Everyone Looks for Happiness, But What Really Gets You There?
Whenever a microphone is placed in front of someone and the question is asked, “What are you looking for in life?”, I am willing to lay down a lot of chips that the answer is usually… HAPPINESS. When you drill down, money, jobs, and things don’t seem to be the solution. These are cushions, diversions and momentary flashes, but they are not the big score. Looking at the facts, how may of the huge lottery winners in recent history have grabbed that ticket and found happiness right along with it? Often what scrambles along behind that winning is something scary, complicated and temporary. Being happy is what we all want right; so are you happy? Does your happy come in an envelope with numbers attached to it, a bank statement, a shiny vehicle, a corner office? Are you waiting for someone to appear at your front door and deliver Happy to you?
I know what makes me happy now. It is defined by and for ME only. And what a hard and terrible lesson this was, as it turns out. When my son Drew took his own life, he had a handsome bank statement, a shiny vehicle and a corner office. It clearly did not bring Happy with it or Drew would still be on earth making me laugh. Are you struggling with trying to attain happiness in the middle of wealth or sadness or fear? If so, maybe I have some thoughts that will help you on your journey toward the real thing.
In my book, Let Go and Let Love: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, I introduce the first, and probably the most substantial of the tools for healing from loss. Intention. An Intention is a simple statement that captures in words what you would like to have, become, achieve or be, in any given situation or condition that you find yourself. It surrounds a positive desire that you are working on and have not yet worked out. It involves your thoughts, emotional input and mindset, not your muscles. To set your Intention, you have to ask yourself some truly serious questions and then accept the honest answers your heart provides.
If you said, “I would like to have a true life partner that desires the same environment and surroundings that I do, and loves me unconditionally”, you are basically setting a standard for your personal happiness. It doesn’t require glossing it up, making it shiny with stuff or positioning of any kind. With this simple statement, you declare what you want to have, become, achieve or be. Most crucial to Intention is this; you are making a commitment, a contract with yourself to settle for nothing less than what you desire. You put your eyes on the outcome and believe in the pure achievement of it. Believe. Unshakable belief. The Universe hears you and that brings you the Happy.
It is no different when reaching for the heights of Happy in the face of tragic loss. In my life, I had to make small positive Intentions following the loss of Drew. Because perceived guilt was my first and most difficult challenge, I set the Intention of becoming happy by being guilt-free for life, but I began with one day at a time. Often it narrowed to hours at a time, but when I achieved hours, I stretched them into days, weeks, months. Every positive score made me a winner. I only made those choices that lighted my path toward Happy. Positive Intention, Vision, Belief, Achieve, Celebrate. Then repeat.
Here are some simple steps to setting an Intention for yourself:
- Identify an issue that you see as a trigger and want to change for the positive. Let’s use the life-partner issue from earlier. (example: I have not met anyone who loves me unconditionally and shares my life choices. I am stuck.)
- Verbalize your feelings around this issue and state clearly how it relates to you. (example: I run in the same people circles and activities without expanding my associations with people. I never seem to meet anyone new and different.)
- Formulate the response exactly as you would like it to be. (example: I am going to change how I conduct my activities and explore the possibility of meeting new people in my life.)
- Follow through your ideas with actual change. See yourself making the change with conviction and decision-making. (example: I will make appointments and plans surrounding new and different activities and locations that only I enjoy. I will put aside worries and fears involving the unknown. I will follow my intuition.)
- Celebrate your success. Any success, no matter how small. (example: I met 3 new people who enjoyed being with me. We shared common ideas and philosophies. It feels different than anything I have done so far, but I feel good about my progress!)
Intention can get you through the next challenging moment or challenging year. It is your lighted pathway; small steps will always lead to bigger ones. Identifying the triggers that make you UN-happy and setting a positive goal for rising above them will inevitably bring the thing you want the most. Now that’s something you can take to the bank.
Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, CreateSpace Publishing, $12.87, paperback and ebook available September 2015.
CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet