Often we hear the term inner happiness; what does that mean exactly? Many have found that inner peace and/or happiness is the key to a fruitful and happy life. Finding inner peace can be difficult, many find at some point they’re desperate enough to do whatever it takes to find happiness; whatever that entails. The alternative is a life filled with the endless chase of the all elusive phantom of happiness.
The opposite of this inner happiness would be inner sadness or madness. Looking at why one would suffer from such inner conflict can be broken down into a few different perspectives. One reason may be the individual had a conscience (which is a good thing), yet they’re not living true to that conscience. They may be living a self-destructive life style or constantly compromising their moral values. When we live in manner that is not consistent with what we want, or know is good for us, the result is inner conflict or unhappiness.
Another reason may be the individual has not real internal moral compass at all, yet they continue to put themselves in positions to be hurt by others. Or conversely, they find that they’re constantly hurting someone emotionally with their actions. Not understanding why they keep getting the same reaction can cause intense unhappiness and inner conflict.
The most simple way to look at obtaining inner happiness, is to seek within ourselves to determine what a benchmark for an ideal person or “us” would look like. In essence, what are the highest ideals we would like to have for ourselves? Once we have determined things such as; be less selfish and more altruistic, become a better worker, etc. we then have something to strive for. Keeping in mind that we must not be too hard on ourselves. Remember we are human and will make mistakes, so take it easy and work on a little bit at a time.
Many of us have that inner voice that is constantly talking back to us. At times it may be telling us we’re not good enough or other negative things. Learning how to listen to this voice is important in learning what type of relationship we have with ourselves. If we’re truly going to find inner happiness, we must start by building a nurturing relationship with ourselves. By building a relationship with ourselves first, learning how to love and respect ourselves, we are then better able to love and respect others; which many agree is an important part of finding happiness.
To be happy is something most people want on this planet and there are many ways of achieving happiness. Some of these ways are beneficial and actually enhance ones general quality of life. And then there are other ways that can make one feel happy for a short time and then cause them to feel a lot worse after.
This is because happiness doesn’t have one meaning for everything. What will make one person happy might not make another person happy. There are also different levels of happiness that someone can experience; from feeling content on one end of the spectrum, to complete euphoria on the other.
One way to achieve happiness is to accomplish a goal or to reach a certain outcome that one wanted. Here one will attain a feeling of happiness for a short time and soon this will begin subside.
How they felt at first won’t last forever and one’s mind may start to crave another achievement in order to feel happy once more. The enjoyment may end up being short lived and the next achievement consumes one’s mind.
This could feel like being on a treadmill that is stuck at high speed and every now and then, it slows down. Here, one is able to feel a sense of relief. But just as they are getting comfortable with this feeling, the treadmill starts up again.
Through craving or wanting happiness, one can easily start to forget about what they have. This is due to ones attention being on what they don’t have, as opposed to what they currently do have.
And based on the contrast that is created, it will be normal to feel unhappy and that one needs to have or to gain something in order to be happy. However, if one were to focus on what they do have and not on what they don’t have they might gradually start to observe a shift in how they feel.
This could take a while though, especially if one has got into a habit of placing most of their energy on what they have yet to gain or achieve in life. To be in this place, could be described as a place of acceptance and is another way to feel happy.
Another way to achieve happiness is through drinking alcohol, taking drugs or eating food. These might not always be useful one’s body and mind, but they will cause a momentary experience of being happy.
After consuming them, one could end up feeling far worse after the effects have worn off. Either through a hangover, a come down or through feeling bloated. So these are then nothing more than short term solutions or options.
What these examples show is that happiness is a transitory experience; it doesn’t last for very long. Once it is achieved, it soon starts to disappear. And when it comes to the mind, the law of diminishing returns is at work.
So what did cause one to feel happy at one point will no longer have the same effect as time goes on; something more and something better, will be needed. What did it at one point, will no longer be enough at another point.
