Here is a crucial question to answer: who deserves your commitment to be happy?
An obvious first answer is that you do ... although if you're like most people, your ego, or conditioned self, does not agree with you. And your conditioned self is doing everything possible to prevent your happiness (and is therefore sabotaging your overall health in the process.) More on that in a moment. But there are others who deserve your commitment to be happy.
If you are a mother or father, your children most definitely deserve your commitment to be happy. Aside from the basic necessities, in fact, there is arguably nothing they need and deserve more from you than you striving to be happy. The closer your spirit is to fulfilled, the more are able to be there for your kids, and the more you are able to guide them down the path to their happiness.
Your commitment to your joy breeds joy, and is your demonstration of love and gratefulness for life. Subscribe to the FREE IntenseExperiences.com Newsletter (and get a FREE eBook instantly) to discover more!
(Sculpture by Joy Brown.)
Who doesn't know of at least a few parents who run themselves ragged, who drive themselves close to a nervous breakdown, trying to please and provide for the kids, and "prepare them for life"? The frazzled and fatigued parents the kids are getting, and the lessons the kids are reallylearning from these frazzled and fatigued parents, work far, far harderagainst the children's own happiness than any benefit they are gaining.
And who doesn't know several divorced couples - and married couples - who fight, manipulate and emotionally drain one another in the name of "what's right for the children" ... all the while forgetting that what is mostwrong for the children are parents who fight, manipulate and emotionally drain each other?
Remember, what you are most to your kids, even when you think they aren't watching, is an example. This doesn't mean you can't make mistakes. You can, you will, and they can and will. It does mean that you should strive for peace and happiness -- and that as much as possible you should try to help create an environment where your spouse, your ex (yes, your ex) and anyone who has an influence on your child's life can achieve their peace and happiness too.
If more than anything you want your children happy, then remember they are watching you - show them how to be happy by striving to be happy.
Along similar lines, your parents deserve your commitment to be happy, too. Your mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, foster parents, grandparents or whoever you consider your true parents wanted one thing above all else for you back when they were raising you - for you to be happy. Whatever amount of time and effort they invested in raising you, and whether the job they did was great or mediocre, what they most wanted - the same way you do or will for your children - is your happiness. Living or deceased, no matter where they are at, they still want this above all else for you now.
(This does not mean your parents deserve you living according to what would make them happy - a common and dangerous misperception and the source of much angst between parents and even grown children. They deserve you living for and striving for what most makes you happy, even if it is not what they would choose.)
It also seems obvious - but like so much that is obvious it is usually forgotten - that your spouse or significant other also deserves your commitment to happiness. They love you, so your happiness is extremely important to them. Your happiness or lack thereof greatly impacts their own happiness. You want them happy, of course, because you love them ... and therefore you DO owe it to them to strive for your own happiness.
To put it another way for those who like to skim-read: if you're not committed to being happy, how can anyone who loves you be fully happy?
In this sense, any siblings and other family who care about you and vice-versa, and all your true friends, deserve your commitment to your happiness. You being happy makes them happier … and you want them happy as they can be.
In still a larger sense, if you love the world, the universe, God, a higher power, or the like, it and He deserve your commitment to your happiness, too. Your commitment to your joy breeds joy, and is your demonstration of your love and gratefulness for life.
For all these reasons, which all really amount to your self - after all, your self includes you but also your kids, your spouse or significant other, parents, extended family, friends, God, and the universe - you deserve your unflinching commitment to being happy.
No, you are not letting anyone down if you're currently not happy. While you and others deserve your commitmentto happiness, everyone has to learn to accept that hardships happen, depression happens, the downsides of life happen, slipping out of happiness happens, and we're all human and won't always be happy.
But if you're currently not happy and you're not making it a priority to change that, then you are doing yourself - and therefore the others you care about - a major disservice. It is about the trying, about the striving, about the commitment to be happy.
