Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about searching for happiness. She just received a promotion at work and was making more money and working less hours. She’s been dating a man for a couple of weeks and things seem to be going well, but internally she feels completely miserable. “What’s wrong with me?!” she cried.
Absolutely nothing. Because feeling unhappy and unfulfilled is, unfortunately, very common. According to the Harris Poll’s 2016 report on happiness, Americans are a 31 out of 100 in the happiness index. But what does this mean for you? Just because the majority of Americans are unhappy and you may fall into this group right now, does not mean you need to stay that way.
In fact, a little over five years ago, I felt exactly like my friend felt. I had a good job, family and friends I love and could depend on, I got to travel and do anything I really wanted to, but I would wake up every morning and felt that I was living in a world of gray. I would ask myself every day, “is this it?” and I would think, “god, I hope not.”
Below are some of the steps, I took when I went in search of my own happiness:
Get to the root. This is probably the hardest yet most necessary step. It will require you to put yourself in a place where you’re willing to go deep and really take a look at your life. There are many ways to do this – you can get out in nature, you can isolate yourself and journal or meditate, you can go to a therapist and talk it out. For me, well I live in California, and I would spend a good chunk of my day sitting in traffic, and so during my two-hour drive home, I would sit with the radio off and think. I would look at every aspect of my life and make a list in my mind what was making me unhappy and what wasn’t. I probed and probed and I would ask myself “why” over and over again until I got below the surface of my unhappiness to the root of it all.
Explore. Try different things. For myself, I realize a great part of my unhappiness was in the fact that I stopped challenging myself. I would travel and try new things but I wouldn’t really push myself outside of my comfort zone too much. I played it safe a lot and I stopped taking risks. I’m not saying, you need to go out and jump out of a plane (although I did try skydiving) but try something new. I decided to train for a marathon and I’m not a runner and I rarely exercise. It was a slow process but I didn't give up. I also signed up for an online dating app, something I never thought I would do. I read self-development books instead of my usual romance or mystery novels. I took myself out of my comfort zone and I explored life a little differently from my usual day-to-day routines.
Take baby steps. Change does not happen overnight. It took me months before I would stop waking up and asking myself “is this it?” even when I already knew there was more to life. It took me several more months before I could look myself in the mirror and say “I love you” while staring into my own eyes. And even now, it’s a work in progress to not just settle in my contentment but continue to push myself and grow into the woman and the life I dream about. Every day I take baby steps. My evolution took me towards becoming a Passion Test facilitator, a certified Akashic Records reader, completing a life coaching course, hiring a business coach, and starting my own business. Every day, I think of what I want to accomplish and I work to make that happen and all of that happens one step at a time.
The path to happiness will not be a straight path. But then, most paths in life are not. The best ones curve, go up and down, and take tangents. But finding yourself and working towards your happiness is what’s important.
Are you searching for your happiness? What will you do today to be happy?