In times of struggle, everyone looks for methods of coping and strategies for survival. Over time I have paid close attention to the tools that aided me in reaching a place of contentment, love, and happiness.
Below are the five that I find to be crucial factors in attaining serenity and peace from within. I strongly believe that they will help you just as much as they have helped me. Here we go!
1. Take Responsibility.
It is imperative to remember that you must take full responsibility for everything in your life, including your relationships. The old school way of looking at relationships was that everything should be 50/50. Don’t fall into this trap. If you don’t take 100% responsibility for your life and happiness, no one else will.
Here’s the best personal example that I can give…
I’ve always loved talking about the meaning of life with those around me. It is a core need of mine, but my husband has never been able to fulfill this need. He thinks in an extremely analytical and factual way. He doesn’t have any interest in engaging with my philosophical quandaries, and for years I resented him for this.
Finally, it hit me. I married a scientist. What did I expect to happen?!
After the realization that my husband was never going to fulfill this specific need of mine in a satisfactory way, I started meeting with friends more to talk about all of my thoughts and ideas with people who actually cared to engage with me about them. I took 100% responsibility for my need, found a way to take care of it, and it felt great!
2. Keep it Positive.
Always look at the positive side and set aside the negative. Life is too short to harp on negativity. This goes for everything in your life – yourself, relationships, career, accomplishments, etc.
Using the same example as above, I could easily have gotten stuck in feeling negative about how my husband does not fulfill a core need of mine. But instead, it became imperative that I focus on the numerous other amazing reasons that I married him.
He’s smart, loyal, funny, passionate, and an amazing father to boot. He encompasses so many attributes that inspire me and continue to amaze me.
Whenever I start to feel resentful, I think about why I chose this path in the first place, and I realize that I made the right decision. I feel safe, secure, loved, and entertained. I have a living encyclopedia as a husband, who I rely on heavily for my day-to-day mental stimulation, and between the two of us our children will be well-nurtured geniuses!
3. The Diamond Within.
Everyone has an amazing diamond deep inside, but when we build walls up to protect ourselves from pain, it becomes harder and harder to see this diamond. There are a lot of things that factor into this wall being built, but most of it is learned through our journey in life and the hurts that we have had to endure. The greater the hurt, the thicker the wall will be.
Keeping this in mind, when we look at ourselves and others, our job as humans is to put judgment aside and see the diamond even if we have to dig though a few walls to find it. Knock down some of those walls with lack of judgment and acceptance. Acceptance is the key helping others feel safe and seen and ultimately to better connections and to greater happiness.
4. Love Goggles.
A lot of us rush around in the world trying to get to the next thing. We are virtually blind to what is around us. To combat this and see what the heck is actually around me, I like to think that I’m wearing something I have come to call love goggles.
Putting on your love goggles to me means that you can see what is around you clearly. You are able to see others and the abundance of the possibilities that exist for you. If you look around and can actually see, the connections that you can make with those nearby are close enough to touch.
The world is a giant place full of opportunities to find whatever you are looking for. Just choose to put on those glasses, and pay attention. All you have to do to connect is make eye contact and smile so people know that you are awake, and approachable.
5. Trying to Survive.
Remember that above all, everyone is just trying to survive. No matter how challenging, or even down right horrible someone seems to be, they are probably not actively trying to harm you.
I choose to live life believing that everyone is doing the best that they can. If they are having a mean moment, or are lacking positivity, perhaps they are afraid and it is their way of coping. You never know what is going on inside someone’s head. Give them the benefit of the doubt and follow all the theories above.
So often we take other’s reactions personally, when in actuality, once you get down to the reality of the situation it has nothing to do with you but instead, just a plain old projection from the other person. Maybe something triggered a hurt or a bad reminder. Maybe the person is having a horrible day. There is no telling what is behind reaction. So try taking a different approach. Instead of getting defensive are reacting back which can fuel the situation, try to look at what is coming at you, freeze it in time, and see it from understanding and kindness.
So there you have it, my overall theory of life, love and happiness! If you practice the heck out of these skills, and they are skills, I guarantee that you will live a happier, more fulfilling life.
Stay in touch, and let me know how it goes!