This is Post #2 in a series called “The Authentic Self” that I am writing mostly to my patients, but also to my readers to inspire them to contemplate the physical effects of a career on the body and mind (whether they are positive or negative). Thank you to all the people who have started a conversation with me in the last two weeks about searching for a heart-centered, soul-conscious career. It has been fun to point you to this blog series and to see without any prodding how many people are doing this work right now.
Knowing what makes you happy is only half the battle. Believing you deserve that happiness on a daily basis is the real kicker. There is a strong belief system that a lot of people out there hide behind—it is easier to complain than risk trying to change something. Lots of people find themselves holed up in miserable jobs ranting and raving without ever considering the door. Sound familiar? Part of that is laziness, part of that is fear and most of it is a belief way down deep that our happiness isn’t important. It is easy to think that our children’s happiness is important or our friends’, sometimes even our spouse’s, but our own happiness is a second class citizen.
Maybe it is my catholic upbringing, or the New Englander’s mentality, who knows exactly what is to blame, but I struggle with the idea that my happiness is worthwhile. It isn’t just me. I see it in my patients when they say that they’re sleeping so much better or the pain is almost gone and they don’t make another appointment in order to save money. Being almost better is good enough. Being pain-free isn’t worth the cost of the appointment. Do we really deserve to feel that good? Is happiness worthwhile? What do we stand to gain from it? What does the world stand to gain from your happiness?
I used to believe that happiness was elusive, ethereal and, above all, coveted. Lately, I believe this concept of elusive happiness less and less. I am moving towards the idea that we create the life we want in order to be happy. In fact, happiness is something that can be created and maintained like a vegetable garden or climbing ivy. The people around us, the food we eat, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the direction of our gaze is so informative of how happy we can stand to be. But it is more than that. Happiness is a decision. It is a choice. We can chose to be miserable or we can chose to be filled with delight.
The decision to be happy starts with the core belief that we intrinsically deserve to be happy.
From this point we must then believe that our searching, our journey is worthy of our limited energies. We must create space in our lives to ask important questions and contemplate answers without judgment. We must believe in the idea of our own intuition and internal desires and the strength of that inner voice. There is only one voice in all the universe that speaks from the authority and the experiences of your life. What does that voice have to contribute and is it fair to keep it silent from the world?
Before you can make serious change in your life you need to give yourself permission to envision happiness. Maybe it is too hard to feel happy when you have loved ones struggling, or maybe it is too hard to feel happy because your basic needs are not being met? Whatever the story is you are telling yourself, the important turning point is out there and you too, are capable of believing in a story of a happier you.
If this is what you are bumping up against in the path to a new career or a more passionate life than consider yourself exposed. I’m here to call it like it is and to challenge you to make an easy first step. It doesn’t cost any money, it doesn’t look different to the outside world, it doesn’t even take up much time. It just starts deep within yourself and allows the process to unfold.
Interested in more posts from this series?
Image credit: iakov / 123RF Stock Photo