I want to share a realization that I came to when I was very young, and it continues to be reinforced by the people and circumstances surrounding me. Our happiness has much less to do with what we own, where we work, how healthy we are, or who we have in our lives than our state of mind. While these things and circumstances can influence our life experience, our happiness is 100% determined by our state of mind.
As a child, I would witness my grandmother’s burning desire to have all her children and grandchildren together for the holidays. An essential element of this story was my mom, and her siblings did not get along even a little. In addition to this, there was always someone trying to stir up drama by telling someone something the other one had said about them. My mom would end up losing her keys or her wallet, and someone was always yelling at someone about something that had happened long before any of us kids were even alive.
I remember making a vow when I grew I I would do the following:
Always put my keys and wallet in a specific place, so I didn't waste time and energy looking for them.
Never get so caught up over a holiday’s specific date to force the family to come together.
Let go of the past; it wasn't worth carrying around with me and being angry all the time.
My grandmother put so much effort into bringing everyone together on her terms and then ended up in tears over how they had behaved. I remember asking her why she did it, and she told me, "Family is supposed to be together on the holidays."
Her mindset that holidays meant everyone should be together hindered her from having holidays she could genuinely enjoy. She was so set in her perception of holidays, family, and togetherness that she failed to see any other option. I wish I would have been brave enough as my ten-year-old self to encourage her to have my mom and my uncle come in the end, and my moms' sisters and their family arrive at the beginning. Then my grandmother would have spent more time enjoying their company and the holidays. They would have all had more time with those who genuinely mattered to them. There would have been more moments of laughter and less anger and fighting.
We all do this; we get our mindset on how we feel things should be in our life and the world, and when things don't go according to our plan, our perspective too often sees the story is that the world and life are working against us.
Change is constant, and perspectives and life views are different because our own life experiences inform them. My life view has always been that I am blessed because I realized I had a choice in how I chose to see the world and my life experiences. I knew from my childhood I didn't want to grow up angry and mad because I have no control over the world. However, I did have control over my outlook.
My state of mind, 95% of the time, is one of appreciation and gratitude with a healthy side of hope, faith, and a dash of perseverance. I have been divorced, put everything I had into a business that failed, been the top producer at a company, and laid off from another company. My mom is alive, however, I was raised by my grandparents. Somewhere out, there is a man who is my father, yet, I have never met him, and I do not know his name. These are the facts of my life. The only power they have over who I am and what I am doing with my life is the power I choose to give them.
I read so many books from “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero’s to Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. These books allow me to see success as the pursuit of one's life towards a meaningful goal. However, many of us pursue goals without understanding why we are seeking them. When we reach those goals, we are left feeling less than fulfilled and happy.
When our state of mind aligns with our goals and our work, we live a more fulfilled life. We recognize all we have to be grateful for and are quick to acknowledge the power we have in creating our happiness. Shifting our state of mind doesn’t happen overnight, and it is something I have spent decades working on fine-tuning. Here are some of the questions I ask myself when I feel my state of mind is out of alignment with my core values and goals.
What is creating this negative feeling?
What feeling would I like to replace it?
Have I felt this way in the past?
How did I move beyond this?
Who can I talk through this with to allow me to release some of these negative emotions?
What can I learn from where I have been?
When I become aware of my state of mind being out of alignment with where I am trying to go, I have taken the first step to own my outlook and regain control over my life and the direction it is moving in. This requires me to be open and honest with myself and own my choice up to this point if I want to shift my life direction.
Please share your thoughts and approach, as I am here to learn as much as I am here to share.