The Ego Mind
When it comes to the ego mind, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is the norm. To feel pleasure feels good and can allow one to feel happy. To feel pain feels bad and can cause one to feel unhappy.
The mind is then hell bent on the pursuit of happiness and this is how it functions. And yet when one consciously observes this process, it is clear that it’s a game that can never be won. Where there are ups, there will be downs. And where there are downs, there is likely to be ups, if one allows them to take place.
Of course, to be happy is something everyone should embrace, but to see happiness as the be all and end all is only going to result in more pain. For one thing, the desire for happiness or anything else for that matter causes it to be pushed away. When one seeks something they are telling the universe they don’t have and this will create more of the same thing.
To drop out of the mind and into the body, one will experience something completely different. While the body lives in the present moment, the mind only knows duality. One can get caught up in their mind and play all the games that the mind plays. Or they can be the observers of their mind.
Here, one can see that happiness and unhappiness is an experience that comes and goes, it is not who they are. It can be natural to think that one is either happy or they are not happy and that’s the end of it. But beyond these two sides of the same coin is presence. This presence is there when one is happy and when one is not; it doesn’t go away.
So being happy is the purpose of the mind and this allows it to avoid pain. The challenge is that pain is part of life and can’t be avoided. Life undoubtedly doesn’t always go as one wants it to go, people pass on, losses take place and the unexpected often happens.
And as happiness is transitory and can’t be maintained for very long, it would be easy to conclude that there is no other option. One is then trapped between the heaven of feeling good and the hell of feeling bad. Underneath this duality is having a sense of purpose.
This purpose is going to be different for everyone, but no matter what this purpose is, it has the potential to be far more fulfilling than simply being happy. It is inevitable that this will cause one to be happy, but even when one has moments when they are not happy, this will give them something more substantial.
One can then experience being unhappy, but the fact they are living their truth and a life that is meaningful can cause them to experience pain without getting too attached to it. And this will enable one to see it as a temporary experience and not necessarily something that one needs to completely avoid.
For someone who is living their truth and has a sense of purpose, they might be able to see how this grounds them during the challenging moments in their life. And if one unsure of what purpose of or what gives their life meaning, it might be necessary to take a deeper look at their life.
One could begin by looking back on their life and at what is currently going on and seeing what gives them a sense of being on course. Or what do they do that feels easy and causes their sense of time to disappear through doing it.
Prolific writer, thought leader and coach, Oliver JR Cooper hails from the United Kingdom. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation; love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With several hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behavior, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice. Current projects include “A Dialogue With The Heart” and “Communication Made Easy.”
Are you your own worst critic? Do you also take personal development and spiritual growth seriously? Ironically, your very desire for self-improvement can make self-judgment even stronger. However, at some point on your journey, you discover that moving out of self-judgment is a crucial step if you are going to change your life and achieve what you truly desire. In this article, we explore the shift from self-judgment to self-confidence, which includes a surprising first step on that path.
Many of us learn from a young age to “be hard on ourselves.” As early as we can remember, parents and teachers told us what we can and can’t do-and the “NOs” tended to dominate. Of course, those telling us “No” usually had our best interests at heart. They were likely doing their best to help us succeed. We all do the best we can, given what we know at the time.
Unfortunately, because of their desire to help us avoid disappointment and frustration, we learned how we “should be” much more strongly than we learned to be “who we are.” We learned to fit into the mold. Self-judgment became a tool to keep us on the accepted path.
Now, as we journey through life, we may find that the ways we were taught to fit in don’t work for us. Fitting in just isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. We feel stifled, frustrated, and unfulfilled. Our frustration leads us to look for different answers. We have a feeling that there is more to life and we want it!
A great power of being human is that we can observe ourselves in action, see our patterns, and make changes in our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. We can wake up to what we are currently doing, imagine other ways of being, and take new actions to have better results. This is the path of self-development and spiritual growth.
