It can’t be stated enough: To be happy in life you first must be happy with yourself. This statement is so true! If you don’t find joy in your life, how do you expect someone else too, or for you to see the joy of having others in your life? This doesn’t just apply to finding love or friendship, but transcends most anything in life. How can you enjoy the moment when you are unhappy with yourself in the moment? It’s not possible, if you are being truthful to yourself.
I’m not going to dwell on what being unhappy with yourself does to your outlook on life; I think most anyone who is in this position already knows about that. I’m going to talk about how you can make changes in your life to bring more happiness to yourself, which in turn will help you find better relationships, attain more goals in your life, and create a world that you love to live and can’t wait to wake up to the next morning.
Now, having said all of that, please bear in mind that there is no magic bullet. All of the suggestions that I have will take work on your part, but fortunately a lot of the “work” is really fun and the good news is that the more you do it, the easier it will be for you to automatically think and feel happy. A key concept is that we make the reality of the world around us. Trees, traffic, people – these are not good or bad things, they just are. We put labels and feelings on these things which in turn affect how we feel about them. For a simple example think of traffic – traffic is not good or bad, it’s the notion that we apply to it. We might not like traffic because it slows us down from getting to where we want to go. This is a negative way to think of the situation. You could also look at this as that there is so much traffic because there are so many employed people heading to work, what a wonderful thing that is. Now this may seem a little simplistic and overly optimistic, but it’s just an example – you get the idea.
So how do you start to move down the path of being happy with yourself? Well, first realize that it’s a journey and not a quick fix. But here are a few good ways to start yourself on your way:
1. Exercise. Doing something that is healthy for your body does great work for your mind as well. Exercise, whether it’s yoga, walking, running, weights or anything else that raises the heart rate and gets you active is so important. Start small and start slow at first, but the big thing is to keep at it, even if it’s only a few minutes a day at first. The idea here is that you will start feeling better about yourself the more you put time in to doing good things for your body. You will start to feel better physically, which in turn helps out mentally. The body chemicals that are released after working out are worth their weight in gold. Eventually you will get to a point where you are feeling good mentally because you know that you are doing healthy, positive things for your body.
2. Make goals. This is easy to do, but hard for most people to stick with. Having goals that you want to accomplish, and I mean you, not what you think others would want you to do, is crucial. Make a goal to learn a new skill or develop a new hobby; go back to school, or start saving for a vacation. The point is that you are working on yourself. You are developing yourself and you in turn will learn more about yourself. The more you start to learn about yourself the more you realize what you do and don’t want in your life. Achieving your goals shows you that you can get what you want out of life – how great is that!
3. Journal. This one is imperative. You must journal. Some people hate the thought of putting down their thoughts on paper where it’s possible others could read it. So if this is you try putting a lock on the computer or document that you are writing in, or hide your journal after you are done writing in it. I’ve instructed others to write, whether on paper or on a computer, to write what they have to say and feel about the day and then just delete or throw the paper away. You don’t have to hold onto this document, but you may want to look back in the future and reflect on how far you’ve come. The important thing is that you are expressing your feelings and thoughts and getting them off your chest – very healthy!
A few things that you might want to journal about is your mental state. Write about how you feel in the moment and how you felt earlier in the day or yesterday if writing first thing in the morning. This can give you a gauge as to how are feeling mentally. The writing takes you out of your ego driven thoughts and forces you to examine yourself. From this writing and analyzing you can take a temperature of how you’ve been doing mentally. Possibly you might discover things that are bring you down mentally and with that you could journal about ways to overcome or remove those negative affecting things. Possibly you could write about your successes from the day. Naming things that you are grateful for is a wonderful way to live happily in the moment.
4. Meditate. This is a great one. I do this every day and I’ve never thought, “Gee, I wish I had spent those fifteen minutes doing something else.” Meditation is great for your mind and body. It gives a few moments for your whole self to slow down and decompress. It’s physically good for the heart and mind and it’s a great mental exercise – try not to think of anything during that time; it’s hard to do for more than a few seconds. When your mind wanders, and it surely will I know mine does, don’t beat yourself up about not being able to focus, gently draw your attention back to focusing on nothing or your breath without being judgemental. Meditation can help calm you and get you into a state of self-observation which would be great before journaling.
These four suggestions are great ways to start feeling good about yourself. You don’t have to do them all at once. Try starting with just one of these activities and see how you feel. Listen to your intuition; notice if you are feeling better about yourself or are saying negative things because your expectations of what you are doing and what you think you should be doing are not equal. Don’t do this – be kind to yourself. Start small and leave your ego at the door. In time I know you will find warmth in your heart for yourself. It’s happened for me and I love me for it.
Always remember to be kind to yourself. Let me know how these suggestions have worked for you by commenting below.