What does happiness mean to you?
During my workshops, I sometimes joke about a vacuum cleaner advert. (Bear with me, I promise this will make sense.)
You might have seen it on TV: it’s the one that says that you need it because it’s going to change your life. The advertiser says you can hoover cordlessly for 45 minutes. (I don’t know anyone who does that). But nevertheless this revolutionary product, they’ll tell you, is what’s missing from your life and it’s going to make everything better. And without it, life isn’t good enough.
Such powerful language can tempt us without realising into believing that things can make us happy.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s that time I bought a pair of sparkly Doc Martins it made me joyful. And joy matters as explained in this week’s video below. But joy is just one ingredient of happiness.
Joy is when we win £2 on a scratch card or when someone we like asks us out on a date. It’s in the colours we wear, and the places we hang out.
Happiness is knowing that even if that doesn’t happen, we’re alright as we are. It’s is a sense of contentment, of inner peace; a belief that no matter what happens in life you’re ok. Where joy can be transitory, happiness goes the distance.
Happiness actually looks a lot like love.
Love, like happiness, “is more than a rush of feeling that happens to us if we’re lucky” as Valerie Kaur, inspired by the Sikh Warrior-ess Mai Ghabo, explains in this video.
And it starts with including your own needs are being met.
It’s being able look at yourself in the mirror and smile, because you’ve found a way to sit comfortably with yourself without judgement. It’s being able to “make peace” with what’s happened, when forgiveness for those who caused pain doesn’t feel possible. And it’s guarding against the things (and people) that can impact your long-term well-being.
This week, set the intention to Protect Your Happiness. Take a moment to think about what that means to you, and imagine what life would be like if everything was as it should be. What job would you be doing? Which people would you spend the most time with? How would you be talking to yourself? How will you show yourself that you matter, every day? Then contemplate what healthy steps you can take to get you where you want to be. Intentionally create moments of joy (this video might help), and if you know there are people who are stealing your joy, think about how you can defend against that to achieve your long-term goal. Reach out to those who can help you, and above all find a comfortable way to be kind to yourself in this process.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020