Your Happy Life is Waiting
So you think you want to be happy... Have you had a "happy checkup" lately?
Say what?! A happy checkup! I assume you want to take care of your body and be healthy (most of the time), and you choose to get a physical once a year.
I assume you also want your car to be healthy too. You change the oil and air filter in your car, splurge every so often on a car wash, and invest in regular car maintenance.
Life and people can get irritating at times. If you are a helper of any kind, or believe in mindfulness or meditation, you've likely taken time to reflect on your frustrations, to give yourself a life check up.
Life and happiness checkups are very similar. Life checkups often involve balancing work and personal priorities, though they don't always include fun, joy, or happiness. They often include carving out time for grocery shopping, meal prep, going to the gym, doing laundry, scheduling meetings and doctor appointments, and the boring, mundane tasks of adulting or running a business.
Happiness checkups involve asking what assessing how you are spending your time, what activities bring you joy, and how to add more of these activities to your daily life while also meeting obligations. Acknowledging, assessing, and making a plan are the first steps, committing and investing in a happy plan is where the real work happens.
Be honest... do you love your job? Head over heels, can't wait to go to work on a Monday kind of love? Or do Sunday nights make you dread Monday mornings? Bored with your grocery shopping, meal prepping plans or tired of eating out and not sure how to begin to learn to cook, or think you can't afford it?
What is happiness?
Greater Good Magazine (2021) published an article about the definition of happiness. In the article, they included the following quote by Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness : "Happiness is the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being combined with the sense that one's life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile."
True happiness does not require a white picket fence, a perfectly manicured lawn, or granite countertops. Sure, all of these things are super nice if that's your thing. Let me ask you this... are you selling your soul to afford these things? If your answer is yes, is it really worth it? Be honest, it'll save you a lot of heartache in the long run.
Did you know that recalling amazing life moments, like when you booked cheap tickets in coach and the airline stewardess gave you first-class Airpods... AND treated you like royalty after discovering you were a poet on a book tour? Or when you tasted beignet doughnuts at Cafe` du Monde in New Orleans for the very first time?
Yo, perfectionism is not a prerequisite for a happy life. Should I repeat that? I think so! Perfectionism is not a requirement for a happy life. Life is messy, filled with lots of spilled milk (or hot coffee all over our new work outfit), twists and turns, successes and failures. Happiness is about being content with your life and experiencing joy and contentment daily.
The Hard Work of Being Happy
Happiness is hard work! Happiness is a daily choice. Are we happy all the time? Heck no! Can we be realistic and hopeful things will work out, even when we have no idea what the future will bring? Yes!!! Absolutely!!! Positive well-being involves making self-care and mental wellness a priority, deciding it is more important than scrolling Facebook, binge-watching Netflix, or spending hours making sure our homes look spotless all the time.
Happy lives include sunshine and rain, sometimes all on the same day. Contentment with life is contentment with the person you are, inside and out. You can't get to your pot of gold without doing the hard, heartbreaking real work of dealing with your own stuff... and we've all got stuff we need to work through.
Energy work, reiki, massage therapy, yoga classes... those will only get you so far. Therapists or life coaches, depending on the life issues you are struggling with, can help you work out your emotional stuff. We can all benefit from, at some point in our life, a really great coach or therapist. Show me someone who loves themselves, and seems to exude radiance and joy, I'll show you someone who has let go of grief and sadness.
Sara Minges, M.S., is a Self-Love Coach, Happiness Guru, keynote speaker, author, and Founder of Wonder Woman Rising. To book her for your next event, please send an email to email@example.com.