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I was profusely in tears, had shut myself in the bathroom. Though I was just 6-7 years old, I still remember this incident so vividly. My dad was knocking the door and requesting me to come out. After a couple of minutes, I opened the door and hugged him tight.

A few minutes ago, I was fighting with mom to get me a new doll, and with all her honesty, she explained why we couldn’t buy it. Dad’s business was in pits, we barely had food to eat, there were so many people we had borrowed money from, buying a doll was a distant dream. I was shocked to hear this brutal truth, and went running to the bathroom to cry it out.

Sobbing and feeling terrible within, I said sorry that I had troubled him so much for buying me things. I told him that I didn’t know that we were going through so much otherwise I would have never asked.

He smiled and asked me to look into his eyes, I tried hard to do that and when I did, he said“Have you ever seen me crying or breaking down? Have you ever seen me sad? Yes we are going through a tough phase, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy or be happy! God is with us and this phase will pass by”

I recollected, how he was always cheerful and greeted guests with all his energy and enthusiasm, how he played with us for hours after coming back from work, how he heard out my school stories giving all the reactions I needed. Our little games on the bed, stories, singing bhajans, eating together, reciting poems and mantras just before going to sleep!

How on the earth I would ever know our situation? How would anyone know? I never saw him hopeless till date, he is always filled with gratitude and an endless zest to live life!

Now when I look back, I feel blessed to get those attributes in genes. And while growing up I learnt some more powerful concepts and facts about “Happiness” that further changed my whole life and perspectives. I will also attempt to give some examples and techniques to internalise these concepts if you really want to.

3 most important facts about “HAPPINESS”

1. Happiness is a state of mind, its not correlated with circumstances

This was my first lesson of life. No matter what we are going through, happiness is a choice.

Even when we weren’t doing well, we barely had food to eat, or money for our school fee, but still, we enjoyed and made some amazing childhood memories.

Do this small little experiment with yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror, smile or laugh so that you are able to see your teeth, and try to feel sad! – its difficult! isn’t it 🙂

Now, even when we know about it, and we talk about it, I acknowledge that it is still difficult to be in a problem circumstance, but still feel normal or happy. Few tricks that help me are –

a) Some empowering beliefs that I repeat to myself as many times as possible : :

  • For me, whatever happens, happens for good and happens for a reason that we don’t know and might never know
  • There’s always an alternate way to turn around the situation
  •  It’s only during the difficult circumstances, we show our true character & personality to ourselves and others who look upto us
  • Confusion is good for sometime. It means we are moving towards making a big change in life.
  • Circumstances are just a phase that passes by. Just ask yourself if you can do something about it. If yes, then do it and don’t worry, if no, then anyway don’t waste your time worrying! It’s as simple as that.

b) It’s “OK” to be sad at times or feel disappointed with the circumstances, the trick is how soon we get out of that sadness and bounce back with double power and energy.

c) Affirmations about “What we really want in a situation?” helps me stay positive and hopeful, instead of cribbing about why it’s not there, or not happening.

2. Everyone’s definition of “Happiness” can be different, what’s yours?

My whole life till few years ago, was about fighting it out, get to the top in career, compete and prove myself to others. I thought I’ll be happy after that. I thought, my “happiness” will be when I’ll be able to show off to the world that “I’ve done it”… I did that!… I have that dream house, dream car, more money!

Now, that I really did it, got a dream job, dream salary, I felt very shallow. Throughout life I’ve been chasing these dreams by working really hard, I remember all the stress, conflicts, learnings, reflections, feedback, hurt and pain… but now when I reached life’s key milestone – I felt shallow. I realised that it was NOT my true happiness. I’ve been living in this stress for almost entire life.

With a little more reflection, I realised, my real happiness was in making a difference in other people’s lives. Whenever someone came back to me saying that they felt good and their lives changed after talking to me – that’s when I felt “Happy” in the real sense. Be it my parents, my friends, my family, relatives or neighbours.

While it is important to have my career for my own self esteem, credibility and material dreams, I can still choose to be happy throughout the journey, if I clearly know “What makes me happy?”. “Positive Lights” it is for me… http://www.positivelights.in. Not for anything else, but only for making a difference and be really happy!

What is it for you? What’s your passion that makes you happy?… I realised mid-life crisis for most, is nothing but this! A redefining phase, a phase when one is confused and figuring out “What real happiness means to him/her?” – And, you bet! It’s not an easy task for everyone to identify passion. Blessed are those who are able to identify “What makes them happy”, and super blessed are those who are able to change course of life and align more to their happiness.

Here’s an attempt you can make to identify your passion. Answer the following questions –

  1. If time and money was not a constraint, what would you have “done”?
  2. To the answer of point 1 : : What is important about doing that?
  3. How much and what does “doing that” mean to you?
  4. What will happen if you do that?
  5. How will you feel when you do that?
  6. Who do  you want to see with you, when you are doing that?
  7. What are the steps that you can take today, to do that?

I hope you get to find your passion through these questions! 🙂

NOTE : What is important to understand here is that, in your ecosystem, every person (your wife, husband, daughter, friends, parents etc.) might have different answers to Question no. 1. above. You need to understand, respect and support them for their passion, if they don’t know, help them identify their passion. It might not be same as yours, but the feeling of happiness attached to it, is the same. This will enable others to support you for your passion as well.

3. We create our own “Happiness” variables – Its the game of our own mind!

This last fact, is perhaps the final and the most important key to happiness.

Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously we tag our happiness state with external situations or people.

The fact is : The more we tag our happiness to the outside world, the more dependant we become, the more susceptible to hurt we are. When we are in a blame frame, we make ourself feel pity on us. It’s all a game that our mind plays with us. Our mind makes us choose these variables.

Few examples : a) Often when I meet Indian newly married couples, specially the wives have this issue. My husband cares more for his parents, or goes out with his friends and forgets me, or doesn’t change his lifestyle etc. etc., b) He/She didn’t call me, c) They should have paid respect to us, d) They didn’t show any courtesy like we did, e) The temperature here is so bad, f) I can’t stand their lifestyle etc. etc.

The question is – Can we programme our mind to choose different variables for our happiness?

Here are few things that I tried and worked for me :

  1. Figuring out my passion and spending more time on it made me forget half of my earlier petty issues
  2. Contracting in relationships really helped set expectations
  3. I practiced dissociation with the emotions attached to a situation that couldn’t be changed
  4. Limiting the no. of people who impact our happiness quotient (Inner circle). Concentrating on very few close relationships and giving more time and energy to those few relationships helped me get more meaning and support.
  5. Last but not the least – “My Gratitude list” keeps me happy and grounded always!

 Hope this write up helps you in some way. Please leave a “comment or like” on this blog for me to know your feedback :).

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