“If only I had an easy bake oven, then I would be happy,” said my 6 year old self.
“If only I had a boyfriend (with a car!), then I would be happy,” said my 16 year old self.
“If only I could replace this terrible linoleum in the kitchen, then I would be happy,” said my 26 year old self.
“If only Nurse Crotchety would retire, then I would be happy!” said my 35 year old self.
Over the years, I have tried many, many things that I thought would make me happy. What about you? What would make YOU happy? Winning the lottery, buying a new house, paying off your old house, a different career (or superior!), living in a different place, losing weight? The list goes on and on, doesn’t it? The, “I’ll be happy when…” virus continues to propagate, and sometimes the more we continue to pursue the elusive “happiness factor,” the further away it gets. This leads to frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment, when we realize that getting the “stuff” only leads us to wanting more “stuff,” and still the feelings of being unfulfilled remain.
I have long been fascinated by the stories of people who have overcome tremendous odds and come out on top. You’ve seen these people too, haven’t you? They have been your patients, your colleagues, your friends. I have always wondered what makes some people succumb to adversity, whether it is illness or misfortune, and what makes other people overcome it. Working with hundreds of inspiring people has taught me many things, not the least of which is the answer to my own question. Happy people, successful people, fulfilled people and people who overcome adversity have simply decided to do so.
Can it really be that simple? Can our pursuit of happiness end right here, with a simple decision made by us, right now, to decide to be happy no matter what? To embrace our success in the moment and to overcome adversity by choosing to see the opportunity it brings. Can it really be that simple?
Too much of our time is spent rehashing the problems of our past or worrying about the unknowns in our future. This is truly a waste of our precious energy and time.
Perhaps we should take a lesson from the King of Bhutan. Where? Bhutan. It is a tiny country nestled in the Eastern Himalayas where they measure the prosperity of their country by the happiness of their people. They coined the term “Gross National Happiness” (GNH) to connect with the Buddhist notion that the ultimate purpose of life is inner happiness. Hmmm, who’s up for raising Winnipeg’s GNH? Why not start today, it really is simple:
Well, you get the idea.
If you are in pursuit of happiness and have been for a long time - STOP! - it doesn’t happen. In fact, it won’t happen, “when this..." or "when that...” It happens the very moment, the very second, you DECIDE it be so. STOP waiting for a better time, place or circumstance. You can decide to be happy even while you are pursuing a new direction, even while you are getting out of debt or recovering from a difficult relationship. It is not about creating perfection, it is not about waiting for something or someone to bring you happiness on a silver platter, it is about accepting and appreciating what you have now.
In your pursuit of happiness, why not DECIDE to enjoy every stage - the planning, the journey and the destination.
About the Author: Stephanie Staples is a passionate advocate for ‘nursing the nurses’ and presents at conferences internationally on the topic. To assess your quality of life, email Stephanie@yourlifeunlimited.ca and write - nurse the nurses in the subject bar. A complementary coaching tool will arrive in your mailbox shortly thereafter!! Visit www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca information! By Stephanie Staples
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