Why You Aren’t Happy Right Now…and How to Change That!

One of the top questions I hear is “I am making improvements in my life, why am I not happy yet?”  I get asked this about many things, but in a nutshell, the answer is actually because you really haven’t thought about being happy.  Shock!  I have thought about it a hundred times…you think.  But it drifts off into the sea of other thoughts around what you need to make you happy.  If I only had…a bigger house.  If I only had…a relationship.  More money would really help make me happy.  You then carry on with your day and your thoughts about things that would make you happy.

Lots of people are looking for happiness in the wrong places.  Some people believe happiness comes when they get what they want.  Interesting.  What next?  Do we stay happy after getting what we want then?

Life is a series of complex decisions; however, what if it didn’t have to be.  What if you could declutter your life, get rid of things you don’t want and start over.  Interesting concept.  Downsize instead of supersize?  No way.  Hmm.  But what if?

Many people don’t believe happiness is a choice that only they can make.  I am going to provide you with some tips on how you can choose happiness over and over again, and maybe, just maybe, start to see that is not based off some magical formula, a fairy tale, or even a myth that has been handed down for generations.  Happiness is truly what you make of it.

How to Create Lasting Happiness Right Now:

    • Start a gratitude journal if you don’t already have one.  I know you guys have been watching my weekly talk about this on my fan page when I am Live, but have you started your journal with me?  I am not going to stop talking about it, because we focus so much on what’s wrong, we have forgotten our joys y’all.  I had to throw a y’all in there so you would know I am serious.  Just take a look at your feed.  Count the people who post their blessings…for REAL.  Umm hmm.  Not many, right? Anyway, my exact journal is posted above.  I love it!
    • Clear your space for happiness.  Do you get depressed in a dirty house?  An unmade bed?  Dirty sheets?  No nice smelly things like oils, etc.?  Start tidying up to make room for happiness.  Happiness can start with an intention.  We feel better now because we have done something.  It actually raises our vibration to walk into a nice, clean, insert favorite scent here, room.  I have a diffuser similar to this one to help me feel relaxed and at ease.
    • Work only on what you can change…about you.  So many times, I see people worrying about what others are doing on a daily basis.  The corrupt politicians, the boss, work issues, family who do x, y, z.  All these people have faults just like you.  We aren’t getting anywhere in this world by talking about what we don’t like.  Period.  It has not ever changed one thing in my life.  What has?  Focusing on what I can do to make things better.  Writing articles to help people.  Helping people take back their lives makes me happy.  No strings attached, just pure happiness.  As I work to promote the good I see, things inside of me change as well.  As I help others, I help myself.
    • Practice makes perfect-ish.  I wanted to use this old saying, but let you know that no one is actually perfect.  However, practicing gratitude and changing your focus over and over again can actually change your percentage of happiness.  No Way.  But yes way, because a fancy researcher said so.  According to Robert Emmons, PhD in his book, Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, those who regularly practice gratitude can enhance this set point by as much as 25%.  I don’t know him, but what a cute book.  I am actually reading a similar one…but it’s almost too behavioral study based and long-winded for me.
    • Use a wide viewpoint…and not just a narrow one.  If you consistently see your problems as the only ones, then that creates an ego-based viewpoint of the world.  Be aware of your circle of friends, and what the world is also going through.  Cultivate compassion for others and their needs…but not to the point of using your needs as a basis for inserting it into every conversation.  That still brings it down to a narrow viewpoint.  Social media has made it more “me based” instead of “us based”.  Don’t be that way with your friends.
    • Always keep trying.  Just because you have a set-back, or something sad happens, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel it.  Of course you are.  But don’t stay in that place forever.  Keep on going.  Just like I said last week, you have the power to live any reality you want simply by shifting your thoughts to where you want to be. 

happiness_oneselfStill looking for more support?  Check out the tops tabs.  Work with me, or the Head|Heart|Health Club.

 

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The color of me…

Color of MeIn my previous posts on the homeless, poverty and the “ghetto”, you got to peek into my teaching career.  This post is a continuation of that theme.

The air was hot and humid.  There was no air conditioner inside that old building and you could smell the heat.  It smelled like the old laminator in the corner.  Melting sheets of plastic coating that became the covetous desire of all new teachers.  Oh, to see the sheets of shiny plastic coated items coming off of that machine.  It made a new teacher giddy.  As I signed out of the teacher resource center, I saw many names that were unfamiliar, but the school beside them was not.  I was a new hire to that school.  Typical “me” fashion says to everyone in the entire room, heyyyy ya’ll, anyone from BES here today?  Cricket.  Cricket.  No answer.  Oh that’s a shame.  I’m the new teacher there and it looks like folks are still here.  I guess not.  I turned to go and one man finally looks up with tired eyes and nods.  I’ll see you there, he says.

