Happiness is found in different ways for each of us. The feeling of fulfillment, success and security does not look the same for all, yet society expectations trick us into thinking it does.
In the past I spent too much time paying attention to what my peers were doing with their lives; what they were doing for fun, what their relationships and family life seemed to be, what type of career they had and where they were living. I wondered if I would feel more fulfilled if my life looked more like theirs. I compared what others had to what I did, yet continually found that everyone else’s ways didn’t necessarily fit my interests or lifestyle. Living as society thinks I should doesn’t really work.
So, how did I stop searching and start manifesting a life I love?
Follow your passion
If you’re able to make a living by doing what you love, great! However, if your day job is less than inspiring, don’t get frustrated. Keep using your spare time for your passions, whether it’s through music, the arts, volunteering, sports or writing. Don’t be so quick to give up your dreams just because someone tells you they’re not “practical.” Keep it up! Putting your energy into things that make you happy in the moment is a key step to mindfulness- don’t worry about tomorrow, just focus on today.
Stop looking in the wrong places
Perpetually going to bars, going on dates and spending money on material things stopped working for me. What used to be fun began to feel empty and stressful, creating more chaos than contentment. I used to live a very shallow life, always looking for the next best thing to keep me satisfied. Today I try to look for happiness within myself and by helping people- not my old self-seeking ways through alcohol, men and shopping.
Get active in the community
A couple of weeks after moving to Boston I looked on Meetup, Eventbrite and Boston Calendar to discover events, groups and activities to meet like-minded people. When I stay involved, continue to learn and find musings for my own writing and work, I become more productive, proactive and positive. Find events throughout the month that are of interest to you- libraries, museums, bookstores, comedy clubs, and parks often have things going on, so see what’s out there!
Act “as if.” The power of thought is truly amazing; when you project positive energy, that same energy comes back to you. Adversely, if you constantly complain and have a pessimistic outlook, you’re likely to experience negativity. This practice requires both confidence and faith, but making it a habit will work wonders.
“We often get exactly what we expect – which is a pretty powerful concept if we take time to let it in and live with that awareness. Instead of waiting to see how things turn out, hoping that they will get better, or simply allowing the circumstances and situations in our lives determine how we feel – what if we acted as if we had everything within us and around us that we need to be successful, happy, and fulfilled already – which we do, by the way!”
In order to live a happy life, it is important to find meaning in every single day; even if it is something small like the sunrise, a smile or a connection with nature. Explore, learn, relax, enjoy. What’s for you will not pass you, so be sure to be paying attention to what the universe is telling you.