In life, I have seen people look for happiness through many avenues. What I know to be true is that love and happiness starts with you. Many times, people will find a partner with the thought that if I find the right partner, they will make me happy and give me all the love that I desire. This is a classic case of “looking for love in all the wrong places.” The love that we desperately desire is inside of us. Yes, you can find a love in another person, absolutely. But the love that completes you and makes you happy comes from within.
We also run into the problem of putting an unbearable amount of pressure on our significant other with this expectation that it is their job to make us happy. It is unrealistic to require that someone else do all the things you need to be happy. This is an unfair standard for anyone because all their efforts combined will still not meet this impossible task. Happiness must come from within. It is up to us to find the things and do the things that bring us joy. Even with some struggles and challenges it is up to us to declare, “I am responsible for my own happiness!”
How do I find happiness? How do I make my life more fulfilling? A coach or a counselor can give you the tools necessary to start to get some answers to these questions. It will require a journey of self-exploration and getting to know the deepest desires within. What do you enjoy? How do you want your life to look? Not what someone else may have told you, like your parents and well intentioned loved one’s who have given their opinion about your life but truly defining these things for yourself.
How do I find happiness if I have mental health struggles? Very good question. It will require work and effort for everyone. Your journey maybe different from someone else’s but it is your journey, and happiness is attainable. Your journey may require you to take medication to help; some will require therapy; some will require more intensive forms of therapy; some will need to get outside in the sun more; some will need to listen to music and dance; some will need to repair damaged relationships, etc. Each path is different. But the path to happiness is our own. If we choose to allow others to walk along with us on the path, that is fine, but it is our journey!
The reward of finding fulfillment for yourself is that no one will be able to take it away. It is yours. Troubles will come; that is a part of life, but with a strong foundation you can weather the storms. This means we won’t be happy or even have peace all of the time, but we will not be far from knowing the steps to get back to center, no matter what life brings. Once we change our mindset, this becomes easier to do. This means that when life throws us lemons, we will accept the bitterness but make lemonade afterwards. Let’s start the fulfilled life journey today. Below are 5 tips to get started:
- Start a morning ritual that reinforces wellbeing- this may include prayer, meditation, tea-time, exercise, going outside, and/or reading– something that is uplifting for at least 5 minutes.
- Utilize Daily Affirmations- Write on your mirror in lipstick, place sticky tabs, write it in a book, (it doesn’t matter how it’s done, but utilize positive affirmations daily). Affirm something positive about yourself every single day. My personal favorite is looking into the mirror and stating something positive as if I am having a talk with myself. “Lady you are gorgeous, today,” “Self, you are the most amazing person,” “Self you are going to kill your exam, today.” Give yourself a pep talk. If you do not feel comfortable addressing yourself in first person, then try something like, “today is a perfect day to start something new.” You can find a plethora of affirmations online.
- Date yourself- If you enjoy flowers, do not wait for someone else to buy them for you. Go and buy the flowers you enjoy. You like to go out to eat, so take yourself for your favorite meal. Take a good book or your earbuds and downloaded movie or just enjoy the view and spending time with yourself.
- Stop Comparisons- it may be worth it to take a break from social media if it is reinforcing you to compare your life to other people. Take some time to appreciate all of the positive things that are going on in your life. If you struggle in this area, ask a supportive loved one to help you to list some things about your life that are positive.
- Start a gratitude journal- list at least 3 things each night of positive things that happened to you throughout the day or things that gave you peace or joy. This will help to shift our mindset. The more we think positive the more we make space for positive things to occur.
By Markesha Evans, M.A.