Now, as we gain insight on how to “do better,” a natural reaction is to criticize “how we are now.” It’s natural to idealize how we “want to be” and measure ourselves harshly against that. It’s an easy trap to fall into. After all, we’ve been trained well in self-judgment. Yet, here’s the irony:
To shift to a new way of being, you must first completely accept how you are now.
This is essential for two reasons. First, self-acceptance is necessary for you to clearly see what you are currently doing. Second, it’s a step toward a fundamental attitude shift.
Self-acceptance enables you to witness all of who you are, so you can be very “real” with yourself. Acceptance enables you to see clearly because you’re not filtering what you see according to “what you want to see” and “what you don’t want to see.” You’re more likely to take in the whole picture when you remove the strong filter of self-judgment. You’re less likely to ignore things that you don’t like about yourself-and these are just as important pieces of information as the parts you do like. Self-acceptance is taking a neutral position towards yourself that helps you see who you really are.
Self-acceptance is also the first step of an attitude progression. It’s a small step up from acceptance to “appreciation.” When you start to see yourself clearly, you can appreciate the beauty of “exactly how you are.” You see your strengths and you discover that what you thought were “weaknesses” actually give you a unique perspective that can be useful. It’s that variety of exact details that gives you a unique niche in life.
From appreciation it’s another small step up the attitude ladder to gratitude. The more you appreciate yourself exactly as you are, the more grateful you feel for the gifts, resources, and circumstances you’ve been given. When you learn to look at life through the lens of gratitude, you start to notice the unique opportunities in every detail and circumstance. You begin to marvel at the infinite complexity and coherence of the Divine design.
For example, when you were trying to fit into the “extroverted” ideal that is celebrated in this world, you may have thought your introversion was a “liability.” However, the fact that you are introverted gives you sensitivity to inner feelings and experiences. That could make you a student of the inner life, excelling at practices such as meditation. As you pursue that interest, you could learn to describe meditative experiences so that others can understand and benefit from them. When you fully develop that skill you realize that your introversion is a real “asset” and not a liability.
When you understand, appreciate, and are grateful for your assets, you gain confidence in who you are.
Instead of struggling to fit in, you see that you are made perfectly for what you are here to do. There is a Greater Power and Intelligence at work that has created you exactly this way for a purpose. Self-confidence flows naturally when you appreciate your unique talents, resources, and perspective and trust your connection to the Greater Power that has given these to you.
To learn more about discovering your unique purpose and living the life of your dreams, check out the resources box below.
Kevin Schoeninger graduated from Villanova University in 1986 with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. He is certified as a Life Coach, Reiki Master Teacher, Qigong Meditation Instructor, and Personal Fitness Trainer.
I hope I did. I chose to leave out the word Low Self Esteem. It should actually read; 6 Ways to break out of The Low Self Esteem Prison.
Why use the word prison? A Prison is a place of physical confinement, isolation and restriction to various levels of personal freedom.
The post in context:
I feel the word prison captures the effects of experiencing low self esteem which are isolation, little or no self worth, frustration, depression………
Low Self Esteem refers to the perception of an individual, viewing himself as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once this is established in your thoughts/mind, the negative view of self would revolve around every sphere of your life, producing faulty assumptions and an ongoing self-defeating behavior.
Low self esteem affects the quality of your life. You become IMPRISONED with the feelings of insecurity, take fewer risks, communicate less and this restricts various opportunities available for your personal growth or development.
There was an article on the BBC website dated the 9th of July 2009 Self Help Makes You Feel Worse. While my opinion differs from that statement in the context of positive and progressive personal development, I tend to agree with the concept of the article and support the statement by Simon Gelsthorpe, a psychologist with Bradford District Care Trust.
I felt a need to blog on this, attempting to highlight low self esteem symptoms, suggest ways in which we can handle it, in order to promote our personal development. It’s not about relying heavily on positive affirmations, statements, mantras etc alone, but working out an approach to building self confidence over a certain period.
