The Flow of Happiness
When we allow happiness now, we begin to live life on our terms. We learn to live in the present, releasing the past. Taking a deep look at unhealed wounds and letting go of resistance, we remove blockages that distance us from spiritual life. Learning to nurture and value ourselves leads to peace and happiness. In order to do this we must live in the present moment.
The Paradox of Not Allowing Happiness
You identify something not working in your life and associate certain habits with this negative pattern. You make a conscious goal to rid your life of these patterns. Yet the very act of identifying something to change is laced with antagonism, however slight, to the present moment. What may look like a promising self-help change can sometimes actually take us further away from ourselves, perpetuating deeper, unhealed wounds and harmful relationships with ourselves.
The traditional self-help, can-do attitude, usually seen as healthy, can sometimes be a trap, where happiness is always delayed until some future date when the self is up-to-par. Even more holistic and compassionate goals can hold secret daggers under their seemingly brave and helpful surface.
I’ll Be Happy When…
“I’ll be happy when I’m skinny.”
“I’ll be happy when others stop being so cruel.”
“I’ll be happy when I’m successful when I stop being anxious when I finally figure out my purpose, when I make enough money, when I’m giving, when I’m the perfect mother, etc.
By always looking outside the present moment for happiness, we sabotage the work that needs to be done here, and now. We often sabotage our ability to ever be in our own skin. We take on the persona of a stickler parent, cold and critical, always pushing for achievement. And by “achievement” we mean love.
The Trap of Chronic Resistance
In doing so, one must take caution to not reside in chronic resistance. In this way, we might think we can “manifest” the self we want by pretending. By pretending to be together, happy, content, and without compulsive desires that sabotage our true happiness and equanimity. The “pretending” is a show to convince ourselves, and it can take us a certain distance through sheer will. But this show requires constant effort. It is exhausting and puts off happiness until a later date. It becomes a trap.
“Pretending” causes us to live a lie. We no longer feel our authentic selves. Moreover, we lose sight of who we really are. This disconnect will continue to compound until we return to ourselves in a genuine, whole, and authentic way.
In a deeper way, this mindset is built on a faulty core belief: that if you take charge, if you exhibit control, and if you make wholesome choices happiness will find you. As most adults know full well, life throws curve balls of all kinds and sizes. While we can make positive change, ultimately we have NO control, and we are at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of creation. Doesn’t it feel good to admit that? Loosen that clenched fist of control. Breathe. Ah! Doesn’t that feel good to let go a little?
How to Proceed in Finding Happiness Now?
How then, do we make changes in our lives while also accepting ourselves? It seems a paradox. By making positive changes, we don’t want to be at odds with the present reality of our lives. This situation (of antagonism to the present) can make us feel weak and brittle, always looking out into the future, instead of embracing what makes us feel strong, happy, and free in the now. We live in the freshness of the moment. Read more about Fresh Eyes
Any antagonism (even subtle) or resistance is unnecessary and actually makes things harder. It is why so many diets fail, so many attempts to make positive change fail. Simply changing the behavior, doesn’t address the WHY. This method simply treats the inner self as a robot that needs reprogramming. The underlying emotional, spiritual, or even intellectual core self must be seen, heard, experienced, and accepted first. Most methods skip the healing process of accepting the self, and reality, as it is.
There is a deep core in most of us that seeks to be embraced as is. Ironically, the soft, yielding, acceptance of self makes CHANGE easier, not harder. People who love themselves radically, unconditionally, and joyfully, find change to be easier.
Allow the Flow
I find in my practice that most people feel deep release around the word: Allow. Now, the paradox is, of course, that we CAN control aspects of our lives. However, our good actions and intentions are more likely to yield results that are helpful for ourselves and others, and we are more likely to find sustainable happiness when it comes from stepping into what really is here, now.
One of the most important steps to self-love is to begin making time each day for spiritual practice. In meditation or reflection, we can begin noticing and honoring our feelings. We can cultivate happiness in simply sitting, in our one precious life, a gift, experienced in every breath we take. Read life after COVID