The Key to Happiness
Baby Geese on the Long Island Sound
WEGO 30-Day Health Activist Writers' Challenge Day 2
Key to Happiness
What do you think is the key to happiness? Is it being able to overcome a hard time? Laughter? Maintaining a positive attitude? Tell us what you think and why. #HAWMC
I believe that the key to happiness lies in being able to fully love what originally Carl Jung, and then more recently the brilliant Debbie Ford termed our "Shadow Side." If we can start to embrace what we think are the most most unlovable parts of ourselves, those aspects we don't even want to admit to ourselves let alone others; you know, the parts that make us squirm with shame and unworthiness even at the mere thought - then happiness becomes much more available and here to stay. There is happiness connected to a person, place or situation, and then there is that all-elusive, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't inner sense of happiness that makes the whole world, inside and out feel right. That kind of happiness can only come with self-love - I don't think we can really hold a bunch of self-criticism, shame and loathing about ourselves not being good enough and still be happy.
It's a daily practice to smile with loving recogniton when we get a glimpse of our shadow. We literally need to say, "I'm OK," "It's OK," "I can love you," "I am loveable," when we can't stand how we feel thinking about something we might have said or done or start to think about our so-called deficiencies. At those moments, we need to pull ourselves back into the present and replace the uncomfortable feeling with one that reminds us of a part of ourselves we love. We also need to breathe into the discomfort and notice where it lies in our body. Then we can say, "I see you and I love you." If we can literally smile when we notice our shadow show her or hisself, we can start to release the "charge" we feel and make room for happiness to crawl in and find a home.
Overcoming the hard time we give ourselves is the key to happiness. When you struggle to love your shadow, try this on and see what happens: "If I had a child, a little boy or girl, and I saw them in such pain just accepting and embracing something about themselves, what would I say to them? What would I do?" Then say and do exactly that for you; for your little girl or boy just aching to be loved. See what happens when you can wrap your arms around them with complete acceptance and unconditional love - you might just start to feel really happy.