Happiness, And How To Find It

Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to “be happy”. One the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically…

…Once an individual’s search for meaning is successful, it not only renders him happy but also gives him the capability to cope with suffering

Viktor Frankl

Everybody wants to spend the majority, if not all, of their time in a state of happiness. Which stands to reason. Releasing those pent-up endorphins and experiencing genuine happiness is one of the most powerful feelings available to all of us. In that time during which we are happy, our mood and mindset is positive, the world is a wonderful place and nothing can bring us down. But how do we find genuine, lasting happiness?

Social media and marketers constantly bombard us with messages about the products or holidays which we need in order to be happy. So we fall into the trap, buy their stuff, become happy for a while, but then we see something better which we want. So the happiness wears off and we need to spend more money buying more stuff. All this leads to is a situation where we have lots of stuff, but a lack of money, and feeling anything but happy.

We also seek happiness with other people, which is a dangerous game to play. At its worst we find ourselves compromising our beliefs and values just to be accepted by others.

Increasingly, though, people are turning to self-help books. These books claim to offer us the blueprint to happiness, the shortcuts to success and the guide we need so that we can start living the life of our dreams right now. Well marketed but lacking any real substance, most of these are best avoided. There are some exceptions to the rule, though, and I would highly recommend the work of Tony Robbins among others.

The above, however, is all a lie. Permanent happiness and an easy life is a myth. Life is often referred to as a rollercoaster ride, and I couldn’t agree more. Life is not straightforward, and it doesn’t follow a formula, but it has ups and downs, twists and turns. That’s what makes it so exciting. The experiences. The good times give us pleasure, joy, happiness and good memories. The bad times teach us valuable lessons. It’s important to embrace both equally.

Happiness, then, is not about material goods or fitting in with people who are not right for you. It certainly won’t be found in a “how to” book. After all, we are all different, with different hopes, dreams, strengths, weaknesses and drives. Happiness is internal. Only you can make yourself happy, and you do this through your own perspective; how you view the world and your place in it.

This is why it’s important that you become clear on your life’s purpose and the reason why you are here today. We are not put on this Earth just to waft aimlessly through life before fading away, like a fart. Each of us has their own contribution to make and their mark to leave on the world. It could be that you make your impact as a spouse and parent, raising, supporting and providing for a family of your own. Or, you may be destined to make your mark in the art world, the music industry or in business. Or perhaps philanthropy, conservation, politics…

Reflect on who you are, what you want from life, what you hope to achieve, what your strengths are, where your weaknesses lie, what you value and where your priorities lie. This will help you to identify your purpose. This will give meaning to your life, and once your life has meaning, it all makes sense. A life with meaning is more focused, as your thoughts and actions become geared towards living in accordance with your purpose and working towards it. Most of all, though, when you have a purpose and your life has a meaning, you experience true happiness which lasts. And it doesn’t cost a a thing.

Happiness need not involve spending a penny. It’s not about having nice things and lots of money. In fact, some of the happiest people you will ever meet are those that have the least. They are happy, however, because their life has a meaning. They know what they want and are striving towards it. They also know that when things go wrong and they suffer, they are going through hell for a reason. For instance, parents will gladly endure whatever hardships life can throw at them, for the sake of their children. And a husband will endure a job which he hates but pays well, so that his wife can work part-time while raising their children. They are happy because their life has a reason. In the same way, a struggling actor or actress will juggle several jobs and live hand-to-mouth while performing in small productions. They will struggle in this manner and remain happy, because they know that this is all helping to get them closer to where they really want to be in life – Hollywood. Essentially, when your life has a meaning, even the most challenging of times can be a source of happiness.

If you want to be really happy, genuinely and deeply happy, figure out what your life’s meaning or purpose is. Once you have determined this, live according to it. That’s the formula which works. It takes hard, introspective, soul searching and reflection but in the end it’s all worthwhile as your perspective shifts and your quality of life improves for the better.

Why “Me-Time” Is So Important

The funny thing is when you start feeling happy alone, that’s when everyone decides to be with you

Jim Carrey

It’s great to be around people whose company we enjoy. We are social creatures after all. It’s also good, however, to spend time alone. This is the time in which we get to really reflect on our lives and whether we are happy, and look after our own needs.

