Dec 5, 2018
I’ve always been kind obsessed with what makes people happy. I had a happy childhood, but I struggled with major insecurities of wanting to be liked and seeking approval of others more than wanting to be authentically myself. I wish I knew at a young age what happy really looked like and how I could cultivate that sooner in life.
I searched for happiness out there. I used to think that if only HE loved me, then I would be happier, or if I could just look THIS way, then I would feel more confident, or if I made more money, then people would respect me. I’ve found out the hard way and over several decades that happiness can’t be found in anything external of yourself. This is not a new concept, but it sure is a hard one to live each day. Although these external factors may influence your mood in a positive way, lasting happiness can only be cultivated within you. Happiness not a thing, it’s a mindset.
I’m sure there are many ingredients to being happy, but I’ve learned that there are 3 essential values that lead to my happiness.
1. Kindness. Research shows that having relationships and friendships create happiness. Happiness is not determined by the number of followers you have on instagram or how many friends you have on Facebook. Rather happiness is determined by the significant relationships you have in your life. When you are kind, people like you. We have all types of friends – the friend you go out with, the friend who you share your deepest emotions with, the friend that makes you laugh, but the best relationships are with those people who are kind. Think about your best relationships – what is that quality you really love about them. Kindness is more than being nice. It’s genuinely caring for another person, listening to them with openness, loving them unconditionally. When you are kind, you will have more meaningful relationships in your life generating a deeper sense of joy and fulfillment.
2. Empathy is the ability to experience the feelings of another person. It’s not to be confused with sympathy, which is caring and understanding for the suffering of others. Empathy goes beyond sympathizing with someone. When you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, then you can really understand that person. Everyone wants to be seen and heard. You truly see someone when you show empathy.
When you empathize with someone, you can then work on other qualities that you value or wish to cultivate. Currently, I’m trying to be more patient. But I can only extend patience to someone when I can empathize and understand their perspective. Otherwise I will only see it from my lens, which can be a slippery slope to narrow perspective, judgment, defensiveness or unhappiness. Empathy creates unity and connection, all which softens us into a happier mindset.
3. Gratitude. We all know the simple saying Have an attitude of gratitude. It seems cliché, but it’s simple and true. Suffering is created when something does not go the way you expected or an outcome is not what you desired. It’s hard to be thankful during those times. In these moments where life is tough and you feel depleted, overwhelmed or even resentful, how do you have gratitude?
The good news is that you can’t be in an abundance mindset and also be in a scarcity mindset at the same time. They cannot co-exist.
Thoughts and emotions will naturally fluctuate, but you have control over your behavior and actions. This behavior determines your outcome and ultimately how you feel overall, contributing to your sense of happiness.
Being kind, having empathy and having a gratitude mindset are all choices to show up for yourself each day and experience the happiness you deserve.
So as we close our Last podcast for this year, I want to express my gratitude to you for spending your precious time with me. I love reading your reviews and comments and hearing from you! Thank you for sharing this podcast and expanding our Soul School community. I love connecting with you each week and look forward to more soulful conversations in 2019!