With the season of Thanksgiving approaching it has me reflecting on my life and appreciating the many blessings within it. A year ago I quit my job as a school teacher, which had been a lifelong goal and had taken over three years to secure a full-time teaching position. As I stood in an empty class room one morning I knew in my heart that teaching did not bring me the joy I wanted in my life. Working with kids? Yes, that brought me joy. Being a school teacher? No. And in that moment I realized that it was ok for me to let it go.
So over the past year I have been doing what some may call “soul-searching” and along the way I learned that happiness is a choice. We all go through challenges in life and lets face it, some days are tough. Realistically happiness doesn’t mean having everything you want and being problem free all the time. When we come to accept that happiness can not be outsourced, we open ourselves up to personal growth and awareness.
Take an inward look at yourself and take responsibility for your life. We can’t control everything and sometimes life throws us curves balls. It is freeing to let go of the unknown worries life may bring; find happiness right where you are, at this very moment. Be in the present. Actively make your life what you want it to be. Be purposeful when dedicating your time and energy to the things you find meaningful in your life because what you do matters – your words, feelings, thoughts, and actions – all these have an influence on the quality of your life.
I’ve learned two important things about personal happiness this past year. One, treat myself with compassion. Two, have an open heart approach in regards to love and relationships. It is not until we achieve personal happiness that we can share our joy with family, friends, and the world. Months ago a sweet friend of mine gave me a list of 20 things to lead a positive, happy life (thanks Barb!). I keep it on my desk and when writing this post I decided to make a list of my own, a happiness manifesto of some sorts.
- Focus on what matters & celebrate the little things
- Honor my dreams & trust my crazy ideas
- Keep my word
- Allow myself to fail
- Love with an open heart, free from conditions
- Forgive people & move forward
- Talk a little less & listen more
- Be open with my emotions
- Smile often & don’t forget to laugh
- Give to those that can never repay me
While there are plenty more items that I could have added, I figured I’d start with 10.
What would be on your happiness manifesto?