Tapping into Your Potential for Happiness
“In every seed lies the promise of a forest."
- Deepak Chopra
This quote struck me this morning - how often do we take the time to consider the infinite potential that each of us possess? Especially for happiness?
I didn’t even start considering that there were other possibilities for a happy life that veered from the path my family had taught me until I was 24. I had come out with a Master’s degree as a new OT and still didn’t feel happy, even though that’s what my family had always taught me would give me happiness.
Little did I know then that happiness is always with us. The potential for happiness is always within us, and in order to receive more or feel more, all we have to do is to (remember to) tap into that infinite potential of happiness already inside. Through aligned emotions, thoughts, and actions.
At the same time, I know that many of us have a hard time allowing ourselves to be happy, even when we are given reminders. For example, throughout my own childhood, I had actively and consciously denied myself happiness. One of the constant thoughts I had in my head was, “If I’m too happy, I might be too loud, and then mom will get upset, and my little brother will start crying, and everyone will be unhappy.”
Although this statement is no longer true in my adult life, this belief had replayed in my head a million times and was definitely stored in my subconscious. And it was stored in there as “I have to deny myself happiness in order for everyone else to be happy. And I'll be happy as long as everyone around me is happy."
Through psychotherapy and past relationships, I slowly became aware of this belief I had inside me. It made me upset that I had denied myself happiness for so long and felt myself responsible for everyone else's feelings, so I rebelled against this subconscious belief by treating the people around me unfairly. I treated my relationships with an undercurrent of “I don’t care if you’re unhappy - I deserve to be happy so I’m going to be happy. If you're unhappy, it's not my problem." I constantly found myself hurting people around me...and I of course responded to this with more of the same thoughts.
I’ve spent the last two years (with psychotherapy and hypnotherapy and lots and lots of heart to heart discussion with my beautiful boyfriend) really working hard on allowing myself to be happy without the underlying guilt or anger and resentment that comes up.
One place where I was consistently unhappy was when it came time to take breaks.
I used to work myself to the bone, all the while worrying about burn out. I mean, heck, I taught people how to do self care and reduce their risks of burnout practically every day in my job as an OT. But when it came to myself, it was another story. I worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and never really allowed myself to stop and rest. I only ate whenever my stomach growled, and I would scarf it down without really enjoying it. I was exhausted and miserable and constantly had self-pity parties.
But throughout this year, I learned that taking aligned actions is where JOY and happiness lies.
Your potential for happiness lies in your ability to take inspired action. And inspiration comes when you allow it to. And inspiration comes much more easily when you allow your conscious mind to rest. (Ever notice how you get the most awesome ideas in the shower?) Without inspiration, work is just non-stop action without alignment. Hence, taking breaks became extremely important for happiness.
So this was one of the areas that I decided to focus on in the past year - my relationship with myself and allowing myself to take joyful breaks. To me, this was the best baby step I could take towards tapping into my own potential for happiness. If I could be more loving towards myself, then my love towards others will also improve.
So I worked on taking breaks and resting with the focus on JOY and inspiration and not on what I felt I should have been doing instead. Here are the steps I took (and still take):
Become aware of emotions and feelings after deciding to take a break or resting.
Whether feelings included guilt or shame or fear, I would take a few minutes to tap into Future Self.
I ask myself, "How would Future Self feel?" My future self has no problems taking breaks and takes breaks with so much joy and peace in her heart.
I also ask myself, "According to Future Self, what is the purpose of taking this break?" And the answer I always give is, "To allow for more inspiration to come so that I can continue taking inspired actions."
Enjoy my break and keep my heart open to allow for inspiration to come! And the magical part is, it always does!!!
So now I’m curious - are there any ways that you deny yourself the ability to tap into your potential happiness? How are you working towards allowing yourself to be happy?
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