Waiting for your life to improve before you choose to be happy would be like the princess waiting for the frog to turn into a prince BEFORE she kissed it.“I’ll really live life once it becomes lovable” we think. But you have to love your life until it becomes livable.
Of all exercises, waiting on happiness seems to be the most futile. The very act of waiting on happiness increases the odds that it will never come, for it perpetuates the illusion that happiness is rooted in something other than our own choosing. If we are lucky enough to find something or someone to make us happy, our moment of satisfaction is quickly replaced by a yearning for more.
As a way out of this emotional rat race, many wise teachers have advised us to “be content!” In a recent post, I offered my two cents on the power of contentment. Today, I’d like to revisit that topic with the hope of adding clarity to the original discussion. I hope you enjoy. Cheers 🙂 – TK
Contentment and Creativity
Life gives us two options:
1. You can be happy AFTER you get the things you want
2. You can be happy WHILE you pursue the things you want
For most of my life, I was afraid of approach #2. I’ve always relied on using approach #1 as a motivational tool. Deliberately depriving myself of happiness as a way of motivating myself to work harder was my modus operandi. Punishing myself with misery and self-loathing for failure of any kind was my sure-fire way of keeping myself from being content with a second-rate lifestyle.
I’ve always cringed at the phrase “be content.” I didn’t want to settle for less. I wanted to live my life to the fullest.
Unhappiness is like an abusive lover that we’re afraid to leave because we don’t believe in our ability to get through life successfully without having him in our lives. We’re afraid to love our lives as they are because we fear being stuck with an unwanted condition. If we allow ourselves to be happy NOW, even though we have some things going on that we don’t like, we fear we might become complacent.
I lived everyday with this kind of fear until I realized the following.Joy is a creative force. The happier you are, the more spiritual power you have.
I was recently meditating on a verse in The Book of Psalms where it says “The Joy of the Lord is our strength”
“Strength” refers to power, life-force, or energy. Scientifically, it is defined as “the capacity to produce an effect.”
The Psalmist is implicitly stating that his ability to accomplish goals, materialize visions, and manifest desires is inseparable from his connection to Joy. This is the total opposite of the conventional “motivate yourself with unhappiness” strategy.
Feeling good is the path of least resistance
When you look at happiness as a causative element, you begin to see that there are TWO reasons to feel good;
1. Being happy feels better than being unhappy.
2. Being happy puts you into a mental and spiritual state that makes it far more likely that you will succeed in creating the results that matter most to you.
I’ve had people ask me questions like “Yeah, but what if I don’t have any money?”
My response is “If you only had two choices, does it feel better to be A) broke and unhappy or B) broke and happy?”
Everyone always chooses “B”, but there’s usually a modicum of hesitancy.
Choosing ‘B” seems like being okay with not having money.
That’s precisely why it is so important to think about happiness as a causative force and not merely an emotional sensation.
“Kissing the frog” isn’t about being happy WITH the stuff you don’t like. It’s about being happy and not letting the stuff you don’t like rob you of your right to continue being happy.
You don’t have to force “The Force”
You should never force yourself to feel happy ABOUT what you hate. If your definition of contentment means being happy with anything less than what you were created for, then I encourage you to throw that understanding of contentment right out the window.
True contentment is about adjusting your focus so your attention is not oriented around what you hate. When you focus on what you love, you always feel good. When you shift your attention away from what you DO NOT want towards what you DO want, you feel better. The better you feel, the more control you possess over the things you really are able to control.
Esther Hicks says it this way:
Feel the difference between
When we can love what we want without condemning where we are, it becomes fun to dream and that’s when the magic really happens.
I see royalty in your future. In fact, it’s standing in front of you right now; A prince disguised as a frog, a beautiful life masquerading as a mediocre one.
Go ahead and show yourself and your life a little love right now. Watch and see what happens. Then let me know how it goes.