This week’s Motto is the last of the 12 Motto series I had originally planned. I know they have been sporadic and not weekly as I had intended, but nevertheless, I pat my back that I’m on my final Motto Week. It makes me happy knowing it’s completed, and it makes me happy that so many of you have motivated and supported me in continuing. I have received lots of lovely comments, likes, interests and shares from everyone who has found me online, as well as friends, family and clients, since coming into the unknown territory of having online exposure – so thank you to everyone! Really you are making it worth continuing and enjoying the newfound world. It’s been fun – something I have wanted to do for some time. And now I’m actually doing it at a pace that works for me. I also couldn’t end the series without mentioning Happiness!
For the first time since starting the Mottos, I actually did a search on the web about ‘Happiness’ and 86 Ted Talks on Happiness and came up with hundreds of others listed on Google. So this is something almost everyone in the world, wherever they are seeking ‘Happiness’. So in my world, I asked myself ‘what is happiness?’ Being in a relationship, being rich, being successful, or simply being just me? We are always, one way or another, seeking something to make us happy and for most of us, it’s always seeking happiness from the external world rather than from ourselves. I sought happiness outside of myself for over 35 years. I recently met a divorce solutions advisor – we talked about the ins and outs of the minefield of separation/divorce, who do you get help from and when separation and divorce are imminent between two couples once in love? Once made each other in most cases ‘happy’ and now seeking to move on for one reason or another and in doing so causing each other great ‘unhappiness’? It was a classic case of looking for happiness from an ex-husband.
The challenges of compromising with the children, finances, friends and families involved and complications mentally, emotionally and physically can take their toll. By the end of the meeting he was surprised that I had once been married, divorced and now had two young children that keep me busy, as well as working in a job I passionately love. The experience I had in the past had taught me the biggest lesson in life: that money, a partner, a car, and having a home with materials filled to the corners is not worth spending time, and energy in seeking – they never made me happy. But without this costly and expensive experience, I would not be able to write this Motto or help many of my clients who are going through difficulties in their lives and those that are seeking happiness in particular. But to have peace of mind – has been a blessing in my life that gives me contentment and ultimately this makes me ‘happy’. We don’t take money, a house, a car, a job or a partner or even the children we love so much with us – they are all temporary as we are. We come here on our own, and go on our own – time is short and it’s out of our control.
Another thing that made me surprised is another question: ‘are you not the one with more money than your partner – do you have an agreement?’ To his question, I could only say – no, if my partner wants it all, he can have it? – but any decent person would compromise and be fair – we know that’s not the reality in most cases, especially my ex’s case. My perspective changed some, if my partner wants to go, he can go – I rather he was happier than make himself or me miserable. Yes, I may miss him if he goes, but my focus is on fulfilling my highest purpose and full potential. If he asked me those questions a few years ago, it would have been a different answer I’m sure – but then I wouldn’t be sharing this with you and I hope if you are going through separation/divorce that it is easier and quicker for you and all involved. There are many therapeutic processes that can help you go through this life-changing situation and you will and can come out of it stronger and for the better – even if you don’t think it feels like that right now as you are going through the process.
This may be too much information above and you may be wondering why am talking about divorce/separation and money – what does that have to do with the topic of what is happiness? Like myself and many people when I was married, I expected my husband/partner to make me happy. I put so much of my own expectation on him that looking back, there is no way any human could have fulfilled it as most of it was in my mind, and when I spoke out – it never came out right or it was too late. Our biggest problem was ‘communication’. 99% of all relationships that don’t work out and make us unhappy is the lack of communication, and a willingness to compromise as is the same in the corporate world.
I had a job I spent almost more than half my life in and as much as I liked the work, unfortunately, it didn’t make me too happy either. If it wasn’t the work it was the people and vice-visa – and I know trying to change work or people to make me happy also didn’t work – it was all in me to make myself happy.
At that time I realised I was looking in the wrong places and persons externally from myself to make me happy. Happiness is to be free of fear, limitations that hold us back, and letting go of expectations. Choosing to let go of experiences that have made me unhappy, sad, angry and even guilty was a challenge but truly worth it’s salt as I know for myself those things made me miserable, and this is what makes me happy now even when things don’t go as planned. I am still happy to be in a state of contentment – it’s okay – rather than be in a state of unhappiness and depression.
If you are looking for happiness externally from yourself, it is going to be hard to meet this expectation. It’s important to ask yourself “what is happiness for me?”
1. Take a few minutes every day to list what made you happy today. You will see by just this simple practical exercise within a 14 day period you will find some of the things you can let go of that don’t make you happy and go towards having more happier days than when you first started the exercise.
2. As hard as it may be, can you let go of some of the expectations you have of others, the values, the beliefs or even compare them to yourself – you will find you are not spending so much energy getting upset because someone hasn’t done or said something you expected them to do.
3. Let go of all the negative emotional feelings you feel and know that this would be the hardest. If you are not able to do this yourself, seek help and talk to someone because this hurts nobody but yourself mentally, emotionally and physically.
4. If you want something and it doesn’t go as planned – let it go, and if you really want that something then goes right ahead and keeps trying – don’t take it personally if it doesn’t go as planned.
5. And finally, be grateful and be happy!
Here are some links that may be useful to you:
Dan Gilbert at TED2004: The surprising science of happiness
Comments and feedback are welcome.
My plan for the next series of subjects is to discuss life situations many of us go through that at times can be hard to talk about or maybe controversial topics such as normalised self-harm talks on the school playground, relationship anxieties on a date, or suicidal dilemmas.
If you are interested in a particular topic or subject of your interest that you would like me to write about or address do let me know!
All comments and views discussed here are my own, and any communications from you are strictly confidential and never shared with third parties.