Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘happiness index’

How Full Is Your Cup?

Remember the song we sang in kindergarten, ‘If Your Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands?’ One line in the lyrics is especially telling, ‘your face will surely show it.’ When you look- really look – into the face and eyes of another person you can see how they view others and life in general. Another indicator of their view on life is their voice. Listen carefully and you will hear how they expect the future to play out. The face, body language, and word choices a person uses all tell a story that invites us in or keeps us at a distance. Their energy can fill us with happiness, peace and hope for the future or drain us with pessimism and worry about tomorrow. As hard as we may try to hide our true feelings we are really just open books to those who care about us.

When someone we trust cares enough to offer a helpful suggestion or observation about our comments or behavior they are giving their time, energy and love to try to help us just as we do for them. If we are open, and set our fears aside, their input they can assist us on, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘ The never ending task of self improvement.’

Just as we can see and feel the ‘happiness index’ of others they can be a witness to our own level of contentment and peace. Is it time for a personal happiness check? The next time you look in the mirror stop a moment and think about what you see and what others may see in you. Do you see reflected back a smile or peace behind your eyes that tell a story about the wonderful possibilities of tomorrow? You might also try to listen to yourself as you are talking to others. Are your statements generally positive or can you hear more negative, energy limiting statements? Each time we allow ourself to think or say negative thoughts we are robbing ourselves of the energy – the life force of life.

Our free will allows us to decide how we want to live out our days on this planet. We can choose to see our cup as half full (optimism) or half empty (pessimism) and live accordingly. Although the amount in the cup is the same, one type of thinking gives us hope and energy for tomorrow, the other despair and a feeling of hopelessness about our lot in life. It is important to remember that the Universe will match the type of energy that is foremost in our thinking. If you want more problems – think negatively – if you want more positives in your life – think positive. It is both that simple and complex. It is not easy to change you habits that by definition have become ingrained but it is so worth doing so!

Have a great few days!

As always, we have the gift of free will to accept or reject these observations.

Fear of the Unknown

We like closure. It helps us feel more in control. However, if closure is not immediate what do we do? Frequently, we fill in the details about what this MIGHT mean. Our monkey brains work nonstop and our past experiences often fill in the unknown with fear, anxiety and negative thinking. Fear, in itself, can be a good thing. It has allowed us to evolve by signaling the need for a flight response. For instance, one could think of the letters in the word fear as standing for ‘f… everything and run’ when you feel physically threatened.

Another valid interpretation of the letters in fear could mean ‘false evidence appearing real’ when we don’t have enough information to understand the meaning behind a situation. In this circumstance your choice of interpretation is just that, your choice and your interpretation based on incomplete data. When you slow down and think more deeply about what you really don’t yet know about the circumstance you gain a sense of control and greater self confidence.

Ultimately, when additional information is supplied we usually think to ourselves, ‘Oh, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.’ It might even be a good thing eventually but at the initial moment we often have a tendency to put ourselves through a boat load of stress and worry. Why?

We act consistently with beliefs about ourselves which were formed from childhood and further developed through life experiences. The problem is that we often create our own filters during moments of stress and negative experiences then use these filters to interpret the future. This is especially true if someone in our lives has been in a position that, over time, created fear or anxiety in our lives. Maybe we had a parent or boss that used intimidation or fear as a method of control. If you have experienced this it really says a lot more about their insecurities than about your own capabilities. But as you are creating your own life filters you are rarely able to internalize this point.

The good news is that once we realize that our fears often develop from either lack of information or from the negative behavior directed from others we can do something about it! When we feel fear or anxiety about future events begin to take over our thinking we have the power to slow down our thinking, exhale slowly, and remember that 99% of what we fear or worry about never comes to pass. Future events can be interpreted with fear and anxiety OR a belief in your own personal power. If you reflect upon the many things in life that you have been able to manage, accomplish and overcome, it will help you gain a renewed sense of confidence. You really can handle whatever life has in store.

Visualize the phrase ‘jumping to conclusions.’ It’s a funny image. Would you normally arrive at a conclusion about something in your life without all the needed information? Would you buy something, designed something or conclude something about someone with few facts? Probably not. Yet this is exactly what we do to ourselves when we allow fear or anxiety from previous experiences to control our interpretation of future events.

Learning to control our response to stressful or difficult circumstances is not easy. It takes practice. We may fall back, occasionally, to the ‘what ifs’ in life. That’s okay. The amount of TIME we allow ourselves to REMAIN in that state seems to determine our happiness index in life overall. Something to think about!

Have a great few days!