It feels strange to put your needs first, and more than just a little bit selfish. It is, however, an essential part of helping others. Ask yourself, if you’re not happy and stable, how can you really help others? Work on your own life first, and once you are on the right track, then you can give your time and attention to whoever may need it.

Think about it this way. When somebody else offers advice, do you just stop and do what they suggest immediately, or do you weigh up their words against how they are living their lives? The fact is that we can’t influence or support others with words alone. We become a source of influence or inspiration to others when they see that we are living in accordance with our beliefs and values.

In order to live in accordance with our beliefs and values, we have to know what they are. That comes through honest, uninterrupted self reflection. Getting feedback from others is helpful, but it’s your own personal feedback which really matters. This is why time alone is important. It’s the time in which you get to figure out what you want from life, what makes you happy, what aspects of your life you are dissatisfied with and what you can do about them. Time alone is the time in which you can also just be yourself.

In our daily lives, many of us are expected to behave in a certain manner in certain situations. For instance, you might be conducting yourself in one way at work and then another in a social setting later that evening. As much as we try to live in congruence with our beliefs and values, sometimes we have to compromise depending on the circumstances. All of this compromising or playing a role is exhausting, though. That’s why some “me-time” is essential. It’s a period of time which you carve out of your day and give yourself permission to really relax, be yourself and recharge your batteries.

Too much time spent alone can lead you to feel withdrawn or lonely. On the other hand, too much time spent with others can lead to feelings of anxiety and pressure to behave in a certain way, to the point where you begin to forget about your own beliefs and values. That is why, like riding a bicycle, balance is essential. Spend time with others, but also carve out some private time in your day for yourself, and protect it. Schedule some “me-time” in your diary if you have to, but make sure to do it. This is one of the keys to self-awareness and genuine happiness.

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, spending time alone leads to better, stronger relationships. As you become more self-aware and start living accordingly, you become happier. As you become happier, people find themselves drawn to you. Not just any people, but those with similar beliefs and values. In effect, spending time alone in order to work on yourself leads to genuine relationships being formed with others. This brings further happiness, because you are not fighting for the acceptance of others, but rather just being yourself while being surrounded by people who appreciate and respect you as you are. It’s a win-win.

So, start spending a little time alone every day. Clear your mind and free yourself of the pressures of the outside world, while taking an honest look at yourself and your life. Use this as an opportunity to weed out all of the toxic influences in your life and relationships which you might have outgrown. Then, prepare to invite into your life positive influences and the people who respect you as you are.

Happiness Is Your Choice.

If you find yourself unhappy with your life right now, rest assured that you are not as helpless as you may feel. The power to change your circumstances is in your own hands. It just takes a little courage, and some difficult decisions, that’s all.

Too often, we stay in jobs, relationships, places and friendships long after we have outgrown them. They are familiar, and familiarity makes us feel comfortable. Letting go of them would launch us into the unknown, and this is a very scary place. So, even though we are no longer happy, we keep our mouths shut and carry on, hoping that the people in our lives or our surroundings will change for the better. Sometimes they do, but often they don’t. Take personal relationships of all kinds, for example. If someone is making you feel unappreciated or unloved, but they are doing it unintentionally and are unaware of how they are making you feel, waiting for them to change is never going to end well. How are they supposed to know that they need to address their behavior if you don’t address this with them? They may very well be laboring under the assumption that all is well. In the meantime, you become increasingly unhappy, possibly even resentful, until it all gets to a head, a massive fight ensues  and you go your separate ways. This is not good, and it is avoidable.

Unhappiness, restlessness and frustration are all warning signs. They don’t mean, however, that you should just drop everything and run away. They are warning signs that you are not living in accordance to your values and priorities. You are living in a town which you don’t like, because your friends and family live there too. You stay in a relationship because being single terrifies you. You keep friends around who you no longer share much in common with, because you don’t want to become a loner. You are unable to live your life as you would like to, because you are too busy accommodating others. Feelings of unhappiness are a wake-up call, reminding you that you have stopped putting yourself first and need to take back control of your life.

I am not, for one moment, saying that all of life and everyone in it should conform to your wants and needs. Life is about learning and growing, and as we do this we change. We outgrow some people and environments, while others need adjustment. Therefore, it is essential that you know what you need to walk away from, and what areas you need to compromise on. After all, you will never have everything your way. Even if you did get your way all of the time, that too would eventually become boring and make you feel miserable.

