What would happen if we stopped chasing happiness, and instead fell hard for the present moment? I’ve been giving this some serious thought lately, especially as I’ve found myself falling victim to the hustle, and questioning my purpose. I believe it’s the season in which reflection is prominent, as one year comes to an end, preparing us all for a clean slate. I am free to set new intentions for 2018, re-evaulate, and visualize the life I actually want to be living, as opposed to the one I think is expected of me.
There was a time in which I was unsatisfied with many aspects of my life. At one point, professional, at other times in relationships. Always quick to complain and point out what wasn’t working, yet never confident or willing enough to change my circumstances. I lacked the ability to see the other side of things, and believed that this was all there was to life, despite what my heart was telling me. During this time, I coped in an unhealthy way; filling my soul with superficiality. That misguided idea that I will be happy once I get…was a prominent theme, and one that was spiritually numbing.
Always a motivated and driven woman, I stopped pursuing interests, put too much emphasis on the external, thought achievement and status was of the utmost importance, and found myself stuck in this mundane and uninspiring existence. It wasn’t until a significant even occurred, that my safe, ugly, unsatisfied bubble popped. We all have one; that heartbreak, rejection, loss, aha moment; the moment of truth, which ultimately becomes a catalyst for change. Many times, when someone goes through this type of experience, it can go one of two ways; (1) we take the easy way out, choosing to remain in the space of taking, and feeling dissatisfied; or (2) we wake the F*** up, and get to work. Fortunately, I chose the latter, and the gifts that followed were endless. I decided to take control of what no longer served me, opting to view this period of time as an opportunity for growth, change, and contentment.
There’s this underlying current in our culture, one that emphasizes happiness as the ultimate goal. I have found that chasing this idea of “happy” is exhausting, and quite honestly, unattainable. Happiness cannot exist without an authentic state of being, for it’s unrealistic, and incapable of being sustained 100% of the time. For me, I am more concerned with how my values and perception of self aligns with my purpose, and how I can manage both the good and challenging times without relying on this “more, more, more” mentality to validate my existence. In other words, how can I be more understanding, comfortable, present and secure in this moment; despite what is going on in both my internal and external environment.
In my experience, learning to be present requires honesty and moments of discomfort. Always quick to run and stay busy, choosing avoidance over anything else, I was left disconnected and unhappy (imagine that), which only perpetuated this need for “more” in hopes of achieving long term happiness. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used “I’m so busy/stressed/overwhelmed” to justify my quest for the unattainable. This endless list of excuses, did nothing but set me apart, and hinder my ability for connection.
After years of living this way, I decided to stop chasing the idea of happiness, and actually get clear on what I wanted for the optimum life experience. Going inward, and creating new meaning, I slowly listened to what my body and soul needed; leading to fulfilling experiences, self-love and serenity.
What a gift it is that we get the opportunity to create the life of our dreams. That idea, never lost on me, serves as a daily reminder to stay diligent in my practices, be true to myself, say no when it doesn’t serve me, trust more, and love with all of my being. I encourage you to take some time to reevaluate the meaning of your own life, setting aside the chase, and focus solely on what matters most.