Low Self Esteem symptoms are as follows:
1. Feeling that you’re not good enough – even if you are.
2. A decreased level of self confidence associated with putting yourself down all the time.
3. The feeling of being overwhelmed by the purpose of life.
4. The doubts of making any personal achievement and being too scared to try out new things to enhance your personal development.
5. Feeling uncomfortable with your looks – too fat, too slim, too short or tall.
6. Always worrying about getting even with people.
7. Always being the victim, blaming others for your problems.
8. Social withdrawal.
9. Being unnecessarily fearful and concerned over what people think or imagine about you.
10. The feeling of Self neglect.
The following tips can help you break out from ‘The Low Self Esteem Prison:
Engage in activities you like.Engage in activities that you like, knowing you can excel. This boosts your level of confidence.
Know what aspects of your life need development. It improves your personal/professional growth, promotes your strengths and fosters positive relationships or work ethics e.tc
Your talents, abilities should be maximized to their optimal level in order to achieve purpose and direction for your life.
When you identify and engage in these areas with purpose, you earn the self-esteem that you feel you deserve.
Address your weaknesses.
Our weaknesses tend to box us into a corner, or for the purpose of this topic IMPRISON us. Be rational in laying out on the table various aspects of your life. Find the perfect motivation for changing these aspects in your life and don’t expect a sudden miracle.
Building self-esteem needs purpose and the need to accept changes in your life. Know that patience is a virtue, go slow but sure. Your habits will not change overnight. Rejoice when you make a tiny progressive change using that as a stimulus to propel further quests for personal growth and development.
Acknowledge your positive qualities
Believe in yourself. Feel good about what you have achieved so far, your ability to face the future with confidence and purpose.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is a negative trait which over time, develops into low self esteem.
Stop flogging yourself over mistakes over the past. Learn from your experiences and avoid comparing yourself to other people
Indulge in life’s joys. Spoil yourself occasionally and don’t feel guilty about it.
Rest on your laurels for every victory gained. Take pleasure in, the feeling of euphoria for being able to surpass life’s challenges.
Know your limitations. Know when to push and when to rest. There will always be times when situations will come to a plateau and you are confused on how to proceed. Follow your instincts and learn to be patient.
Interact with positive and supportive people.
I always place emphasis on the need for positive networking because it’s necessary for personal development. Who you associate with influences your thoughts, actions and behaviour. Negative people tend to downplay your ideas, walk over you, patronize you etc. This significantly lowers your self esteem. Interacting with positive and supportive people tends to reduce several bouts of low self esteem by impacting your life, making you feel loved, wanted, happy, constructively challenging you to positive growth…..
It’s important to develop a positive/personal support network.
Acknowledge compliments and constructive criticisms.
Positive compliments and constructive criticisms (this shouldn’t be likened to negative talks about your person) shouldn’t be ignored at all. When you put yourself in a position of not being teachable or unworthy praises for work done, or good character possessed, it reflects low self esteem. Be gracious when receiving compliments or criticisms because they make you better person. It creates a sense of value and allows you contribute positively to the life of others.
Find out your purpose.
Lay down in specific terms what you want to achieve in your life. Being realistic about your goals will enable you formulate specific steps on how to achieve that purpose. When you know what you want, you should be able to set concrete, achievable and measurable goals.
Never aspire to have unrealistic expectations because its end result is low self esteem, depression, disenchantment.
A few ideas:
1. Sit down and examine yourself.
2. Make a list of strengths.
3. List your goals and be sure to create milestones going there.
4. Break down each goal in stages.
5. Maintain optimism. Plan carefully and be firm in what you want to achieve.
6. Make a time frame of what you hope to achieve in a specific period of time.
7. Think about how people could help in reaching or achieving your goals?
8. People behind bars often dream of a better life/future. People who experience low self esteem feel imprisoned but there is a likelihood of the prison doors being wide open without anyone imposing their stay in there.