The only way to truly know why you are unhappy and unfulfilled is through reflection. There are plenty of great ways to do this, but this works best for me;

  • Determine you ideal method for reflection. This can be done on a note-taking app on your phone, but I prefer good old pen and paper. The process of putting pen to paper is a much more powerful process than tapping letters into a phone or computer. My journal of choice is a Moleskine notebook.
  • Clear your schedule and surroundings. Try and find somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted. Turn your phone on silent and put it away. Now, you can think and reflect, without being disturbed. On a good day, i’ll do this in the park or in the garden.
  • Write freely. This is the most important part of the whole process. Just put pen to paper, or stylus to screen, and write without taking a break for 10 minutes. Don’t think about it, just let the words flow.
  • Read and reflect on what you have written. Having written everything down quickly, you weren’t able to overthink anything or censor it. So, now you have in front of you everything which was troubling you. Read through it carefully and see what lessons you can draw from it. Is it that you no longer enjoy your job? Is it a friend or partner who no longer makes you feel valued? Whatever it is that is troubling you, you will discover it here.
  • Ask yourself why. Now that you have identified the source of your misery, ask yourself honestly why this is a problem and what can be done about it. Is this a situation that requires walking away from, or can it be salvaged with a bit of work? Is it that your values or priorities have changed?

You can’t change everyone or everything around you, but you can change the environment you choose to spend time in. Life is too short to waste your time on people who do not respect, appreciate and value you. Spend your time, and life, with people who make you smile, love, feel valued and feel loved. Only you can decide what happiness looks like to you, and only you can do something about it. So, will you choose to be happy, or just accept things as they are and remain miserable?

Where Does Your Focus And Attention Rest?

Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say “so what?”

Andy Warhol

There is no magic combination of personal circumstances (relationships etc), finances and career that automatically lead to happiness. It’s up to you whether your life is one that makes you happy or miserable, because it’s a matter of perspective. It comes down to your life experiences, needs, wants, desires and how they make you feel. In short, life is what you make of it.

This really is as simple as it sounds, but we often forget it. We forget the power we have to forge our destinies and shape the world around us. Instead, we look to outside sources for inspiration or guidance on how to be happy and lead a fulfilled life. We seek advice or support from family and friends, and look to social media for an idea as to what we should have in our lives, or what we should be aiming for, in order to feel happy and accomplished.

It’s never a bad thing to seek the advice, or be inspired by, others. We shouldn’t, however, rely on it completely or follow their lead. We have to listen to ourselves first and foremost. The problem of looking to others for guidance or approval is that we assume that we can automatically replicate their results by copying them and following their lead. This is pure fantasy, though, as there are factors such as circumstances, opportunity and timing which are not taking into account. Most importantly…Why on earth would you just want to copy others and live as their clone? Would you rather not just be yourself, and live your life in a way which makes you happy?

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is perspective, not the truth

Marcus Aurelius

The above quote should be displayed everywhere, so we never forget this simple truth. Social media is make-believe. It’s simply not real. People show you only what they want you to see. As for our friends and family, all advice and guidance from others is never impartial, it’s a reflection of their own experiences, fears and insecurities. That is why the path to happiness lies in self awareness, learning about who we are and what we really want and adjusting our perspective accordingly.

In my life, I have met people with very little, struggling to support themselves and their families. They were genuinely happy, though. Speaking to them, I learned that they were happy because they felt loved by their families and friends, they were grateful for the little that they had and they felt blessed that they had opportunities to improve their circumstances if they worked hard enough. I have also met people with the best educations and careers, able to afford anything their heart desired, who still feel unfulfilled and unhappy. Their unhappiness largely lies in where they let their attention wander. Rather than practice gratitude for what they achieved this far, they focus on what others have and that they lack. So, they constantly postpone their happiness until they have a bigger house, faster car or better job. In this way, they will never be happy because they are always comparing their lives to others and always one step behind in cha. sing after what they have

Do you sit and beat yourself up about not having a big house, flashy car or millions in the bank? Or are you grateful for what you have, and constantly striving to become, and achieve, more? It’s a question of where you let your focus rest. This is why it’s important to reflect regularly on what we have in our lives for which we are grateful. It serves as a reminder of how far we have come,and what we have to be thankful for. It also grounds us and stops us from getting carried away by social media’s distorted reality. It reminds us who we are, what we have achieved so far and what goodness we already have in our lives. From here, we can focus on what we still need to improve the quality of our lives, and go after it.

