“It’s pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an’ wealth have both failed.”
I received a lovely email the other morning from one of my clients who had suddenly realised that they already had everything they needed to be happy.
Now I don’t know what you have just made up in your head when you read that. Did you read it and think everyone has what they need to be happy? Maybe you read it with disbelief or with a wishful, slightly envious, feeling. Perhaps you imagined a particular outcome that this client must have reached, for example become a highly successful business person or is in the “perfect” relationship.
I’m not going to tell you the details of this specific individual but just note what you imagined as I will be coming back to that in a moment.
It wasn’t particularly surprising to receive that email as I had heard this client start to have the beginnings of that realisation during our session the previous day. I also wasn’t surprised because I already believed they had everything they needed to be happy.
The thing that I have noticed with clients when they come to the realisation that they have everything they need to be happy now is it’s not that they find that they are living a more enjoyable life. They normally are, but that’s not the trigger for them realising they have everything they need to be happy now.
They’ve just dropped the reason, or story, they were telling themselves that they would be happy when they have achieved x, y or z. They’ve realised that it’s not the external achievement that brings them happiness. Previously, if asked then they would be able to give me an apparent logical and well thought out reason why it was important that they couldn’t be really happy before they reached that level of success. Often they had some fear about what will happen if they allowed themselves to be happy before – normally using it as some form of protection or a motivating factor.
What they realise is that happiness is a feeling; a feeling that comes from within you, not from outside. They can still achieve the success that they want without trying to motivate themselves with unhappy feelings.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the impact a thought can have . Sometimes we turn a series of thoughts into an elaborate story and sometimes we convince ourselves that the story is true.
This week I invite you to play with whatever story you currently have about being happy.
What would have to happen for you to have everything you need to be happy?
At the start of this week’s message I asked you to make a note of what you thought when you read about my client who emailed. If you imagined a particular scenario and success that this client must have achieved then this may be a good place to start.
Each person will have imagined a slightly different version. So for ease of clarity I’ll refer to that image and series of thoughts as your story.
Who would you be without that story?
When you answer that question you may find that there is another layer to the story.
For example, perhaps your initial thought was that you would have everything you need to be happy when you have a set amount in your bank account. You may then answer the question, “who would you be without that story?” as I’d be unmotivated to do any work.
Just for the purposes of playing with this exercise today, treat that as an extra layer to your story and ask yourself again, who would you be without that story?
Keep going until you find that you get the same answer.
If your story wasn’t true, what would you do differently?
Have a happy week