May 14, 2014

Happiness: 5 Life Lessons

1697182584_32ee1e3ca9_z Photo Credit: Losmininos via Flickr cc

Do you ever stop to take stock of your life and reflect on what your life experiences have taught you? Do you ever take a moment to ask yourself “What have I learnt about myself and about life from this situation?”

When we take the time to step back and observe our lives we realise three things. Firstly that we are always learning, secondly that adversity is our greatest teacher, and thirdly that we are wiser than we give ourselves credit for.   

Today is the last in the Happiness Today series. All that I have shared in this series I have shared from my lived experience. I have shared with you what I believe are the four steps to happiness, and along the way we have looked at how we must strive to do the hard work of being honest with ourselves regarding what has happened in our lives and what is unfolding currently. We have also looked at how sometimes that means grieving the losses in our lives and the realisation that our life may not have turned out as we expected.

Possibly a surprisingly ‘heavy’ series on what is usually a bright and bubbly topic…happiness! But the way I see it, denying the complexity and challenges of experiencing happiness only further exacerbates our negative feelings towards ourselves and our life. If we feel that happiness ‘should’ be easy then we start to wonder what is wrong with us and why we can’t ‘get it right.’ We end up baffled as to why happiness seems so elusive. 

To close this series, this week I wanted to share with you what I have learnt as I have moved through the four steps to happiness, lessons that I have taken through into all areas of my life.  

Life Lesson 1

Trust yourself and listen to your own inner wisdom about what you need to live a fulfilling life. You know more about your deep desires and passions than anyone else. There are a lot of people who will say or act as if they know more about you than you do, but trust that you already hold the wisdom you need to take your life to the places you truly desire.

Life Lesson 2

Listen to your body and actively support, nurture and care for it. As much as it feels that we control or dictate what our body does, it really is the opposite. Treat your body with respect and compassion, gratefully aware of all that it does for you day in and day out. Give your body and mind a break and laugh often.

Life Lesson 3

There is great healing power in accepting what has happened or is happening in your life. Acceptance is not about being happy about what has happened, but about releasing the desire to control and change the unchangeable. The opposite, resistance, keeps you stuck and in denial, unable to see what new opportunities await you. Acceptance keeps the flow of energy, ideas and inspiration moving through your mind and body.

Life Lesson 4

We all have limitations. The challenge with limitations is not to ‘fuse’ so much with them that you let them define or confine you. Where there is a will there is always a way. Take what you have and build, expand and grow from there. Great things happen when you use what is available to you.

Life Lesson 5

Your story is not over. While you still have breath, your story is unfolding and the possibilities are vast. No matter how you are feeling about your life, there is still time for change, renewal, healing, hope and new opportunities. Don’t lose heart.

What are your top 5 life lessons?

I hope the Happiness Today series has helped you think through some bigger questions underlying happiness. I hope it has allowed you to approach happiness in a way that is more grounded and real, and not just about ‘thinking more positively.’ I would love to hear what you have found useful and the successes you have had along the way.

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Jess xxx

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