MAKING ROOM FOR HAPPINESS PART FIVE
Holistic View To Enhance Happiness and Gratitude in Life
In our previous blog, we embarked on the Luxury of Boredom Route, going through how it could play out at some points in our lives. We talked about how keeping track of our emotional well-being at the end of each day can be the secret sauce to our happy days for many years to come.
Today, we will explore how taking a holistic view of our life, grounded in our iBalance, is the crucial foundation we need to move us forward happily and positively.
I am an advocate for a positive and realistic view towards life, and I take them as an inseparable combo.
Being positive without being grounded in reality is simply wishful thinking.
Being overly realistic to the edge of pessimism can make us feel discouraged from making a positive impact in our lives, making us lose faith and trust in the beautiful things life can offer us.
I have been both naively positive and realistically pessimistic before. Through my personal experiences, I finally found the middle path of being a positive realist.
I have talked extensively and shared my personal experiences on this topic before in my Healthy Growth Mindset Series. So, today we will bypass “why” being positive and realistic is a great mindset to get us started on anything.
We will be talking about building “how” being positive and realistic will enable us to make room for more happiness.
GRATITUDE: THE BEST VEHICLE TO MOVE US FORWARDS
A lot of media outlets out there tell us to practice gratitude, giving us a gentle reminder to cultivate it. But I feel it will be worthwhile to talk about the “why” with you today.
Have you ever felt self-doubt at times when you scroll on social media and see either a friend, an influencer, or a public figure that seems to be excelling or doing so well in some area of their life? Those feelings of not-good-enough slipped into your awareness?
I can admit from a place of confidence that I have felt that self-doubt from time to time. I admit this with a full sense of security because I know that vulnerability is a part of being a human, and there is no shame around that as it happens to all of us.
No matter where you are in life, no matter how you think you had it all just the other day, there will always be someone out there who proves to be “more successful” / “prettier” / “smarter” / “wiser” or whatever aspect you choose to resonate with. And social media has done a great job in reminding us of that.
Although I am happy with who I am, how I look, and how many accomplishments I have made, those feelings of not-good-enough do slip in from time to time. And because I genuinely admit this vulnerability, I have been able to handle it with grace and kindness towards myself while sending warm wishes to those whom I admire and have them as my inspiration rather than “my competition”.
The more I practice mindful living and gratitude, the less I experience those insecurities, and the more joy I feel towards my own life. And here is my secret.
When I accidentally get trapped into feeling small and not-enough, I learn to step back and look at my life from a holistic view, rather than a single aspect view that I accidentally judge myself on.
Shifting Focus from Outside-In to Inside-Out
It is rather normal and instinctive for humans to compare; that is how we form identity and how the world is operated in the realm of relativity. So instead of denying that part of our nature, acknowledging it and being mindful in handling it will be better off for us in the long run.
With a stronger “muscle” of mindfulness, I have been quicker at catching myself doing an outside-in comparison. When that happens, I also see myself doing negative self-talk as a consequence. With that self-awareness, I then zoom out and challenge that negative self-talk statement that I made to myself.
Let’s get into an example, “Oh wow, she is so accomplished professionally and she manages to look so stunning! Where and how did I waste my time and energy? Have I done enough to succeed professionally? …”And you can probably imagine what the conversation could lead to if I had not stopped it there.
Luckily, with mindfulness, I would stop myself there and ask myself this:
“Yes, so other than career advancement, what have you spent your time and energy on?”
“Family, Loved Ones, Self-Care, and Personal Growth”
“Would you still make this energy allocation if you could choose to do so again?”
“Then, what is the problem? Are you not already happy with the choice that you made?”
“Right! I am. What was I thinking?!”
The conversation then shifted back to revolve around me and less about her. How well she is doing with her life has absolutely nothing to do with me personally. This blunt statement is a wakeup call to shift the attention. From outside in to inside out. From A Single Aspect of Our Life to A Holistic View of Our Life.
Yes, having inspiration is great, but building up internal pressure out of “inspiration” might not be the healthiest way of living and growing.
“The only thing we can impact is how we live our own life,
only when we shift the focus back to our selves as a whole
person are we getting closer to the life we want to live.”
The above internal dialog weaves into our discussion on designing our iBalance seamlessly like the same piece of fabric.
We are the ones who mindfully and heartfully design our iBalance, why doubt it? (I know there is no such a word as heartfully, but it encapsulates how we have come up with our iBalance so well! Don’t you think? lol)
If we have authentically designed it and lived it out, and we are happy with it, why do we let one aspect of someone else’s life make us doubt ourselves or make us feel small?!
With Gratitude, We See The World Full of Beautiful Possibilities
What I have noticed within myself and people in general is that we tend to “forget” to appreciate what we already have – forget how happy and grateful we felt when we first had them – whether them be the things we have, the job we work on, any day-to-day experiences, or even the people in our lives.
Without conscious practice of mindfulness and gratitude, it is easy to slip into the habit of taking things for granted.
What I have also noticed is that the spark of joy can genuinely be re-experienced by rooting into our choice–the iBalance that we craft for ourselves. The more authentically we work on the choice, the more fulfilling the experience will be.
The more effort you spend on finding and living YOUR iBalance, and less on living what society tells you to, or less on trying to live other people’s lives, the easier it becomes to re-spark the joy and self-assurance you lost from self-doubt.
And here is the association that I am trying to tie the loop back to “Making Room for Happiness”.
When you are in a self-doubt zone, is it easy to come up with a creative and positive outlook into anything you want to plan out for yourself? Or is it easier when you operate from a place of being self-assured, confident, and happy?
And this is the very reason why I personally find gratitude to be the best vehicle to move forward with. But before that, let’s not forget the iBalance as our foundation!
In our next post, we will get into actually emptying out those boredom and stagnant feelings, exploring new fun stuff to do, and filling our days with them!
Until then, be you and stay happy!☺