“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
~ Brene Brown
This is the happiest I’ve been in my adult life.
The weird thing is…nothing extraordinary happened to bring on this new-found joy.
We didn’t land a huge new client…
…we didn’t book an exciting new vacation…
…we didn’t land on some new “a ha!” that changed everything…
…and we didn’t buy a nicer house, car, wardrobe, TV, or anything else.
While our business is better off than it was a few months ago, we’re still building back after taking a big loss on Underground, and me being disabled with crippling panic and anxiety for 6 months. (Just catching up? Go HERE for more of the story.)
We’ve also traveled less this year than any other year.
In fact, the only trips we’ve taken were close to home – Glenwood Springs, CO, for my birthday (about a 2.5 hour drive from Boulder), and a Denver staycation for Dush’s birthday.
I also haven’t resolved all the issues that contributed to my panic and anxiety, though I’m light years ahead of where I was a couple months ago.
So why am I filled with such enormous happiness and joy?
I think it comes down to a few lessons I’ve learned through my 6 month battle with crippling mental health.
There’s an Indian proverb that says, “The healthy person has a thousand dreams; the sick person has but one.”
Truer words were never spoken.
I’ve always felt grateful for my good health…but it wasn’t until it was gone for 6 months that I REALLY learned to appreciate the incredible good fortune of feeling good.
All I wanted during that period was to get my health back.
Nothing else mattered – not money, not success, not social status – NOTHING.
I truly stopped sweating the small stuff, because it all seemed insignificant compared to not having my health…
…and I didn’t know when or if I would ever get it back.
“What if I can never work again?”
“What if I never feel peace again, and this relentless, overwhelming, and obscure fear plagues me for the rest of my life? What kind of life would that be?”
“What if this keeps getting worse and I have to be committed to a mental health facility?”
These questions stalked me and terrified me for 6 months.
And when the clouds finally parted…
…when all the work I was doing finally clicked…
…I felt a level of joy and appreciation I had never known before.
Losing my health put everything in perspective and I now feel so much gratitude for the simplest things…
…getting up in the morning and feeling happy…
…being able to work…
…working out at the level I like…
…enjoying the weekend with Dush – cocktails, BBQing, movies, hiking, etc – and actually feeling JOY rather than fear…but desperately trying to feel joy.
It truly is the greatest gift in the world just to FEEL GOOD!
Getting rid of excess baggage
EMDR therapy helped me get rid of an enormous amount of weight I’d been carrying around for years, without even realizing it!
The heaviest bags I was hauling around were these:
- Limiting beliefs: My bigs ones included…
…“I’m not good enough”…
…“I need to dim my light so that my brother’s can shine brighter.”…
…“If I don’t put myself second, my parents won’t love me.”…
…”None of my problems matter because I’m not the one in the wheelchair, so I just need to suck it up.”
You can imagine the energy it took just to lug that weight around, let alone trying to do anything productive or positive.
Sorting through that craptastic bag of waste took a LONG time and involved loads of tears, rage, and despair…
…but once I got through it with my therapist, I became a whole new person!
I started believing in myself again!
I started believing I had value!
I started believing my voice mattered!
I started believing I had a right to let my light shine!
The thing with beliefs is that they don’t stay in the dynamic in which they were created.
Thinking I wasn’t good enough didn’t just stay in the dynamic of my family.
It spread its poisonous tentacles throughout every area of my life…even though I didn’t recognize it.
Now that I’m more aware, though, I can see my new positive beliefs also spreading through my life…
…but instead of poisonous tentacles, they’re like bright rays of sunlight.
It works both ways!
- Taking responsibility for my family’s happiness: I spent 30 years trying to make my brother happy and bring happiness and lightness back into our family after my brother’s accident.
No one asked me to do this.
For some reason, at 11 years old, I decided that was my job and my obligation after my brother got hurt.
I’m 42 now, and I’ve been carrying that weight around all this time without even recognizing it.
The thing is…making other people happy is impossible.
If you’re trying to do that with anyone in your life, please stop right now.
I know it’s coming from good intentions, but you can’t do it. I promise you.
It’s so cliche, but happiness is truly an inside job.
It comes from a myriad of internal patterns and beliefs and nothing outside of us can make us happy if it doesn’t already exist inside.
Trying to make other people happy feels like taking a vacuum to your insides and sucking out every last bit of energy in your body without getting anything back in return.
Clearing up the excess baggage of limiting beliefs and taking responsibility for my family’s happiness opened up massive amount of space and energy…
…and more importantly, it made room for a flood of joy in my life!
Plugging energy leaks
I had time and money going out the door to things that weren’t bringing me the benefits I expected from those expenditures.
And looking back, in most cases it’s because I expected those things to fix something in my life or fill in holes that could only be truly fixed by me.
It’s funny how we look for so many things outside of us to fix our problems…spending gobs of money and time…before we ever do what’s really necessary…
… walk the long, hard, dark road of digging deep inside.
In my case, time and energy leaks included…
….a high-end coach who didn’t provide the value I was looking for beyond the first couple of meetings…
…a high-end mastermind that hadn’t connected with me at the heart level for at least 2 years…
…and tons of travel (personal and professional), most of which was based on “I should do this”, rather than, “I 100% want to do this, and I can’t frigging wait!”.
Time and money are nothing but forms of energy, and plugging the areas I was leaking like sieve allowed me to hold a lot more energy inside of myself.
Today, I feel less scattered, more creative, more energetic, more grounded, and more directed…
…all of which makes me a whole lot happier!
The thing I’ve learned about joy is this: you’ll never find it in more money…a new relationship…a new exotic location… a new adrenaline rush…a new mastermind…a new volunteer opportunity…a new coach…or anything outside of you.
All of that can add to your happiness, but only if it lives in you to begin with.
I knew that…but now I get it.
“Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle.”
(Brene Brown, quoting the Asaro Tribe of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, in Rising Strong)
P.S. Are you ready for more joy, connection, grounding, and steadiness in your life?
Then join us for our first Wednesday Wisdom/Mindful Monday LIVE online meet-up this Friday, August 17th, at 9:00am Pacific/12:00pm Eastern
Get all the details and register here (it’s totally FREE!) => https://netmomentum.clickfunnels.com/meet