What Matters Most…

What matters most are the simple pleasures so abundant that we can all enjoy them…Happiness doesn’t lie in the objects we gather around us. To find it, all we need to do is open our eyes

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ~ The Little Prince

I recently re-read The Little Prince and quickly remembered why this is such a popular and powerful book, read across the globe. While it was intended for a younger audience, it’s a book which i’d recommend to adults too as it contains powerful observations about life and human nature. The story itself is enjoyable, but the real value comes from the way in which it makes the reader stop and think about the world and their place in it.

The main theme of The Little Prince is the importance of looking beneath the surface to find the real truth and meaning of a thing. It is the fox who teaches the Prince to see with one’s heart instead of just with one’s eyes. Unfortunately, this is something which most adults have difficulty doing. As we get older, we get bombarded with messages about what life should look like, and are processed through an education system which is out of tune with the world for which its students are being prepared. In the process, too many of us lose our sense of curiosity and even our creativity as we focus instead on becoming the kind of person society wants us to be. We focus on getting the best education, to secure the best career which will in turn pay us the best salary with which we can afford to buy a nice house and a nice car before meeting someone with whom to start a family. All pretty intensive and exhausting stuff, and with only 24 hours in a day, something has to give…

That something which usually falls by the wayside? The simple pleasures in life which bring so much happiness, joy and meaning to our lives. That is why I wanted to share the above quote, because it’s so powerful. We become so busy chasing after grades and jobs that we often forget or forego the time we should be spending enjoying our lives. We find ourselves overworked, stressed and often miserable, desperately seeking a solution.

This is where Marketers and Social Media Influencers come in. Their sole purpose is to influence our decision-making processes, so that we spend our hard-earned cash on things which we neither want nor need. We all like to think of ourselves as intelligent and perceptive, so how are they able to get away with this?! In short, they assign certain emotions to their products or services. We are led to believe that having their product in our lives will lead us to feel happy, satisfied or fulfilled. Or, another approach they use is one by which we become convinced that without their product or service, we won’t be happy and our quality of life will not improve. All of which is, of course, nonsense.

Buying things in order to feel better doesn’t work. All that happens is that you are left with a cupboard full of junk and an empty bank account. Hardly a cause for celebration. The reality is that happiness is a feeling and a mindset. It’s internal, and controlled by you, and you alone. It is, essentially, your choice whether to be happy or not and all comes down to what you choose to focus on. Do you focus on that which you already have in your life, and for which you are thankful? Or do you instead spend your time reflecting on what you don’t have but others do? Attaching your happiness to material possessions, or comparing your life with others, will only lead to disappointment, frustration and a lack of fulfillment.

Achieving happiness doesn’t require the latest smartphone or designer handbag. It requires quietening your mind through meditation or journalling, before taking time to appreciate the true beauty of life; whether that’s in our personal relationships or spending time surrounded by nature. These are just two of the simple pleasures which are so abundant that we can all enjoy them. Anybody can experience these pleasures at any time, young or old, rich or poor. It doesn’t even require you to open your wallet.

All you need to do is set some time aside to open your eyes and your heart. Take some time to truly appreciate the beauty of life, and the things which money can’t buy. That is the path to happiness.

Passion, and doing what you love

“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing”

Hunter S Thompson

Passion is a powerful emotion and, when it’s controlled, it is a beautiful thing. It can bring untold joy and satisfaction, or simply provide an antidote to feeling lost or unfulfilled. It can inspire and motivate us, or provide a welcome respite from the trials and tribulations of daily life.

Passion is more than just an emotion, however, but also a very popular topic for conversation and debate. Business books, journal articles and blogs are increasingly advising us to chase our passions. After all, if we are passionate about something, we will be more inclined to devote a large chunk of our time to it, as it won’t feel like work. We are told that we should think like entrepreneurs and find a way to turn our passions into businesses. Many people are doing exactly this and have become incredibly successful in the process, but it’s not for everyone. It’s not easy, either.

Not everyone wants to turn their passion into a business. Some people just want to enjoy the benefits of doing something which they love. Their rewards come from the happiness, inner peace or adrenaline rush which they may experience. Monetising your passion and turning it into a business, on the other hand, can take away some of its shine and enjoyment. Your passion then gets tied up with the added pressure of financial gain and this can blur the lines between work and fun. That thing which you did simply because you loved it, you are now doing it for money.  Some people are successful in this pursuit, but others find themselves unable to turn their passion into a sustainable or scalable business, or simply lose interest.

