In an earlier writing I built upon the idea of doing what we can do that serves others. Today let’s focus a bit on just doing something for ourselves. I am going to concentrate on running but it also serves as a metaphor for whatever it is that you really want to do just for yourself. It could be writing poetry. It could be climbing that hill/mountain. It could be working up to lift a large weight. It could be learning a new language. Whatever it is, do it for yourself!
I have always wanted to run. It was a time that was just for me. I had nothing to prove to others. Others were not affected by how I ran. I ran just because I wanted to and I could. I had a very busy life as most do. A family and all those wonderful activities. Different work functions that allowed me to dedicate myself to helping/serving others. Being there for parents and in-laws in their end years, weeks, days and hours. I am a server by nature. What about you? I imagine you are as well.
Take some time just for yourself to do something just for yourself. I run. I always have – except when illness or disease prevented it. Then I worked hard to overcome the restrictions, do what I had to in order to recover and be able to get back to running. I consulted the Dr.’s and took the meds. I accepted that rather invasive surgery was needed, underwent that, recovered and adjusted to the new reality (much better than the disease!). If there are things that are getting in the way of you doing what you really want to do for yourself, do whatever you can to remove the blocks. This is your very own life and you need to find ways to do at least this one thing for yourself.
Remember, I am encouraging you to do this for yourself. You don’t need to earn awards and so on. You aren’t out to show the world. Well, actually, sometimes you want to have a tangible proof for yourself. Go for it! I ran a marathon in the National Capital run weekend when I was 55. I just wanted to have that little certificate to put on my den wall that was proof to me that I did it. To me it served to show what can happen if you just do it! There were months that I could not walk without a cane in my 30’s. Now I can run again. But very few people know about that. I did not do it to be able to show off my accomplishment to others. I still just did it for me.
Age does not need to get in the way of doing this thing for yourself. Remember, you are not doing it for others. Adjust as you must but do it anyways for yourself. It is part of living well, loving others and laughing out loud every day. 😎
If you can fish, fish. If you can sing, sing. If you can fight,fight. Determine what you can do. And do that.
We are mostly told that we need to find our passion and do that in order to be happy. I have spent huge amounts of time endeveavoring to learn exactly what my passion is so that I can be sure that I am doing what I should be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been very happy doing what I was doing, I just wanted to be sure.
The above quote from Epictetus, a first century ex-Roman slave is actually a pretty good guide to doing what you should be doing. Don’t focus on finding out what your passion is if that seems difficult. Rather, focus on doing what you can do that serves others in some positive and useful way, and do that! Most of the time you will feel good doing what you do. Of course, there will be times when outside stuff gets in the way but we just have to keep on keeping on.
What are you good at doing? Can you find ways to do that in ways that serve others? How exactly can you see yourself doing that every day? Are there jobs or other sorts of opportunities that you can apply doing that? What do you need to do in order to qualify and get “work” using the skills you are good at doing? You are in the process of planning your future and moving into real happiness. You might find that you can earn a good living doing other things – but be sure that you find ways to build in enough time to do what you are good at doing!
Doing what you are good at doing is shorthand for doing what makes you feel good and therefore happy. What are you good at? Do that!
Is it a moment? Is it a destination? Is it a state of mind? Is it an automatic response? In my opinion it is none of these and it is all of them. In a much earlier post I started the contemplation of what the definition is. This is more about what happiness is, in my view.
Said poorly but happiness is really just a way of life. A journey? The destination for all of our journeys through life is same – death and then whatever follows in accord with your own beliefs. But it is the journey that we cognitively experience. And as it is with all journeys, we get to choose our path, our way. If we don’t like our current path we can change it. It is just a choice.
Of course we often times forget that we can make choices. We get wrapped up in the busyness of life and stuff just happens. I have said it before and will say it again- choose to live on purpose. Don’t just drift. Don’t let the wake push you around, steer the boat and let the wake just be the trail left behind.
So how exactly do we live a life on purpose and is that really a part of being happy anyway? The first thing you need to consider is your why. Why do you think you are here? What is the legacy you believe you should/want to be remembered for? Write that down in a sentence or two at the most. You probably wrote that in the past tense. Rewrite it, but in the present tense if you can. Don’t sweat it if you can’t as long as it is clear to you and will serve as a beacon.
This is a bit like the eulogy exercise. I suggest you consider what your legacy would be if you died today. Why? The differences are gaps that you need to close on the way to your written statement from above. As you close the gaps and get closer to living your chosen reason, you can get closer to living a life in harmony.
So, yes it is a part of being happy anyway when you live your life on purpose. You will be choosing to do things that are in harmony with your why. All the rest of the stuff going on around that and around you will still happen but you will choose to consider the lessons to be learned, reflect on the good stuff and continue or return to living your life in harmony with your why.
Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.😎
What music do you listen to? Do you choose it or do you just listen to random music? Do you even listen to music or do you only listen to talk radio or the like? This is important! It is along the lines of GIGO.
You really can change your mood and move back to “happy”. Having a tough day? Nothing going quite right? Are you being “sharp” with people around you? As soon as you notice and acknowledge – take a “sanity break”. You need a bit of time to regain perspective.
Here is where most of us are told to meditate for a while and to unplug. But we can’t! We just don’t have the strength right now to calmly meditate. I have another suggestion that is based on neuroscience, works, and is easy to do. Just put on some music and listen to it for a while.
But, not just any music! Think about the music you listened to when you were happiest. This is trigger music and will trigger the emotions you felt and feel when that music is played. Prepare a playlist on your device that you can plug your earbuds or headphones into and walk around with. Be selective and positive here. Remember, GIGO.
OK – now when you recognize that you are really down, give yourself permission to take a “happiness break”, get your device with your “happy time” playlist, your earphones or earbuds and take a walk – listening to your music.
Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day. And, listen to your happy times music. 🎶😎
Throughout my life I have done a huge amount of research in the field of happiness. It interested me that it was a subject that underlies success writings and achievement writings and personal management (what we used to call time management). I wonder if you noticed this stuff along the way as well.
- You become what you think about! (Earl Nightingale)
- You reap what you sow.
- What you focus on grows.
- Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude … (Viktor Frankl)
- You’re right about that dear. 😛 (Wayne Dyer)
You get the idea I think. I wrote earlier about simple pleasures and exhorted us to actually do things that we know will bring us happiness and pleasure. It strikes me that we need to take a few minutes and write down a bliss list (I wish I could recall who taught me that). What it is is simply a list of things that bring feelings of bliss when you just think about them. I just have to think about sitting here in my back yard and I feel at peace.
Take a few minutes and write down a list of the things that bring you feelings of bliss or happiness. For me this list includes things like outdoor patio dining, fresh toasted tomato sandwich, running, being near water, walking on a beach, raisins, nature areas of all sorts, dressing up(!), my special music playlist, being with grand kiddies, dining room meal at home with Luise… and so on, for three pages. It includes things I think I would love to do. I guarantee you that you will feel happy just thinking about these things as you write the list. It is not a gratitude list – it is a list of things that make you feel good. It’s okay to put indulgences here that you might feel a little guilty about – it is your bliss list!
Now what? Do you sit down and do this every time you want a lift in spirits? Not necessary. You have already done that. Rather, place this list in a convenient place where you can look at it regularly. I keep my list in my office which is where I sit down each week to review my past week and plan out my coming week. It is also where I review my day and plan my next day. I look over random parts of the list before I get started. You can keep your list in your sock drawer if you like. The important part is to look it over at least once a day. Just looking over the list will bring you feelings of happiness and even bliss. We should all have that in our days.
Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day! And remind yourself what brings feelings of joy into your life! 🙂