I spend the majority of my waking moments helping people become who they want to be and I’m noticing a growing number of people simply exhausted with always feeling the need to change.
The issue is they think they’re unhappy and they believe that once they change, then they’ll be happy. Of course, they’re getting in their own way here because they’ve assigned some criteria to happiness, which keeps it just out of their reach and we are, in fact, the story we tell ourselves.
Happiness is directly proportionate to acceptance! Acceptance of self, reality, powerlessness, mystery and the realization you could experience immense joy right now and you don’t are absolutely necessary for foundational happiness. Reread this a few times.
It’s much easier to accept what and who and where you are now than to pretend happiness exists somewhere in the future. This doesn’t mean you can’t exert effort into things that are important to you; just don’t tie your happiness to it, especially to the outcome.
I’ll often ask: What needs to change in order for you to accept yourself/be happy? I often hear things like--Once I: lose weight, get organized, have financial security, more downtime, better relationships and the list runs on and never ends.
It’s kind of a trick question because if you can’t be happy now, you won’t be happy later because how you do anything is how you do everything.
This is a heavy topic and very difficult for the dualistic, reactive and all-or-none mentality to process. I need my clients to be heavily meditated before we engage these types of conversations because they can’t be processed with the thinking mind.
The solution, dare I say, is to feel your pain and process your unprocessed hurts, imperfect nature and ordinariness. Contemplate how little control you have over anything (including yourself at times) and choose to meet reality where it’s at even when things aren't going your way.
There’s no avoiding this. The reason why most change efforts fail is because people try to work around this GAP, instead of working through it. Pain is part of the deal. Don't believe me, just try to find one breakthrough story that didn't involve pain. Why else would it be called a breakthrough?
Truth is, the way up is down. If you want to jump, you have to squat. If you want to succeed, you have to fail. If you want to get to the top of the mountain, you have to have the humility to start at the bottom.
This has become my equation for happiness: Reality minus expectations = happiness.
"Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender." Danielle Orner