Take action today to deal with low self esteem.
Finally, IS THERE ANYONE READY TO BREAK OUT OF PRISON?
Your comments will be appreciated.
Ayo Olaniyan is a certified Unitive™ Life Coach and Counsellor. He is a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, an accredited professional counsellor with the Counselling Society and the author of Expanding Your Horizons. Visit http://discoveringpurpose.co.uk or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, it’s about creating a purpose driven life through personal development.
You can look up the definition for peace and happiness, but only you know what these words truly mean to you on a personal level. Everyone wants to feel good about life and not be tormented by self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. Self-sabotaging thoughts are the whispers in your mind that sound like this:
“I’m not good enough”
“I don’t know how”
“I don’t deserve it”
“I don’t matter”
“I’m going to fail”
“No one cares about me”
“I’m a loser”
Self-sabotaging thoughts are false and come in all different forms. They are false because they make you limit or doubt yourself and your worth. Worst of all, they make you feel uneasy, unhappy, and depressed. If you ever make the effort to get past them, then you will see that you can achieve so much more than your thoughts lead you to believe. Letting go of false thoughts releases fear and negativity so that you can:
be more at peace with who you are,
be more accepting of yourself and others,
be happier and more relaxed,
allow more positive experiences to flow into your life,
be more receptive to all possible solutions to your problems,
allow the people around you to enjoy you more, and
be consciously in-touch and in-tune to what’s really going on around you.
Why Is Inner Peace Important?
Inner peace is important because how you feel on the inside will manifest itself in your reality. That’s the law of attraction 101, which states that you attract into your life whatever you focus on. See, “Does The Law of Attraction Work?” If you want to attract more positive experiences into your life, you have to be sure your inner feelings and thoughts are mostly positive. What you think about and how you feel is a choice that you make at any given moment, whether or not you realize it.
How Do You Achieve Inner Peace?
You’ve probably read many self-improvement books about ways to achieve inner peace but were left wondering, “How do I apply this in my life?” It’s as simple as being conscious and then making a choice. Conscious means being fully aware of your inner and outer world. Being fully aware of how you feel and what you think, offers an opportunity for you to make changes that result in being at peace and happier more often than not…
Visit ClassicHealing for more interesting self improvement articles. Visit Amazon.com to purchase your copy of Negative Thought Changers! Negative Thought Changers is a short, sweet, and to the point step-by-step guide on how to achieve inner peace and happiness.
There are many causes of depression. External as well as internal. The death of someone we love or care about. The falling out of a friendship. A local tragedy. An unwanted divorce. A serious illness. The constant sense of “impending doom”. Perhaps we realize we haven’t lived up to a set of standards that we have chosen to abide by, making us feel shame or guilt. I call this my conscience. Perhaps we feel constant loneliness. Or worse than that, being stuck in a “bad” marriage. A chemical or hormonal imbalance. The list is as extensive as there are people. Some of these causes can be rectified by us. Some cannot. It is these issues that can seem to have a death-like grip on our emotions.
But what if I told you that you could still “change” your mood as easily as you could change your clothes? Would you say I’m not being realistic? Would you say that I’ve just never had happen to me what has happened to you? I have had several of these scenarios happen to me or to someone I love. Don’t get me wrong, if any of these things happen to any human being, the natural response is to get depressed. For awhile anyway. That’s normal. Think about that word “depress”. What exactly gets “depressed”? Our natural ability and desire to be HAPPY. There is a scripture in the Bible where God says “you must be happy because I am happy,” so since God is happy, and He created us in His image…
So how does one go about getting happy, truly, genuinely -as opposed to “artificially” – happy anyway?
