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By Diane Wing, M.A.
Do you find yourself saying, "I'll be happy when (fill in the blank)"; when I get a better job, make more money, get married, have a great significant other, have time for myself...and the list goes on?
Anticipating the future but never seeming to attain the vision causes anxiety (add that to the list from last week's post). It can result in giving up because the "when" never seems to happen. Generally, the Universe does not bestow additional blessings until the current ones are gratefully acknowledged.
So while you're in the process of envisioning your ideal life and taking steps toward it, here are some ways you can be happy in your present life, even though it may not be the ideal situation.
1. Be grateful for everything that is in your life right now. Gratitude produces joy; appreciation for the little things adds up to a whole lot of wonderful. Make a list of what you're grateful for - health, roof over your head, inner strength during a difficult time, etc. Also, recognize that each and every experience holds a lesson that gets you closer to your goals. Whatever is happening right now is pertinent to your growth and necessary to get to the next level of your development. Get as much out of these experiences as possible and use them to your advantage going forward.
2. Know what you want. Just saying that you want things to be different but aren't sure what that looks like keeps you stuck in dismay. Having a clear vision of what you're aiming for enables you to set small, attainable goals that move you closer to your ideal life.
3. Have a purpose. The quest for purpose can be daunting if it is conceptualized as something so big that it's scary and difficult to put your finger on. Cut it down to understanding what your purpose is within the moment. With each interaction, ask yourself what your intention is and in what way are you serving the other person. Soon you'll see a pattern that will serve as the larger picture of your purpose. In the meantime, this exercise gives meaning to your daily experiences, and meaning is a key to finding happiness.
4. Ask "Why." Piggy-backing on the idea of purpose, ask yourself "why" you are doing something or "why" you want it. The "why" is your personal story, your brand of living, and the reason behind everything you do, say, or believe. Understanding "why" allows you to reflect and determine if the underlying reasons are motivating and inspiring and detrimental and debilitating. If you find a lower energy reason in the "why," such as jealousy, revenge, depression, anxiety, etc., then shift it to a higher vibration by modifying the "why" to an uplifting reason such as it's something you enjoy doing, it benefits others in some way, or it gets you closer to your goals.
5. Know yourself and your special gifts. It's the value you bring to the world. Your gifts are most apparent when you are expressing yourself effortlessly. This is tricky, since when it's effortless on your part the value seems less. Your unique abilities may be very difficult for others to emulate, hence the reason they are your particular gifts and why they have value. Discover how best to use them in the present, and bring them into your ideal future.
6. Start doing what you love now. Say you struggle to get up in the morning because you don't want to go to your boring or stressful job. Paying the bills is important, so having to stick with a job you dislike is easier if you have something on the side that you enjoy or that is part of what you're building for the future. Yes, after a long day at work you're probably drained of any energy to put toward the thing you enjoy doing. You'll be surprised how much energy is generated when you have something to look forward to after work or on your days off. A fun hobby, volunteer work, attending a class or seminar, writing a blog - something creative or worthwhile goes a long way toward a happy present while you're building your future.
7. Evaluate your relationships. Those who take you for granted, drain you, constantly complain, are naysayers when you talk about your aspirations, and who are only focused on themselves diminish your capacity for happiness. Minimize or eliminate your time in the poor-me people. Hang out with people who are motivated, happy with their lives, interested in the potentials and possibilities in life, and who are continuous learners. This type of interaction is energizing and inspirational, sparking new ideas and confidence in your ability to accomplish your goals.
8. Stay in the moment. Don't pine for the future and the time when you'll finally be happy. Enjoy the moment, no matter how insignificant it seems. Take in the smells of nature, put down the cell phone and talk to the person you are with, pay attention to preparing and eating your food or to the experience in the restaurant. Practice enjoying the little things in life, and you'll be positioned to enjoy your future success even more.
9. Strive for peace not for stuff. Money isn't the key to happiness, although it is necessary for food, shelter, and clothing. Decide what kind of lifestyle you want that will bring you peace rather than a Rolex. Simplify your idea of what you need in your life. The more stuff you have, the more maintenance it requires and the more stress is in your life. The recipe for happiness includes knowing what makes you feel calm and comfortable. The simple things - a comfy sweater, watching a movie with friends, or a walk in the park - can be the foundation of a happy life, both now and going forward.
You may be closer to creating your ideal future than you think, and if not, incorporating the nine strategies above into your present life can go a long way in cultivating happiness while you strive toward making your dreams come true.
Diane Wing, M.A. is the founder of Wing Academy of Unfoldment, host of Wing Academy Radio, author of five books, and an experienced guide for those ready to see things differently. When it comes to getting unstuck and feeling great about life, her 9-word philosophy is: Let go. Be grateful. Stay open. See the magick. Find out more at www.WingAcademy.com