“There’s a lot I’m learning in life, but one thing I am absolutely positive of is that a big key to unlocking true happiness is to follow your bliss….”
If you ask people what they love doing, I mean really, truly, light-their-souls-on-fire-love doing, many can’t give an answer. Those who can will usually follow up by saying with a heavy mix of regret or resolution, “But I don’t really have time to do it.” I understand that. Life comes with a wide array of responsibilities and events that eat up our time and devour our energy, and it just doesn’t always seem possible to find the secret formula for doing what we love in life. There’s a lot I’m learning in life, but one thing I am absolutely positive of is that a big key to unlocking true happiness is to follow your bliss.
It sounds like a cliche (it is), it seems like a hippie-dippie yoga concept (for sure), but that doesn’t take away from the power of this simple concept. If you follow your bliss, if you make time for the things that light you up from the inside-out, you will reap immeasurable amounts of happiness. Countless studies have shown that people who take time to do what brings them joy and satisfaction are able to have much more satisfying and healthy relationships, because they’re able to pour so much more into those around them, since their own emotional tank is much more full.
“Think of your happiness like a garden. You seriously have to tend it. You have to rip out the weeds of discontent and unhappiness. You have to chase away creatures that want to eat away your happiness (like an unhealthy relative or friend). You must water and care for your happiness. But most importantly, you have to spend time gardening.”
Still, people often will say, “Sounds good. But seriously, how am I even supposed to do that?” Great question. On the simplest level, the obvious answer is, go out and do what makes you happy. But let’s make it a little more practical,
1. Determine what makes you happy. Make a list.
On that list, cross off the things that are just pleasurable (like binging on Netflix, which ahem…I never do. Nope, never!)
Circle the things that give you a sense of longing. You’re reaction should be: I reeeeeally wish I could do this, but…”
Ignore that “…but I can’t because…” part of the sentence. I mean, IGNORE IT! What is your flight of fancy wish? To learn a new language? To go take culinary classes? Run a marathon? Usually our bliss requires a great deal of investment of the soul. That’s what makes it so rewarding.
2. Once you determine your bliss, make a here’s how to accomplish this list:
Find a continuing education course or a college class. Enroll in an online course, or go study abroad. Quit your job. You hate it anyways, you know you do. If money is the issue (as it always is, oh curses budget that never stretches as far as we’d like it to!), figure out what you can move around. If you’re single, get a roommate (ugh! Right? But worth it to do what you love), downsize, make a budget. If you’re married, see where you can move money around. I make meal plans and cut back on buying clothes and things like that. I move around the money I have to accomplish what I really want. Sometimes I pick up extra hours. Other times, I ask for a present to go towards my goal of achieving my bliss.
3. Just Do It. Nike style, only better.
Think of your happiness like a garden. You seriously have to tend it. You have to rip out the weeds of discontent and unhappiness. You have to chase away creatures that want to eat away your happiness (like an unhealthy relative or friend). You must water and care for your happiness. But most importantly, you have to spend time gardening. You have to DO the things that make you happy. You have to follow your bliss. That’s a verb. It’s an action. It’s not just a dreamy idea, although I loooooove me a bunch of dreamy ideas.
Here’s the big thing to remember, and I’ll probably hate myself a little for typing this: YOLO. That’s right, YOLO. I hate that phrase, I really, really do. But the truth is, yes, you only live once. The people in our lives deserve to be encouraged by our happiness. They deserve our best. We deserve spending time doing what we really love. We’re not machines, and we aren’t designed for pure, mind-numbing drudgery. Go, find what you love. And do it.