Good question! Have you ever noticed that sometimes you can wake up in a good mood, then other times you wake up in a bad mood, and don’t really know why, either way? For whatever reason, either our subliminal dreams and the states of emotion they produce, our hormones, that “time of the month”, a sense of dread of either a test at school, some particular project at work, an upcoming bill that’s due, etc., can subconsciously put us in a “bad” mood, then again, maybe we are expecting to receive a tax refund, or a gift from someone, or are about to go on a fun vacation, these can put us in a “good” mood! Do you see how our thoughts can affect our mood? So in reality, what we therefore choose to think about can also affect, manipulate, guide, and control our mood and THAT affects how we FEEL! Do your thoughts make you feel sad or happy? Mad or glad? Realize also that no one can make you feel any emotion unless you give them the power to do so. Here’s proof: think about when you’re driving down the street and out of the blue, someone cuts you off and yells some obscenity out the window at you while making an angry hand gesture. That might make you a little mad. But you’d get over it pretty quickly. But what if, during a disagreement someone you love behaved towards you in this same manner. That would likely hurt wouldn’t it. Because we give those we love the power to affect our own assessment of ourselves. They matter to us!
So again I ask, how does one go about “getting” happy? Really, how can someone “practice happiness”?
One of the many NLP presuppositions says “if anyone can learn to do something and learn to do it well, you and I certainly can!”
There have been, throughout history, countless examples of people who have had horrific things happen to them, and yet they draw on resources within them that enabled them to stand tall, move forward and actually succeed in life, and sometimes succeed so well they are written about! That’s how you and I have come to learn about them. What resources do they draw on?
The very first thing is their thought patterns. What kind of “self talk”, or “pep” talk did they give themselves? Positive or negative? Well, for one thing, there is NO negative talk! None of this “I can’t” or “they won’t let me” or “I don’t know how” business! No, but it might go something like this: “I am not sure how to go about (accomplishing some task, or surviving for that matter) but I am going to ask someone for advice, or get help to learn what to do first!” If you’re a God fearing person, pray for guidance and direction. God won’t let you down. Remember, everything is temporary. We can make the best of a bad situation by remembering THAT, or we can wallow in the bad situation, getting stuck there, and milking it for all it’s worth! We can actually make a bad situation last longer, without meaning to, because we ultimately do nothing to change the situation or how long we “stay” there!
So here’s a little exercise to do when you find yourself “stuck” in depression. And it will take “practice”! In the morning, when you first get up…
Consciously think about how you are feeling. Don’t spend a lot of time there. There doesn’t need to be a reason for the “bad” or depressed mood. It just is. Think about where you feel those negative feelings in your body. Notice where your eyes go when you are deeply in those feelings.
Now consciously think of some good memory, not attached to the subject of your depression. Think of something or someone and an experience where you were happy, perhaps even laughing. Everyone has memories of that sort, no matter how far back you must go. Give it some time. Involve yourself in those thoughts. Then, raise your eyes up to the ceiling. This is important. Now say out loud, in as cheerful a voice as you can muster, “I am having a GREAT day today!” And I know this sounds silly, but start singing — even if it is through tears — and as you begin to walk away, walk with a bounce in your step! It matters not how depressed you are or have been. This works 100% of the time. But it might take some time. It is guaranteed to work! Just give it some time. If you do this every morning for 21 days in a row, you will notice a change in how you feel!
The dynamics of this exercise are these: it is your subconscious that decides your behavior. Your subconscious is where your drivers are. And remember, we wake up in the mood set by that very subconscious. We are hardwired to a certain set of behaviors but we can consciously change them by telling our subconscious what to do! When you wake up in a sad, bad, mad or depressed state, it is either because of our chemistry (which, by the way, can be changed by changing our thought patterns) or what our subconscious has been thinking about in our sleep, IF we sleep(!) When we take control of our thoughts, rather than let our thoughts “run amok”, we essentially “reboot” our mind / thought patterns!
If we really want to improve our mood, if we really want to be happy, we can! Once we “get the hang of it”, once we “fake it till we make it” — living in an “as if” we’ve already achieved our goal, the everyday problems of life won’t get us down, and the bigger issues won’t keep us stuck. We are in control, and we get to decide to practice happiness!
