Life doesn’t come with instructions. No one hands us a manual when we are born. Instead we have to navigate the trenches of the unknown and try to suck in the experiences with an open heart and courageous action. But what happens when life doesn’t go as planned?
Is happily ever after and smooth sailing reserved for the privileged or uber-happy folks? Not quite. Even people who seem to ooze joy were born with the same lack of instructions as everyone else.
In some cases, the happiest people in the world have been through the most difficult circumstances. So how is it they can access inner peace effortlessly and pull through life’s difficult patches with grace and ease?
The thing all happy people have in common is the ability to look at life situations as growing opportunities.
We're always shifting and shaping into the person we can ultimately be. But happy people seem to learn the life lessons and practice them daily.
Trust that the rough patches of your life can ultimately groom you for a deeper understanding of who you really are. If you want to be happier, you can learn these seven life lessons extraordinarily happy people already figured out.
1. It isn't what you have that matters. It is what you do with what you have.
That extra weight on your body, the nose you want to change or the size of your thighs are all insignificant aspects of who you are and what you are capable of achieving. When we obsess over the things we hate — about situations or ourselves — we don’t have room to focus on new opportunities.
Happy people know complaining about what you don’t like will keep you from embracing life fully. Let go of your insecurities and self-criticism. Learn to see yourself the same way as people who love you.
2. Be where you are, not where you think you should be.
So many of us race around trying to catch up to the future version we see in the mirage of what “should be.” This constant thirst for something more prevents us from being fully in the moment — right now. If you're waiting for more, you are missing the rich layers of potential in the present. Stop waiting for something other than this and know you are right where you need to be to get to where you want to be. Acceptance of this moment is key.
3. Everything and everyone has its own time and place.
People, jobs, even places we live have expiration dates. Happier people seem to understand the surrendering power that comes with the art of letting go. Humans have seasons to the soul, much like nature. We can embrace the changes and recognize letting go is not saying goodbye, but simply a new beginning with fresh awareness and new perspective.
4. Resistance is a form of self-sabotage.
Stop trying to make it what it isn’t. Just accept what is. The partner who doesn’t do what you wish. The job that feels soul-sucking. The body type you can’t seem to achieve. All of those are forms of resistance. The refusal to see things as they are by masking the truth with candy-coated lies is a direct route to unhappiness. Instead of trying to change things, people or places, let them be.
5. You will see what you believe.
We've all heard, “When I see it, I'll believe it.” But the happiest people in the word have already figured out believing is a mandatory first stop. Every revolutionary game-changer believed in his vision long before they saw it come to fruition.
Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs and Gandhi are all people who believed with every cell of their bodies in their vision. What is your goal and deepest desire? Your only mission is dive in so deep that the belief it is possible beams from your pores.
6. Fear of the unknown is a byproduct of settling.
Many of us hang our hats (even subconsciously) on the fact that the future can be intimidating, especially if we don’t have a clear plan. Whether you want to leave the job you hate or leave a burdensome relationship, changing directions in life can bring up our deepest fear of the unknown.
But happy people have learned fear of the unknown is actually a subtle byproduct of settling and playing it safe. Every happy person has felt that same fear but courageously stepped forward into the unknown. Then they quickly realized how peaceful and joy-filled the journey can be. Remember, fear is always worse in our heads. Once you take a step forward, the fear will disappear.
7. You fit in just as you are.
Most happy folks I know, including myself, have learned true happiness is not about trying to fit in with the world, but realizing we all fit in as we are. Instead of trying to change, manipulate or force yourself into outer ideals, practice self-love and acceptance. When you can trust yourself and be present with where you are in this moment, you will feel the ultimate expression of undulating freedom.