Cultivating Happiness

This idea of cultivating happiness is revolutionizing to me. I’ve never heard those two words together until this last month. I’m sure this idea has been around a long time but I’m just now catching on. To cultivate means to foster the growth of  X according to Merriam Webster dictionary, and Dictonary.com states that it means to promote or improve the growth of (x) by labor and attention.  I looked up a few synonyms of happiness and my favorites: pleasure, contentment, delight, joy, satisfaction, and bliss.

Why is no one teaching this?!

How many of us walk around with the expectation that happiness will fall in our laps? We look for it in people, in food, in our possessions, and always we are left disappointed. We redouble our efforts and seem to just miss happiness. It stares us down, but we are so busy looking for it we can’t see it. We make excuses for our lack of happiness, and blame everyone else for our misfortune.  We are jealous of those people who seem to be genuinely happy and fear that happiness is not in our cards.

We have been given so much yet we are so unhappy and miserable. 

Who is to blame? No one but myself. No one may have ever taught me that I have to create my own happiness, but I neglected to ask if maybe there was a different, better way. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We have just taken society’s happiness formula at face value without ever having examined it. I think a lot of times we just take what we have been told as fact but in reality, it couldn’t be further than the truth. We often trade the truth for a lie without even realizing it. Lies, although cheap at first, always end up costing far us more than the truth in the end. We have been sold a defective idea, and we have been informed it’s a user error and there are no refunds.

But the truth? 

Happiness is yours for the taking. I’m not saying it will fall in your lap, in fact, it will take time, energy, and commitment. Just like a garden, you will have to tend to it in the spring and in the hot summer months. You will have to water it and pull the weeds, but the end product is so satisfying and can be shared with others. The first step is knowing what you want to plant. If you are satisfied with anything, you won’t know the difference between a weed and a vegetable. Do you know what makes you happy? I’m guessing you’ve never just sat down and asked yourself that question( don’t worry I didn’t know either ).  For me, spending quality time with my favorite people brings me so much joy. One of my favorite things to do is to turn on my favorite songs and dance like no one is watching (in my house, of course, I’m not brave enough to do it in public…yet).  I schedule myself in my to-do list because if I don’t I will never make time for happiness.

Below is a list of things that bring happiness into my life:

  • dancing
  • exercising
  • spending time with my family
  • snuggling with my dog
  • taking a nice, long bubble bath
  • having deep conversations with my friends
  • reading a book snuggled up
  • helping others succeed
  • blogging
  • making delicious snacks
  • being silly
  • picking wildflowers
  • having fresh flowers in my house
  • wearing a cute outfit
  • yoga
  • being in nature
  • eating fruits and veggies
  • spending time with my sisters and nieces
  • laughing so hard my stomach hurts
  • being kind

Make your own list, see how you feel at the end of the month.

Choose to create happiness in your life and it will overflow to others around you. We all know that the world could use more happiness and it is up to us to create it. Let me end by saying, that you alone are responsible for your own happiness. It is not your significant other’s job, or your job’s job, or anyone else’s job. You cannot blame anyone else for your own unhappiness.

P.S You can no longer pretend you didn’t know, the choice is yours 🙂

Signed,

A very happy twenty-two year old

 

 

 

 

 

Mountaintop Versus Valley

 

I have not always been on the mountaintop, more often than not the valley is where I spend much of my time. I get really upset when I feel I should already have moved on from the valley, almost a one step forward two back kind of thing. I have such high expectations for myself that sometimes I forget I am human and will make mistakes. In my imperfection, I will stumble and fall. Being human allows me to connect with others and be relatable. My biggest “flaw” I will turn into my biggest strength. In the same breath, I have a hard time connecting with those who pretend their life is totally together. Everyone can see it a million miles away. If they can’t be honest with themselves, then they won’t be honest with me.

Having tried to take the task of being perfect on, has left me exhausted! Behind my mask of perfection, I forgot what it means to be real. I could only see the world from the perspective of perfection. Nice and pleasing at first, Perfection morphs into a cruel master, long hours and no pay, with weekly bonuses of pain and misery. In our ignorance, we blindly accept the terms given without bothering to read the fine print. Having lived this way for all of my life I was not aware there was another way. The truth had been right before my eyes but I was blind to it.

I am here to tell you there is a better way, one that offers rest and peace. Escape the Valley of Perfection and the town of Superiority to Mt. Authenticity via Excellence Way. The Valley of Perfection is a place that leads only to the dead-end town of Superiority. Superiority has the biggest, most hypnotic light show and entertainment I have ever seen but before you know it you’ve been there for ten years. Perfection steals your most valuable resource: time and unapologetically does so. It is crowded in Superiority but the view is so much better on Mt. Authenticity. Join me where the air is clear and refreshing. I know the Valley of Perfection has taken you time, money and energy leaving you empty desperate for happiness. Leave the Valley of Perfect and don’t even put your two weeks in, they have already had enough of your time!

It may be scary to leave the Valley of Perfection after all this had been your hometown for many years but no more. Those people are not your family, only toxic actors hellbent on seeing you become like them. Their smooth talk will only get them so far and the truth will cut through their lie like soap on grease. They have given up on their truth and are furious you have not. The pursuit of perfection leads to the depths of Shame but the path of excellence leads to Mt. Authenticity. Excellence Way is hard and often times empty when you do see people they are slumbering unaware that they are wilting. Blaze Excellence path and own it, your highest-self requires it.

Mt. Authenticity doesn’t seem as impossible from the top only from the perspective of the valley. Unless you change your perspective, you will never take action; and unless you go through the valley you will stay complacent, content to wither away. Pain or the threat of pain acts as a catalyst requires fight or flight action. At some point, we will have to make the choice to kill or be killed. Your inaction will so be your downfall. Life will continue to send us through the valley until we are strong enough to travel through! I don’t know about you, but I have not been guaranteed another day or even another hour in this life. I refuse to waste another minute in the Valley of Perfection. Free entry, rest, and fabulous entertainment are advertised but what they don’t tell you is you must give your time. What an expensive trade-off for a cheap thrill and prize.

Radical Love set the intention of love as truth and spoke it over you long before you ever believed it. She cared for you and walked beside you on the darkest of nights. She saw you partying your life away in the Valley of Perfection and spoke of a freedom. She leads the way, calls you to be more, and pushes you to be amazing beyond your wildest dreams. She empowers you and with full confidence sends you on your way. She is not vindictive nor does she withhold her guidance. She does not have an unrealistic set of rule and cruel punishments. She is forgiving and all-inclusive. She, however, is intolerant of ignorance and hate seeing that injustice is taken care of.

She has changed my life! I am able to blaze my trail with passion and confidence. She replaced shame and apathy with grateful boldness. I refuse to apologize for my truth and boldly speak with confidence. Part of my journey out and up Mt. Authenticity was not living in fear anymore. I was scared of not writing perfectly (if that’s a thing). I lived in fear of telling others and being made fun of. I didn’t think I could write or even had enough to say. I just couldn’t believe my opinions and beliefs were enough to warrant a book. Yet as I have followed Excellence Way, I find myself following my true passion: people and helping women and girls. I put it off “knowing” that it just couldn’t be my calling, but no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, the noisier the call became until it was defining. I couldn’t eat or sleep almost like a gravitational pull. Happiness seemed just out of my grasp, that is until I said yes to my call. You see, unless I speak my authentic truth I do everyone a disservice. Living small is a waste of my potential and honestly a slap in the face. I choose to say to Radical Love and own my truth.

How about you?