Happiness is an Inside Job

Listening to a webcast yesterday, I was hooked from the first statement. The moderator (Lisa Garr, the host of the Aware Show) said, “Did you know the number one goal people have worldwide is to be happy.” Then she added a shocking statistic, when responding to a survey on personal happiness, Nigerians ranked number 1 with the happiest people and the U.S. ranked 46 out of the 50 areas surveyed. Researching this further, I discovered that Nigeria has a per capita income of $2,748. The people of this country live on $1.25 -$2.00 per day. Health care, life expectancy even access to drinking water in the rural areas are major challenges dealt with on a daily basis. Yet, they are happier? Why?

Robert Holden, a British psychologist has been running a course on happiness for over 15 years. He explains that when we look OUTSIDE ourselves for happiness it is our ego controlling our thinking. For instance, the thought, ‘I will be happy when…’ ( I get a better job, a new boss, more money, etc.) is conditional happiness that doesn’t last. If you, by chance, achieve one of your “wish fors” by habit you will simply replace it with the next thing on your mental want list and feel unhappy, unsettled once again. Funny how that works. We are never at a loss for our next want. This approach keeps us locked into a thinking pattern of lack rather than abundance. We focus on the negative energy involved in what we don’t have causing us to feel lack in our lives rather than on what we do have which brings the positive energy of abundance to our tables.

Maybe the Nigerians do not live in a constant state of want but rather accept what they have with a belief in themselves and a higher power, feeling gratitude for simply being able to live another day. Sounds deceptively simple, yet their happiness ranking is number 1. They must be doing something differently than we are to achieve that ranking.

We each have the DNA of Divinity in us. Being happy, regardless of our circumstance is something we can achieve if we recognize the root cause of happiness. We were born happy – a gift from the Universe. Somewhere along the way we began comparing ourselves to others and accepting negative messages or experiences in our lives as truth. We may have lost our happiness – our belief and confidence in ourself – along the way. Our egos may have gotten involved and we began judging ourselves and others and the cycle of unhappiness began. Something in our lives from then on just felt a bit off.

Let’s return to the place where we were early in our lives, a place before life happened to us, a place of self acceptance. You are on your own unique path and learning the lessons you have chosen to learn in this lifetime. You don’t need to be more or less of something. You are perfect in the image of the Divine. When you think about it the Divine Energy that created you doesn’t make mistakes. The Energy made you perfect in every way so that you could learn the lessons you have chosen to learn this time around. You are learning, growing and becoming the person you wanted to become. Once you accept yourself, unconditionally, for who you really are – a spiritual soul in a physical body who is on their own unique path of learning, you experience happiness from the INSIDE and that can’t ever be taken away from you. It is not something to be bought, achieved or acquired. In other words, happiness truly is an inside job.

It may take time for these thoughts to take seed. I visualize these ideas like a feather. They are not something to be grasped at but rather to let settle into your outstretched hand or mind as you think about them over time. True happiness – the kind that brings a smile to your face for no apparent reason at all – will come to you once you accept the thought that the DNA of Divinity is in you and remember that the Universal Energy/God does not make mistakes.

Have a great few days!

Happiness from the Inside

Last night I was talking to a friend and said, “I am happy from the inside out.” Having lived through many life traumas, most recently the suicide of her husband, she said, “Wow, I never thought about happiness that way.” Those of you who have been following my blogs or who have read my book, Just Behind the Door, understand that I have also experienced many, many losses in my life. I do not talk from theory but from experience.

It may seem strange to talk about happiness on a website dealing with loss but it is something worth considering. Research has found that prosperity, health and physical attractiveness are only MINIMALLY related to one’s overall happiness. True, genetics does play a part in the happiness level of each person but ONLY a part. In fact, researchers have actually written a book on the topic of our “happiness set point.” Their work concludes that beyond circumstance and genetics, each of us has an additional 40% that we control in reference to our happiness index. Just think about that for a moment, 40% control – totally at our discretion – to determine how we will live our life. Amazing, isn’t it? We have the power to determine if we will be happy or sad, kind or offensive, giving or taking. The choice is always up to us.

The loss you may have had in our life will not be made easier by seeing your cup as half-empty for the rest of your life. Please think about how the loved one that you lost would want you to live the rest of your life; in sadness and remorse or ultimate happiness because of what you had the opportunity to experience.

We hear daily about the importance of having an optimistic attitude. Realizing that we CHOSE this life, with these lessons, takes away any possible issue of blame. It simply is what it is because we chose it. Accepting that allows us to forgive ourselves and others for the events of the past. We then can develop a sense of wonder – amazement even – for the people and opportunities in our future.

Make tomorrow a great day and remember, “All is as it should be.”