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“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings.” -Anonymous
It is easy, and quite healthy, to forget former mindsets and limiting beliefs we had as young adults and in our earlier adult years about the trajectory one’s life should follow in order to attain contentment. In fact, it always amazing me how quickly we, as humans, can become inured to our current situation and forget the hard work, progress or difficult decisions it required to arrive at our current destination. However, with each year and life hurdle, I also recognize my appreciation increases as well for the journey and what I had to endure to arrive where I am.
I was reminded this past weekend of my limiting beliefs at a much younger age regarding happiness when I learned of a friend from my past by sheer coincidence who appears to be exactly where we left off, waiting for life, rather than their own actions, to create the happiness they so desired. While I believe all relationships come into our lives for a reason, no matter how long they last, this was one such friendship that was meant to be for a reason and then allow us both to move on, to travel our different paths. Upon contemplating my misguided understanding of what any individual needs to be content in their lives, I am thankful that I broadened my perspective, stepped out of my comfort zone more than a handful of years ago, and began to live life using my own compass and with the help of endless lessons made from first-hand mistakes.
I by no means am mistake-free now, but thankfully, they tend to be different mistakes that continually allow me to grow and improve.
The happy endings of what our lives are supposed to look like is something we must all reassess. We must first understand where this conception of “happy endings” comes from. What was the purpose when it was created – to sell tickets, to keep a group of people in line, to adhere to tradition, to gain approval?
As I’ve shared many times before on the blog, the definition of happiness is something only each one of us can do for ourselves. To live someone else’s definition of happiness is to throw away the gift that resides in each of us that the world is waiting to be introduced to. Today I’d like to share with you ten ways you can create your very own happy ending without waiting for Mr. Right, waiting for approval, being accepted into an Ivy League college, or anything else you may assume is out of your control.
1. Be a Friend to Yourself
“When a woman becomes her own best friend, life gets easier.” -Diane von Furstenberg
The only way to build healthy friendships is to be a friend to yourself. When you realize what you need to be healthy, safe, and content, then you can recognize how to be a better friend to someone else. And another added benefit – you can recognize more aptly anyone who is not friend material.
2. Respect Yourself
Choosing to respect yourself, to discover and realize that you are worthy of being respected is a fundamental step to creating boundaries. In this post, I shared 10 ways each of us can strengthen our self-worth because initially it is a shift, especially if we’ve been told we must put others before ourselves; however, all such a life approach really creates is a sign that says, “Walk all over me”. When we respect ourselves, we teach others how to treat us, and we create opportunities to build stronger, healthier relationships build on mutual-respect.
3. Create Your Own Financial Foundation
Regardless of the relationships you’re stepping into – marriage, co-habitation, business venture, etc – if you know you have your financial house in order and you choose your partners wisely, you will be able to stand on your own two feet should anything go south. However, on the flip side, if you are relying on someone for their financial support, you actually are handing over your life’s path. Freedom is the ultimate fuel to create, to attempt and to eventually soar into our true potential. Give yourself the opportunity to attain this and build your own financial stability.
4. Never Stop Learning
Your education, whether found in a classroom or as you navigate life, is a priceless gift. Once you know, you know how to do something better. Once you know how to do something better, you avoid pitfalls. And once you know how to avoid the pitfalls, you begin to make decisions that can catapult you toward your dreams.
5. Trust and Verify
With any of the blogging business partnerships I am involved with, I’m always willing to try something once. However, before I fully commit, I do my homework on the company, brand or business with whom I am about to work with. If feedback is acceptable and the project goes well, I am more apt to return to that business in the future. One of the simplest ways we can avoid unnecessary headache, frustration, loss of money and stress is to do our homework and not take anything at face value. Not only will it save our bacon in the long run, but any reputable business wants to know we are savvy, reliable partners as well and are willing to do the legwork. So don’t be afraid that verifying will offend anyone. In fact, if it does, you may just have your first and only necessary red flag to avoid working with that person.
6. Redefine Your Approach to Roadblocks
Either roadblocks stop you or they refine you. Choose the latter. As easy as it is to stop when the first formidable roadblock pops up along the way to achieving what you’ve decided you want, the only concrete way any roadblock can stop you is if it kills you. That may sound dramatic, but think about it. Life is testing us to see if indeed we desire badly enough what we think we need in our lives. Answer life’s question, find a way around, because there is an alternate route, most likely even more rewarding path waiting to be discovered.
7. Create a “Happy List” in Your Journal
A simple habit to master is to create a list of activities that bring you instant happiness. Think small, such as taking a walk with your spouse or dogs. Here are a few activities I have placed on my list:
- cooking a beloved recipe from memory
- sipping a cup of chocolat chaud from Colville Street Patisserie
- long chats with loved ones over morning coffee
- walking Norman and Oscar
- reading The New York Times Sunday Review each week
- nibbling on a dark chocolate truffle
- hosting a small intimate dinner party
As you can see, each one of these items is something that I can dive into without much planning, money or stress. Knowing that genuine happiness springs up from the simplest of moments and activities is a wonderful reminder that we have a choice each day on how happy we wish to be. So keep this journal handy whenever you need a reminder of what brings you joy.
8. Keep Your Romanticizing in Check
Rose-colored glasses are fine as long as you know you have consciously chosen to wear them. However, here are 5 Things to Stop Romanticizing which were shared in a previous post. Each of these items often get in the way of achieving happiness, and often, we don’t even realize we’re allowing it to happen.
9. Make Decisions With Your Mind, Confirm with Your Heart
Rash decisions, while every so often can work out, don’t typically lead to the results we desire when it comes to significant life decisions. While I always check in with my intuition/gut/etc on any life altering decision, I first do my homework. For example, when buying a new house. It may be a beautiful house, but if it’s in a questionable neighborhood, it probably isn’t something to invest in. However, on the flip side, if you have found a house that you love but it will need some work, after looking into the logical components – location, neighborhood, opportunity of appreciation and your ability to invest – then put your rose-colored glasses on and get to work.
Most importantly, we are the masters of our ship, which includes that powerful mind that sits between our two ears. We can choose to assume the worst, hope for the best or gain more information when we are fearful in order to squash our uncertainties. And when we master our mind, we set ourselves free – free from perceptions placed upon us by others, free from limiting views, opening up endless possibilities, free from doubt, and most powerfully, free from fear.
The happy ending that so many want, and I think we all do to some extent, exists. It exists because we are here and can choose to be the master of our own happiness or give the reins to someone else. I don’t know about you, but I’m holding on to my reins, thank you very much. After all, it has turned out pretty amazing so far.
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