Before you even get to the stage of deciding whether to turn your passion into a business, you need to know what it is that makes your heart sing. Many people just don’t know. Their lives become routine and comfortable, and almost seem to run on autopilot. This is why we need people to rediscover their passion, whether it’s to become a business venture or just for personal enjoyment. Passionate people are, after all, happy and can create wonderful things. This all starts, as with most things, with reflection and becoming more self-aware. You have to know yourself, in order to know what truly makes you happy.

So, as you ponder your passion and what it is that makes you tick, i’d like to leave you with a few prompts for reflection which might help;

  • What did you enjoy doing when you were younger?
  • What do you feel that you would be unable to live without?
  • If money were not an issue and you were finances were comfortable, what would you spend your days doing?
  • What would you be prepared to do full-time without being paid?
  • What subject could you read 20 books about without getting bored?

Well… what are you passionate about?

 

Duty

“Man’s happiness lies not in freedom, but in the acceptance of a duty”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Duty is a word which we often hear in our daily lives, from the workplace to the church and everywhere in-between, but struggle to define. What actually is it? It’s sometimes interchanged with the terms purpose or responsibility, but is it really the same ?

There are a lot of similarities. Responsibility, as with duty, can mean being accountable for someone or something. It can also mean an obligation to successfully carry out an action. While there is a lot of interchangeability here with duty, the difference is that I regard duty as being the more powerful driving force of the two. Duty is intrinsically motivated. With a sense of duty, you become involved in an activity not out of self interest and gain, but rather out of compulsion, commitment and a drive that comes from deep inside. Duty is stronger than purpose too. Purpose illuminates the path towards a goal or aim, on which you will focusing your thoughts and actions. Purpose helps you to remain focused when things are going well and to get back on track when faced with challenges. A duty, however, runs deeper.

Duty is something which we feel morally obliged to do, but it is born within us only after we become more self-aware. In essence, duty comes from a clear understanding of the principles by which you will live your life. To be able to fully understand and define those principles, however, you must first have a good understanding of who you really are. If you truly hope to embark on a journey of achievement and discovery, at the end of which you fulfill your potential, inward reflection is the logical starting point. Once you have a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses, what drives you and what you hope to achieve from life, you are then in a good position to define your goals, purpose, duties and responsibilities.

In defining our duties and devoting ourselves to them, we can find fulfillment and a sense of inner peace. Subordinating and sacrificing ourselves to our duties can also give a deeper meaning to our lives, or simply make us happier.

 

 

 

 

Before you help others, help yourself.

I recently watched a video in which serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk warns that you need to be selfish before you can even think of being selfless. I was initially surprised to hear this because they are complete opposites, but it gave me plenty of food for thought. A few days later, I had a flight to catch. As usual, my mind wandered as the safety demonstration began, but I came back around just in time to hear the announcement instruct passengers that, in the event of an emergency, they should secure their own safety vest before helping others with theirs. In other words, only after you have helped yourself should you attempt to help others. Cue even more reflection.

After my initial skepticism, I actually began to understand and appreciate the brilliance of this advice. If your intentions are noble and you only wish to help others and be kind, the first step is to be kind to yourself. After all, if you are struggling in your personal life or career, how are you going to help anyone else?

Helping others in place of helping yourself will neither make your troubles go away, nor is it a substitute for them. Simply put, if you prioritise the needs of others over your own, it’s just another form of escapism.

In order to achieve anything in life, regardless of your goals, you need to first work on yourself. You need to define your purpose, identify your goals and learn to become resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks. This, in turn, will help you to become stronger and more rounded as a person. From that position, you can use your experiences to help other people meet the challenges which they may be facing.

In short, the more you work on yourself and build your self-awareness and strength, the better you will be able to help others and make a difference in their lives.

 

Discipline

“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory was over themselves. Self-discipline with all of them came first”

Harry S Truman

When exploring the multitude of factors which have the power to influence or contribute to our happiness and success, there is one which reigns supreme. Discipline. Mastery over the self, and a certain level of control over our emotions and impulses, can bring serious benefits to all areas of our lives from our health and fitness to our relationships with others, our professional lives and everything in-between.

