“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” Dalai Lama
For me happiness is a state of mind, reflected by our actions and how we interact with the ones we love and the world around us. Happiness isn’t something that is given to us, it’s a state of being that comes deep from within. If we took more time to be mindful of our daily thoughts and actions, happiness naturally follows.
Give up the need to control other people’s thoughts and actions – This is probably the hardest, yet most valuable lesson I have learnt in my 38 years. Often we get angry or upset by the way others may act or behave. The fact is, as much as we may disagree or frown upon these thoughts or actions, we have to come to realise and accept they aren’t our own thoughts or actions, and therefore we cannot control them. The more you try to control a situation by thinking people should behave as you do, the more frustration you will experience when this doesn’t actually happen. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with every given situation, it just means you should just endeavour to accept that the situation is out of your control and learn to be comfortable with the fact that not everyone is currently in the same ‘space’ as you are.
Give up the need to always be right – What is wrong or what is right? In truth nothing is wrong or right, it just is. Of course you are entitled to your opinions, but they are simply that, opinions.
Give up blaming others – Stop pointing blame at others for what you do or don’t have, or for how you may or may not feel. You are the one that’s in control of your feelings and how you react to others opinions or behaviour. The moment you start pointing blame at someone else, you are giving away your power.
Give up complaining – I love this one, because it really does work. The moment you make a conscious effort to stop complaining about everything in life that you are unhappy with, people, situations, your job, your family, your finances and instead make a conscious effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you give power to the positivity in your life. Remember where intention goes, energy flows.
Stop hanging around with people who do not serve you well – We have all had partners, friends or colleagues that have zapped our energy, or have not treated us in a way we would treat them, and this is fine, remember it’s all part of the journey of life. If everyone was kind to us all of the time, what would we learn about the true value of friendship or happiness? Just be mindful of the fact that it is our own choice to decide who we should interact with for any length of time or on a regular basis. Our own energetic field is directly effected by the energy patterns of the five people we spend the most time with, so look at your colleagues and your friends. Do they always complain, are they constantly sick or unhappy, expressing negative view points or always in conflict with someone? Make a conscious effort where ever possible to surround yourself with open-hearted, generous, positive and loving people who genuinely have your best interests at heart. It is very difficult to remain positive and happy yourself if you are constantly surrounded by people that do not have these traits.
Give up any feelings of anger when someone is unkind to you – Instead open your heart and show them more love. When someone is unkind to you, or tries to control a given situation, that person is actually hurting themselves, that is the message they are sending you. So instead of retaliating back with harsh words or negative emotions, show them love and compassion. Remember, harsh words will only return to you at some point, so if you are finding it challenging to project love directly towards them, silence is sometimes the best answer.
Whenever someone is unkind or unpleasant to me, I will make a conscious effort to meditate on those feelings at the end of the day. I try to imagine the person involved standing in front of me, and whilst I explore my feelings of hurt or anger, I consciously surround them with bright pink loving light, and project genuine feelings of warmth and love towards them. We have to remember, at some point in our lives we have been that person being unkind to someone else. We have all been in an insecure space, and felt the need to control. Steer clear of knee jerk reactions, as these just tend to scream negativity and anger, no matter how you word them and they do not serve you well. Remembering this, rather than allowing someone’s negativity to hurt you, take time to digest and process, and then reflect it back with love.
Give up making excuses – Excuses do not serve you, they only limit what you could possibly achieve. I truly believe that we are what we think, and if we constantly place barriers in our mind of why something cannot happen, then it won’t. The moment we free ourselves of excuses and limitations, magical things can happen.
Give up judging others – When you have judgements about someone, you are saying more about yourself than about the person you are judging. When you place labels on another person, or have a negative opinion of someone when you do not really know them deeply, or the situation they may be in at that time, then you yourself are not acting in a compassionate way.
Give up on thinking everyone should like you – This beautiful planet is full of billions of people, all of whom come from different cultures, stretching to different corners of the globe. We have different belief systems, different likes and dislikes. We are all on our own personal journey of life, fulfilling what ever it is that we need to be experiencing this time around. Once we learn to accept that out of all those billions of people, some will resonate with us, and some won’t, it’s easier to make friends and not take things so personally when a relationship doesn’t end or pan out as we had hoped.
Most people would agree that during you’re lifetime you will have a handful of true friends, some people will come and go, some will be around for a short space of time, and then there are others that will be around forever.
True friends are the kind of people who are with you through thick and thin, ones that have seen you at your best and at your worst. They don’t mind when you make mistakes, because they love you for who you are, including all your good points and all your challenging ones. True friends talk things through, respect you have differences and love you wholeheartedly, as you are, no matter what. They don’t get defensive or point the finger, they simply flow as you flow on the wave of life. You share a mutual trust, a respect and a complete understanding of one another. When you have this kind of friendship, I believe it is because energetically and spiritually you complement one another, two souls on a similar spiritual journey. In 38 years I can count these type of friends on just one hand, all have been in my life for 15 years or more and I feel truly blessed to know every single one of them.
For all the others that come and go, be thankful for the teaching they have brought you, remember at the point in your lives that you knew one another, you served each other well. Do not hold on to feelings of sadness or regret if a relationship didn’t turn out as you had hoped, or you drifted apart, every relationship we experience starts and ends at it should, in order for our soul to learn and evolve. All relationships are a blessing of some sort.
Give up the need to impress others – When you feel the need to impress others, you are in fact doing nothing more than feeding your own ego. Of course it is lovely to receive positive comments or complements, and there is nothing wrong with this, but the moment you start doing things purely to ‘impress’ someone else rather than to solely make yourself happy, you are losing sight of an important lesson.
Give up the ‘I’ and replace with ‘we’ – Almost twelve years ago I began one on one spiritual studies with Buddhist tutor and Shamanic Healer, the most important lesson she has taught me in all those years is to replace thoughts of ‘Me’ and ‘I’ with ‘We’ and ‘Us’. I can wholeheartedly say, making a daily conscious effort to remind myself that life isn’t all about me, my wants and my needs, but in fact about living in unison with everyone else on this planet and wanting the best for everyone I come into contact with, has truly changed my life.
So often in life our own insecurities and expectations of what we should own and have, prevents us from living in compassion and walking with a truly open heart. We feel threatened or jealous of others, we may envy what they have, or long for their success. We may not want to share something that we feel is important to us, because we feel it may take away an element of our ‘success’, or de-value our own achievements. We constantly compare, analyse and strive to do better than our counterparts in order for us to feel ‘successful’ or ‘happy’. But when we actually adapt our focus and our efforts away from ourselves, and away from what we have achieved or done, replacing our needs with others needs, happiness naturally follows.
When we help someone else feel happiness, it in turn reflects an element of happiness back at us. This can often take time and effort, and for some people it doesn’t come naturally, but it isn’t impossible to achieve, and when you finally get into the habit of doing it regularly and with an open heart, it becomes more and more your natural state of being. The gentle flow of happiness it ultimately brings, will only then truly enhance your life experience and how you value who your are and your role within your world.