There's a saying in Spanish, "Dime de que presumes, te dire de que careces." In English this means tell me what you brag about and I will tell you what you lack. I have for a long time been obsessed with happiness. I read about it, listen to things about it, and talk about its pursuit for hours on end.
I realized that I am definitely obsessed with something that tends to elude me. Happiness doesn't come naturally to me. I am much more comfortable and familiar with the negative, with the self-deprecating. I see things that need to fixed, improved, the inconsistencies in people, in society. It's a gift and a curse too. I want to turn that off sometimes, so that I can just focus on all the beauty around me. I want to be in the moment not endlessly overanalyzing and planning my next move. Being present also means you are more in tune with your emotions. I am embarrassed to admit I used to pride myself on my inability to access my emotions. A few depressive episodes later, I realize that many of the things that happened to me in my teens and 20's could be attributed to this inability. I've had to hone in on a particular set of skills that allow me to sit with myself and reflect on the inner workings of my mind, and analyze what motivates me to act, think and feel a certain way.
Happiness is indeed something we create for ourselves. It's not up to our partners or our careers to make us happy. While there's many things I want for 2016 I don't want to forget to make happiness a priority. All the achievements in the world won't matter if we cannot find peace within ourselves. Which is why lately I have embraced certain rituals that bring me joy and peace:
- Writing: For me writing is like breathing. I have always seemed to look for answers to my life's big questions through books and writing.
- Searching for Pleasure: I've also realized that happiness isn't a perpetual state of being. I light a candle around the house for pleasure. I washed my sheets with a new lavender scented fabric softener and was amazed at how much joy the smell of newly washed sheets brought me. Discovering a new podcast I enjoy or learn something from makes my day a little brighter.
- Mindfulness: Like the French, I'm making my best efforts to be mindful when I eat. To create a mini-experience out of every meal. Even if it means something simple like treating myself to a Lime, Perrier mineral water in a wine glass just to feel slightly more formal.
- Hydrate: Drink more water. I know it sounds very simple. But i have started drinking a tall glass of water with lemon every morning. It seems to give an energy boost that is better than coffee. Water is amazing for people with anxiety. I tend to suffer from headaches and I can always attribute them to lack of water intake. My friend Linda talked all about this in her YouTube channel We Have Isshoes which you should definitely watch.
- Love: I have instituted extra snuggles with my son and his dad before bedtime. Because there is nothing those bouncy little baby curls can't cure.
My challenge is to continue to honor this time for myself even in the midst of deadlines, and projects. The more I focus on self-care and saying "yes" to myself the more I find myself enjoying more moments of happiness, and pleasure. It requires effort since it's easy to revert back to patterns of people pleasing, sulking, and fatalistic thoughts but it's one of the most of worthwhile things I have done. I have learned that the more I search for my truth the more I find people willing to join me on the journey.
What are you doing for yourself this week?
Image: Elizabeth_gilbert_writer, via Instagram