Cynthia is an NLP Master and Health Practitioner and practices in the Modesto, CA area.
My name is Cynthia (many call me Cindy) Smith and I am a certified NLP Master and Health Practitioner and live in the central valley area of California. I have a coaching / counseling business which I conduct in the Modesto, CA area.
I absolutely LOVE NLP and helping people reach their maximum potential using the various processes and techniques I learned in 2006-2007 at NLPCA in Burlingame, CA.
Is life a tragedy or a triumph? Are we born to succeed or destined to fail? At some point in our lives, we will all have a crisis of faith; and when we do, we will turn somewhere for help and guidance. Some of us turn to religion, some of us turn to self-help, some of us resort to alcohol or drugs and some of us become reliant on medication. Other people will blame something else such as fate or bad luck or even someone else such as God for their misfortunes. But what about those of us who refuse to blame external influences for our lack of success?
The truth is that we are all responsible for our own lives, though many of us fail to acknowledge this responsibility. But if we want to, we can take charge and turn our lives around. Most of us are familiar with the phrase ‘you create your own luck’, but how many of us actually believe it?
Taking responsibility will allow you to create your own good luck and turn failure into success. You can benefit from taking responsibility even if you are already happy and fulfilled because doing so would ensure that your happiness and fulfillment continues.
Happiness is something that we all seek and many of us become lost whilst trying to find it. This is because many of us adopt the belief that the key to happiness lies in the material things that we seek, such as an abundance of money, a good car, the best clothes, all the latest gadgets, or a large house. Whilst it is not wrong to want these material things, this delusional belief that happiness lies in the acquisition of them is the reason that so many of us have a tendency to notice what we haven’t got, which, in turn, causes us to feel unhappy.
The truth is that material things by themselves do not bring us happiness – even some lottery winners have stated, a few years later, that it was actually the worst thing that ever happened to them. Many people have striven for material things only to find that when they acquired them, there was still something missing from their lives; they did not have the fulfillment that they expected to have.
It can be quite damaging if we believe that our happiness depends on the possession of material things because we can easily lose our sense of self as we search for this happiness that we so desperately seek.
For example, imagine that you are driving to your desired destination and that you get lost along the way. You continue driving around trying to find your way back to the road that leads you to your destination. You try new roads only to later find that they are taking you even further away from your destination. You then make u-turns and so you end up driving in circles. You are constantly looking for the road to your desired destination, but you are just going round and round and you are getting no closer to where you want to be.
After a while of aimlessly driving around, you begin to feel frustrated, angry and irritated. As you continue to drive around, with no idea of where you are going, these negative emotions become stronger and so you become even more stressed. In the same kind of way, the more we lose ourselves in this search for happiness, the worse we feel. The more we look for happiness, the less satisfied we will become with our lives as they are and so the less happy we will be.
True happiness can sometimes feel like a distant dream. Perhaps you have relationship issues, excessive debt problems or ill health. It is often during the most challenging times in our lives that we develop ourselves the most. This is because unwanted things are often the catalyst for change.
Inner-peace, acceptance, love and belief are all fundamental to true happiness. Inner-peace requires us to remove all detrimental thoughts and beliefs. Acceptance requires us to make peace with things the way they are. Love requires us to let go of all anger and resentment. And belief requires us to be hopeful and optimistic, rather than fearful and pessimistic.
The constituents of true happiness all come from within, thus happiness is a state of mind. Therefore, it is possible to find true happiness even in difficult circumstances, though intentionally achieving true happiness means mastering our own minds.
As someone with a long interest in language and how it is used, I am often fascinated by how changes of terminology take place. Suddenly people are using a new term, sometimes to refer to a new concept or approach, but sometimes the new term simply replaces an old one. Well-being is not a new term or even a new concept, but it is certainly being used much more these days, and in different ways too.