There have been a number of studies over the years which have explored the power and benefits of discipline in depth, and if there is one common theme, it is that those who practice self-discipline are often happier as a result. Better yet is the fact that discipline is a learned behaviour. It is not something that you are born with, but rather it’s within reach for all of us. So, if you want to become more disciplined, it is entirely possible as long as you put the effort and hard work in. And hard work it most certainly is. In order to become disciplined, you must master the self. This means becoming more aware of who you are, what motivates you, your hopes and fears and your vision for the future. Furthermore, you become more acutely aware of your emotions and what triggers them, leading you to becoming more effective at controlling them as well as your impulses. This culminates in a person developing a sense of balance and becoming more able to make better informed and more rational decisions, which are not governed by impulse and emotion. Your decision-making process becomes proactive and guides you towards your goals as you spend less time and energy simply reacting to the world around you.

Becoming more disciplined requires constant practice and reflection, but the results are more than worth the hard work and effort required. Alongside the increased self-awareness and impulse control, as you work on becoming more disciplined, you will find bad habits being broken and replaced with healthier, more productive ones.

When it comes to the “how” of becoming more disciplined, there is no singular, winning formula. This stands to reason, as we are all unique and on our own individual journeys towards our vision of success. There are, however, a few proven and popular methods, and i’ll end with my top 4;

  • Expressing gratitude. We live in an age of consumerism and are relentlessly bombarded with messages about things that we need to buy in order to be happy. The result is that we spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy focusing on what we lack, and how important it is for our future happiness to have it. Essentially, we are allowing our impulses and actions to be manipulated by clever marketers and salespeople. If you want to become more disciplined, you need to take control here. This starts with a shift towards appreciation and gratitude. Focus, instead, should be switched to what you already have and are grateful for.
  • Eating healthier foods, sleeping well and exercising regularly. Fighting temptation and cravings in order to lead a healthier lifestyle will build a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. As the saying goes, “Mens sana in corpore sano” or “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.
  • Organisation. This is one area which you can practice at work, as well as at home, in order to become more disciplined. In becoming more organised, you become better able to prioritise tasks and manage your time effectively, as well as your emotions and energy levels.
  • Resilience. Discipline is also about willpower and mental strength, and the one area where this guaranteed to be regularly tested is in our response to setbacks. As you develop the ability persevere through hard times, you will find yourself becoming more disciplined. This, in turn, will help you to develop the strength to bounce back from challenges and get yourself back on the path towards your goals.

 

 

 

 

If you want to be happy, be true to yourself

Recently, we have looked at authenticity  and being yourself from several different angles. Why do I feel that it is so important to address this issue? In short, I am sharing my reflections on authenticity because I strongly believe that knowing who you are and behaving accordingly has the power to lay the foundations for happiness in your life.

Too many people live in fear of the judgement of others, be it the disapproval of a parent or sibling, or a negative comment on social media. As a result, people live their lives seeking acceptance and fearing rejection. In effect, people are allowing others to dictate their lives, and their happiness. This breeds frustration, misery and inner conflict. 

The time has come now to stop complaining and making excuses for your unhappiness and why your life may not be  progressing as you’d like. The truth is that you alone have the power to address this. Once you have progressed far along enough on your journey of self discovery to have a good understanding of who you are, act accordingly. There may be some resistance from friends and family at first, but that will fade and they will accept the new, happy you. If social groups reject and ostracise you this is a sign that it wasn’t meant to be, but another group will welcome you with open arms and accept you as you are. After all, as one door closes another will open.

We only have one life. Wouldn’t it be a terrible shame to spend it living up to the expectations of others while denying our true selves?! This has the potential to breed regret later in life, which is a powerful and painful emotion. The good news is that this scenario is avoidable if you can find the courage to be yourself. It’s not easy, discovering and accepting who you truly are, but the rewards make the  effort and hard work worthwhile.

I’d like to end this post with some food for thought from the philosopher Carl Jung;

Whoever looks into the mirror of the water will see first of all his own face. Whoever goes to himself risks a confrontation with himself. The mirror does not flatter, it faithfully shows whatever looks into it; namely, the face we never show to the world because we cover it with the persona, the mask of the actor. But the mirror lies behind the mask and shows the true face.

“Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious” (1935). In CW 9, Part I: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. P.43