I remember at Sunday school I was given a little card with the words ‘be happy’ … but there was no explanation of what that really meant.
I tried all sorts of ways to ‘be happy.’
I thought I would be happy if I could just make my parents proud of me. I thought I would be happy if I could keep my partner happy. I also thought I would find happiness if I never upset any one ever again, and if I avoided being hurt. In short if I could just say, do and be perfect I would be happy.
But the problem with these theories was that I was making myself responsible for everyone else’s happiness and assuming they would do the same for me. Well they didn’t! Imagine how disappointed I was when the rest of the world didn’t go out of its way to be nice to me in return!
Then one day I had an epiphany. I realised that happiness doesn’t come from living up to other people’s expectations, hopes, wants, and morals. Happiness could only come from inside me by living up to my own, expectations, hopes and wants and, most importantly, forgiving myself when I don’t.
Being honest with yourself is the first step to happiness. You will need to constantly ask yourself “What do I want?” And “How do I really feel about this?” You will also need to ask deeper questions like…
“What do I believe that attracted this?”
“Who does it really belong to and it is true?”
Surprisingly some of the answers are readily apparent and easily challenged; however some can be quite twisted, for example my parents told me on more than one occasion throughout childhood, “You made your bed now you have to lie in it.” Does that statement/ belief then give me, or any one, permission to change a dental appointment, quit a job we hate or leave a bad marriage.
Our beliefs and our internal dialogue have consequences. They can empower or disempower. They can steal your dreams!
Here are a few other examples of disempowering statements that you may have had drummed into you from an early age:
You’re a nuisance; you’re boring, lazy, or ugly
You will never keep a job,
Accept what you’re given and like it
Tradies will always rip you off
Women are meant to be bare foot and pregnant
You are better off alone
You have to work hard for every cent you get
You are stupid
The tax man is out to get you
Good looking men/women are shallow
Life was meant to be hard
It’s a man’s world
Men are not responsible for their infidelities
It’s a women’s job to save the marriage
Negative beliefs have stolen happiness from your past, they are currently stealing from your present and they intend to steal from your future happiness. If you look deep enough within you, will find we settle because we don’t believe we deserve our dreams. When in fact most of the concepts we have about ourselves were imposed on us and have nothing to do at all with how our friends see us or more importantly how the Divine sees us.
We have therefore created for ourselves a vision of mediocrity that limits our permission to access and own happiness. Once we clear out all the well-meant yet sabotaging thoughts we have running around in our heads we have the chance to find out and aim for what makes us truly happy. In Romans 14:22 God said: ‘Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.’ Translation… happy is he that does not allow self-condemning and judgemental thoughts to around inside his head.
My spiritual advice for all is one of the Seven Principles of Spiritualism; it is to take personal responsibility. Take responsibility for your sabotaging thoughts and beliefs and take responsibility for the things you need to forgive yourself for; hunt them down one by one, challenge them, confront them, then delete them from your psyche and last but not least: take responsibility for your own happiness. By giving yourself permission to own happiness you give others permission to do the same. You may just start an epidemic…mmm… a world full of happy people…now there’s something to smile about.
Photo Credit: http://extreme-vidz.com/snowboard/bhappy-films-happy-thoughts (No copyright infringement intended.)
About the Author: Wendy Schmidt
I am a 53 year old Australian woman. My mum took me to a Spiritualist Church when I was 16 and I was hooked. I am a primary school teacher in Adelaide, as well as lead a meditation group called Echoes of the Divine. (Facebook us).