I am a great believer in the idea of ‘confluence theory’, the notion that significant changes happen when a number of forces or factors come together, sometimes for an underlying reason, sometimes just by chance. Well-being, for me, is one of those confluence phenomena, with different forces coming together. To reflect this confluence I developed the idea of ‘Getting WISE about well-being’, with WISE spelling out:
• Workplace well-being has grown out of the increasing recognition that poor work-life balance and other destructive workplace processes can be detrimental – catastrophic even – for not only the individual staff members concerned, but also for the organization and potentially all its stakeholders.
• Individual well-being has two separate but related strands. One is the increasing emphasis on spirituality, based on the recognition that, whether religious or not, everyone has spiritual needs – needs that often go unmet in a highly materialistic and competitive world. The other is a focus on health promotion, recognising that there is more to being healthy than avoiding illness. Such important issues as diet, exercise and sleep are now being recognised as part of everyone’s well-being and that we neglect them at a significant cost.
• Social well-being is partly about a greater emphasis on having a sense of community and ‘connectedness’, again perhaps a reaction against the competitive materialism of modern life, and partly about the need for a more inclusive society, with less poverty and inequality. This latter aspect is reflected in how social policy seems to be increasingly moving away from potentially stigmatising, dependency-creating notions of ‘welfare’ to more partnership-based, empowering notions of well-being.
• Environmental well-being is also, of course, appearing much higher up the political and cultural agendas. It is not that long ago that ‘green’ issues were seen as the preserve of environmentalists, those with a particular interest in ecology, but now environment well-being is clearly a mainstream issue all round.
But there is more to this confluence than the very term ‘well-being’ uniting people around four disparate themes. If we look closely we can see that they are inter-related. For example, the emphasis on healthy lifestyles is also part of the focus on workplace well-being (and spirituality in the workplace is also receiving greater attention). Likewise, the emphases on social well-being and environmental well-being have in common a concern with moving away from our resource-intensive consumerist lifestyles towards something more meaningful and less destructive (and thus linked with spiritual well-being).
Sadly well-being is often oversimplified. For example, I have come across so many documents and websites that have ‘health and well-being’ in their title, but then talk almost exclusively about health. Similarly, there is a tendency to confuse well-being with happiness. The latter is something episodic, whereas the former is something more stable and long lasting. What we need, then, is to continue to explore these complex issues so that we can develop a more sophisticated understanding of what is involved. That way we will be better equipped to make well-being in its various forms a more realistic goal to aim for.
Melanie Brocklehurst, the guest on last week's Self Improvement Show, brought to our attention the plight of little girls in Nepal and Tibet. (If you didn't hear the show, it's worth listening to - click the video above and hear what Melanie has to say.)It is an opportunity for you to help someone … [Read More...]
Frontline Learning is making over 40 online learning courses available to 5000 unemployed individuals. Any currently unemployed person is eligible to receive these programs simply be registering online (see link below).
There is no hook or catch or "fine print" here - these are full featured … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan -
For some it was a stretch to accept the idea of the wholeness of the individual—that we work as a unit with body, mind, emotions, and spirit working together and what affected one part affected the whole. If my emotions, for example, are seething with anger something will … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan -
Thoroughly researched and carefully crafted this is a program that is designed for success in a field that sees far too much failure. How many people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol check themselves into rehab over and over and never seem to be free of the need to … [Read More...]
This morning when I started working on this blog, I opened the Dashboard, as usual, to deal with the comments. Often I get great comments about the articles I've posted. Occasionally, I get comments by someone who thought the article was wrong, needed changing, or just didn't measure up. I welcome … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan-
Have you seen the ads for electronic cigarettes? It's an interesting twist on the ordeal of quitting the smoking habit.
My son decided he wanted to quit and after researching a number of companies settled on a productg by LeCig.
His package arrived Friday and today he … [Read More...]
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