A client of mine experienced a lot of loss in her young life. As child, one of her siblings accidentally died. Then in her late 20s, a few close friends tragically died. When we began working together, she said that her life was out of balance. She spent most of life working and focusing on her job, literally working either 6 or 7 days a week. She wanted to find love and go out on her own professionally and start a business but she felt she didn’t know how. She said shefelt very down and that her happiness was very occasional.
In our discussions, she realized that she was choosing not to be happy. She was literally creating situations and relationships in an (unconscious) effort to NOT be content. Instead, she created stress and drama for herself. She shared that relationships without volatility were undesirable; overworking was typical; and daily fun or pleasure was not a goal. Her focus was work and crisis.
It may sound odd but within this struggle was a gift waiting for her but she had to be brave enough to move herself from the throws of despair. She had to deal with the root of her upset, grief! And also make choice to seek joy.
Here are some tips to get from struggle to joy:
CONTEMPLATE THE POSSIBILITY
Believing that happiness is available to you. The mind is a powerful tool and what you think deeply effects 'the environment' in which you life. Consider that happiness is a necessary objective.
ASSIGN YOURSELF FUN
Literally, make it an item on your to-do list. Have a great time doing something. And repeat. For some this takes training, attention and commitment. As a side note, I believe that having fun makes people more productive and capable.
JOY HONORS LOSS
Instead of blaming yourself or choosing to let any suffering linger, I encourage you to recognize that when you are happy, you are honoring those who have died. Live a good life gives dignity to those who have lost theirs.
Conceptualize that a new chapter is available to you. Allowing your heart to lead you to new opportunities and new beginnings is another affirmation of life. May you have good luck with it and let that path be one of great learning.
FOCUS ON KINDNESS AND THE SMALL WINS
When you offer thoughtfulness to the people in your life or to strangers, you are putting out a positive charge into the world. This has a ripple effect. Being kind always bring joy. Also pay attention to the 'small wins' in your day. Someone might have opened a door for you at a store or smiled at you on your way to the train. Make those moments important.
THE GIFT OF SADNESS
Experiencing the sadness that occurs in life offers you the chance to find deep and powerful joy. I have always loved the saying, "A set back is a setup for a comeback" and it's the truth. For all the grief, the loss and sadness that occurs in life there is an opposing force: joy, love and happiness. When you don't know one, you can't find the other. The gift within pain is the discovery on the other side. A key tool to get to the other side is harnessing your courage to do it.
May you be courageous.
If you want guidance in harnessing your courage, please arrange a free coaching session.