Your New Story of Happiness Starts Today
“I really should call my old friend.” “I forgot how much I enjoyed this!” “What took me so long to get around to doing this when I love it so much?” It’s easy to forget to schedule activities you enjoy. When that’s a habit, you might never get around to doing what you love. If you simply forget because you are busy all the time, you might want to think about what you enjoy doing and how you can start doing it more often. What Is Missing and Why Is it Missing? Have you assumed that you don’t have enough time to spare for activities you love? Question that assumption. Maybe the problem is simply that you’re not prioritizing what you like to do. As an exercise, think of two or three favorite activities you would like to engage in more often. Then, identify any obstacles to doing them. If you can’t do an enjoyable activity in the usual way, maybe there’s an alternative way to make it happen that you haven’t identified yet. For example, maybe you can see or talk with the people you love using technology instead of traveling to visit them. Don’t Settle for “Happy Enough” If it doesn’t seem important to do what makes you happy because you’re “happy enough,” you might want to question that belief. Do you have a happiness story such as, “It’s selfish to take time for myself,” or “Other people’s needs are more important than what I’d like to do with my time”? Maybe you were taught that what you enjoy isn’t all that important. Thinking about what your happiness story is might make you discover that you resist making time for what you enjoy because growing up, you regularly received the message that good people work hard all day long and are constantly productive. That internalized message of “all work and no play” can color your perception of how much time you should devote to simply having fun. You might have adopted a story about happiness that was written by someone else. You might have felt you didn’t deserve to be happy. Does that hold true today? Identify your current story about happiness and well-being and ask yourself whether it’s working for you. If it isn’t, write a new one. Writing a New Story of Happiness Start imagining what a new, more satisfying happiness story might be and how you can bring it about. For example, you might want to adopt and live according to a happiness story called, “I deserve to be happy and that means making time to have fun,” or “Doing things I love is good for my health and well-being, so I make sure to do them.” When it comes to opportunities to feed the soul, the doors to happiness and fulfillment may not be locked after all. Meditate on what is blocking you from feeling happy and thereby accessing your inner wisdom. Commit to changing any old story of happiness that is no longer working for you so you can let go of any guilt about doing what you enjoy. Then, you might find you are making time for the pleasures that contribute to happiness and well-being, living according to a new story of happiness you wrote consciously. A version of this article appeared on the Conscious Shift Community website.
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD, is a retired clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst, a businessman, and a shamanic practitioner, author, and philanthropist funding over 60 charities and more than 850 past and current Greer Scholars. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and been on staff at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being.
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