The human condition seems to involve believing that we’ll only be truly happy once we get that job, lose those kilos or meet Mr/Mrs. Right. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking sets us up for failure, time and again, because those imaginary goalposts keep moving.
Every time we shoot and score, we experience a brief sense of satisfaction that dissipates all too quickly, leaving us restless, until we pin our happiness on the next achievement. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether we’re promoted to upper management, hit our target weight or catch the eye of that someone. If we’re at war with ourselves, we’ll always find something to be unhappy about.
That’s why it’s important to remember that, when it comes to inner contentment, the only way to ensure lasting happiness is to change the way we think. While that’s easier said than done, there are some practical ways to reprogram the way we think and start making peace with who we are.
Put desire in its place
Ambition is good. Wanting to achieve your goals is admirable, but sometimes this can become a fruitless pursuit with desire breeding discontent instead of inspiration. When our preoccupation with striving for something causes us to neglect important people or personal wellbeing it’s a clear sign that the desire for it has become destructive.
In order to recalibrate our thoughts, we need to strip them down and examine our motives. Ask why this thing you want is desirable; what will it provide? Then consider how having it will practically alter the way you feel about yourself. The chances are that it won’t really. While your goals and ambitions are important, it might be time to put them in context with the rest of your life.
Ancient Roman philosopher Seneca maintained that “the greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach.” In other words, we should look inward in order to find true peace. For some people, this means taking ownership of their weaknesses, and for others it requires careful introspection and acceptance.
You are the master of your own time management and thoughts, so in order to live mindfully, it’s important to take the reins. For starters, make time once a week for something unrelated to these goals, and see what happens.
Be content but not complacent
It’s tricky to strike the right balance between being ok with what we have and who we are, without becoming lazy. The benefit of nurturing a mindset of contentment is that it allows us to have goals, and to strive for great things without being overwhelmed. By accepting ourselves, we create room for failure as a tool for growth, and this is at the heart of any journey of self-fulfillment.
When we live authentically, being conscious of our motives and the effects of our actions, we find greater joy in the process of learning and growing than in the perceived end result. Some of the world’s finest thinkers have embraced the ideology of life-long learning; striving for the exercise of it, not necessarily the outcome.
By making this mental shift, you’ll find it may open up channels of creativity or playfulness that you forgot you had. It’s simply because when the pressure is off, we remember how to enjoy being alive and this often makes us more effective mothers, workers, partners and friends.
Changing the way we think immediately improves our experience of living. When we take ownership of our thoughts and feelings we cease being victims of circumstance. In other words, when we acknowledge that our words and attitudes are ours to command, it doesn’t matter what the day brings because we are in charge of the only things we have any power over.
When this happens, we live intentionally, and there’s phenomenal freedom in being in the moment. We find that we notice the little things that are often overlooked when we’re buckling under the tyranny of urgency. Things like a child’s thoughtfulness, a kind motorist, or the simple pleasure of having a clean kitchen.
By allowing yourself to be present, and take pleasure in immediate things, you permit yourself the time and space required to live here and now. In turn, this brings you a step closer to accepting who you are, and why it’s ok to be at peace with yourself.
Sarah Scholtz Life Coaching offers regular workshops as well as individual coaching sessions which have helped many individuals to manage their lives in a healthier way.
Visit http://sarahscholtz.com/ to learn more.