Well, at least that was something.  I later learned most of the people in the room were actually assigned to that school.  I don’t know if it was because my skin was not the same as theirs or if it was because I was new, but no one would look me in the eye.  That was my first sign.  When I got to the school, the teacher who had used the room previously did not want to move her things.  You see, new teachers go back a week earlier and even though I was introduced to her, she would hardly look at me and she sure as hell wasn’t moving her things out of my way.  Sign number two.  When I went to ask the secretary for something, maybe my room key perhaps or things everyone else knew, she gave me the death stare.  She stood up and said something in a clipped tone and I was left staring at her torpedo boobs because to look her in the eye at that moment scared me to death.  Sign number three.  I already mentioned open house and how half the parents didn’t show up.  So that bring me to the first week of school.  At this point, I was still not sure what I personally had ever done to anyone at this school other than be WHITE.  That’s right.  All signs led to that.

Whatever.  They were all going to have to get over this and real soon.  I’m not going to say I had an easy first year.  I did not.  It was horrible, and the kids were out of control, but that story is for another day.  At this point in my life, I loved food.  Any kind of food, but especially home cooking.  I went to the cafeteria to get my teacher meal and I was looking forward to it.  They had wonderful smelling food.  I met the cafeteria manager and she seemed okay for the most part.  However, one particular line worker would constantly glare at me.  I think I had finally reached my limit by that point.  One day, I just started talking to her and making her look at me while I carried on about whatever I could think of.  I mentioned where I student taught, and who I knew there.  I mentioned the last school I worked at part-time and how much I adored the kitchen staff there.  Little did she know one of the ladies there loved me so much she gave me her cell number and told me to call her when I left.  I spoke about what spices they put in the food and how their tuna salad was the best.  And then there seemed to be a connection of some sorts.  It was progress.  Now onto the secretary.

One day the secretary, Mrs. J,  happened to be in the teacher’s workroom at the same time I was.  Many months of ugly talking to me had already gone by at this point.  She looked at me as if I were a cockroach to be avoided, and we had those in the building as well.  I could stand it no longer.  I raised my eyes, further, further, upward beyond the torpedo boobs, and finally looked Mrs. J in the eyes.  “I do not appreciate the way you speak to me.  Do you have a problem with me?  Have I done something to you?”  You should have seen the look on her face.  First, I’m sure tiny white women do not ever speak to her like that.  Secondly, she knew I was right.  So two things happened in that moment.  One, I gained her respect.  Two, she said she was fine with me and walked off like nothing ever happened.  She smiled at me for the first time after that.

The next year, when I came back to school, everyone said hello and hugged me after the summer break.  When I went to the teacher resource center, I discovered that Mrs. J’s daughter was someone who I had been talking to for over a year.  Ha.  Did not even know it.  When I announced my pregnancy, they all threw me a baby shower and my favorite kitchen worker, God Bless her, bought my baby girl the cutest dress.  I almost cried.  I ended up teaching her Godchild that year and she always checked up on him when I got my lunch.  She even gave me extra food since I was “expecting”.  One thing is for sure, they weren’t expecting me.

So the lesson I learned that day long ago, is to please put your stereotypes behind you.  I know what it feels like to be on the other side of that.  I also know respect is earned.  Treat others the way you want to be treated no matter how hard it is, and do not let some past discrimination ruin your view of the world.  Generally speaking, people are more alike than different.  Remember that.

Qualities

True story…all mentioned would tell you the same thing and this happened over 16 years ago.

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No place like home…

A month ago, my dad reminded me of some things.  I hope you have someone in your life who believes in you like my dad believes in me.

I love you because you are strong.  My old friend often tells me how he admires your strength.
I love you because you are a good mother.  I see two happy children growing up in a happy home.
I love you because you have compassion for others.  You are always willing to help.
I love you because you have many good traits learned from us and others. You want to make life better. You make sure the girls do their homework. You have a strong bond with your husband.
I love you because you care for animals and never neglect them. You really do have a way with your pets that shows you care.
I love you because sometimes I see the little girl in you that I raised. She’s still headstrong but I see her still running around the house.
I love you because you have a good work ethic learned from your mom and me.
I love you because you are my daughter whether we agree or disagree you are my daughter.  No matter how mad you get with me I’m always there for you.
The things that make us mad usually don’t matter. Most of those things are like the wind. They are quickly blown away.  There are answers for most of our problems and praying doesn’t hurt.
And finally I love you because you have remained close to us by visiting, calling, having us over and most importantly letting me spend time with my grandchildren. My grandchildren have been the biggest blessing to me in my old age.

Sometimes you need gentle reminders of who you are and where you are going in life.  So, for my next “No”, there’s no place like home.

“Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.” 

~Sarah Ban Breathnach