I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. ~Brene Brown
I use to think happiness was something that took years to get to–if ever. I thought I had to “achieve” happiness. I had to do something to get to get. I had to work hard for it before I could reap the rewards of happiness. There had to be some kind of formula.
But the harder I worked for happiness that harder it seemed that everything fell apart again and again. I felt like I was being swallowed into an ocean of unhappiness. This wasn’t how it was “suppose” to work. I thought I was suppose to be achieving my dreams that would lead me to happiness. I couldn’t slow down because my dreams were waiting for me and so was happiness.
I began to realize that all of this chasing after happiness was just an illusion and it doesn’t stay forever. It comes and goes. You can’t work hard for happiness, you first have to slow down and just breathe because if you’re running in a million different directions how will you ever know if you’ve even achieved a state of happiness? Will that just fly by you too?
Were moments of happiness just passing by me? As I sat with myself I realized something powerful that changed everything.
I asked myself, what was I grateful for? I was so focused on achieving, or what was going to happen next, that I completely forgot about the present. Gratitude is a way we can bring ourselves back to the present.
So I wrote a list. A long list. It was longer than I expected and I continue to add onto that list every day. It kept me grounded and it kept me connected to really living my life.
Gratitude is what brought me to happiness. Happiness may not stay forever, nor does any emotion, but if I ever need to bring myself back to “the now” I think of something, someone or some place I am grateful for.
Gratitude is my anchor that leads me to happiness naturally and in its purest form.
We get lost in our suffering, in our grief, and the stories we tell ourself about our pain. While we need to feel our pain, our scars–let our tears run freely run down our face–we also need to let go of clinging to the stories we create of what our life should look like.
You are not the stories you tell yourself. You my darling are so much more. Let gratitude bring you back to this moment, to knowing that our life is not meant to be liner but is about growing in new and different directions.
Gratitude is the real form of happiness if we time for it. Just as we take a shower, we also need to shower ourselves energetically with the words and feelings of gratitude.
I have found you can never be too grateful. When I feel overwhelming feelings of sadness, of anger, of “this isn’t fair” I take a moment to breathe. There must be a point to all of this and maybe it’s to remember what is sweet about life. If we allow our pain to do so it is there to remind of us what it means to be human.
That this life is impermanent and at any moment everything can change so instead of remaining bitter towards the past, that no longer exist how can we find rest and peace in this moment? Even if it’s hard, I know it’s hard, can you find it in your heart to find 1 thing we are grateful for?
Life may not hand us the cards we asked for, but we can change how we react to our situation. Reacting with more pain gets you no where, only more suffering and separateness. Reacting with the softness of gratitude brings you closer to experiencing wholeness.
We are all chasing after happiness and we get lost in remembering that happiness isn’t achieved through a checklist. Some people are not more deserving than others. Happiness is our natural birth right and way of naturally being–but it comes with being grateful first. Happiness always follows gratitude.
Ask yourself, are you present with yourself? Are you present with your loved one’s? Take a moment to reground yourself. To come back to living and breathe with awareness in your body. Presence is our key to living this life fully and deeply. When I am present with myself I can always find the time to be gratitude rather than get caught up in the thoughts of my mind that I’m not enough, or I must do something to be worthy of happiness.
Stop the chase after happiness. Just find the time to be present and be grateful for what you already have. Happiness is in every moment if we allow it the chance to just be. It’s not a race, it’s a journey of being present for the moments of life and coming back to the simplicity of gratitude.