let it go before you get ‘rope burn’. This takes practise and dedication.
You’ll get caught up in clinging time and time again; but if you take it one day at a time you’ll get better at letting go. Ask yourself: ‘what is one small thing I can let go of today?’
For example, maybe you always need to be right when you argue with your spouse; or maybe you have to do the dishes straight after dinner. What if you could do the dishes one hour later instead? These seemingly minor steps will create lasting positive change in your life if you commit to doing them every day.
The best way to be happy is to train your mind so that when the unpleasant mind states of grasping, wanting, aversion or pushing away arise you can recognise them for what they are rather than getting caught up in them. Meditation is an excellent tool for many reasons:
- It allows you to step back from your hectic life;
- It allows your mind to get quiet so you can see things clearly;
- It helps you wake up when you go into a trance of aversion, unworthiness and other negative mind states;
- It has been proven to cause happiness
Whatever you focus on in this world, you will attract more of. Meditation helps you break the cycle of negativity that keeps you stuck in a perpetual state of suffering.
If you would like to learn how to be happy even if you don’t get what you want it starts with changing your mindset and training your mind. Feel free to contact me here and I will tell you how I can help.