Along those same lines, if you are unhealthy you are not letting anyone down … but you do owe it to yourself and those you care about to try to be healthier. You are wanted and needed here, after all.
Of course, just as it is not so simple as merely deciding to be healthier, your commitment to being happy is an important start, but it is action that will get you there.
Fortunately, these actions - which are the intense experiences the FREE newsletter (and instant bonus eBook) are dedicated to providing you ("intense experiences" is another way of saying "in-the-present-tense experiences," or "now experiences") - are enjoyable. And so this commitment to being happy, arguably THE key commitment of your life, is also the most enjoyable. Life is good.
However, there are a two all-too-common barriers to happiness you need to be aware of in order to bypass them, and they are both you.
The First Barrier: "I Am WAY Too Busy To Do What Makes Me Happy!"
Imagine you are a sprinter in the Olympics. You stand at the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off to start the race … in your fluffy house slippers.
"Why are you wearing slippers?" the sprinter next to you whispers.
"Because I just didn't have enough time today to put on my running shoes," you respond.
It sounds ridiculous - your competition would surely think you're joking or insane - and yet this is precisely the reasoning many people are addicted to using when pushing off or completely denying themselves the things that make them happy.
When you are stressed out, sad, angry, or otherwise emotionally unsettled, do you embrace the experiences that provide you strength to effectively overcome the challenging emotions? Or do you abandon them?
Are you the type that thinks, "First I will work my issues out, and THEN I will do things I enjoy, things that fulfill me"? Do you insist on struggling first and then, only if you can squeeze it in somewhere, doing something you enjoy?
If so, it is time to reprioritize your commitments.
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(Joyful Bear sculpture by Taqialuq Nuna.)
In the same way a sprinter's shoes are essential to helping her run a good race, your happiness is essential to helping you most effectively work through the challenges life presents you.
Happiness is not a reward. As much as food, water and sleep, happiness is the fuel itself. You need to make enjoying your life top priority if you wish to overcome life's challenges, if you wish to achieve your goals, and if you wish to achieve true success in all facets of your life.
If you find yourself not doing things that you personally enjoy every single day of your life ... if you find yourself stuck in the mindset that you must struggle and merely survive before you can reward yourself with something you enjoy ... you are sabotaging your health, relationships, career success, and your overall happiness. It is time to reevaluate, reprioritize and make a real commitment to being happy.
The Second Barrier: "Being Happy Makes Me Feel Guilty Anyway So the Heck With It"
For a number of reasons I won't delve into here - media, religion, upbringing and/or other factors depending on who you are - most people live with the script that the things they enjoy and desire are bad.
Indeed, there is a widespread belief that pursuing your happiness and being happy means you are being selfish.
Happiness therefore makes people feel guilty. And people therefore shun what will make them happy.
Perverse when you think about it, isn't it?
But think about yourself: when you consider taking the time to do something you enjoy - even if in theory you know it is as important to your being as food and water -- does guilt surface inside you? Do you think you should be doing something "productive" instead of something you will enjoy? Getting bills done instead of getting a massage, for example? And if you actually DO the thing you enjoy, does even greater guilt surface inside you?
Perverse indeed. But mighty widespread.
What you really need to remember to help you reprioritize is to trust your "pure self," not your "conditioned self" (a.k.a. ego.) The pure self is also known as the "creative self," "real self," and "free self" in different schools of psychology, but they all essentially mean the higher YOU who has not been manipulated and conditioned by the various social forces who don't necessarily have your personal best interests in mind.
In short, go to your intuition and trust it.
What does your intuition tell you about happiness right now, for starters? Does it tell you that, yes-sir-ee, you should avoid pursuing the things that make you happy because it will offend others, make them see you as "high and mighty," a slacker, and all the rest?
Or does your intuition tell you that, indeed, your commitment to being happy is as essential to you as food, water and sleep (if not more so)?
What have you done today to enjoy your day?
What have you done to fulfill you?
What will you do in this New Year to enjoy and fulfill yourself?
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