We are not guaranteed happiness in our lives. As much as we seek that which makes us happy, there is no promise that we will ever get what we want.
Though this might sound like a pessimistic way to look at the world, I believe that accepting this fact of life is actually the key to finding happiness. Until a few years ago, I evaluated my level of happiness based on the amount of things I owned, the number of likes on my Facebook posts, and the way I looked in the mirror. The funny thing is, this mindset was causing me to be unhappy. Like so many of us, I was stuck in a cycle of wanting something, not getting it, and blaming this for my lack of fulfillment in life. Mindfulness changed everything for me.
First steps of my journey
Though I had no idea at the time, my mindfulness journey began years ago when I came across a book called The Little Book of Happiness. As I flipped through the teeny tiny pages, there was a distinct message throughout the entire book encouraging me to ‘live in the present moment’. At the time, I was a clueless teenager who knew nothing about the concept of the present moment. Little did I know that this book would teach me the most important lesson in life. Fast forward to today where I’ve thought long and hard about this concept of living in the now.
Realizing that happiness isn’t a permanent state
As I navigated through the rough and messy stages of my early twenties, I become more aware that there were moments when I was happy and moments when I wasn’t. I began to realize that happiness was not and would never be a permanent state of existence. This was a powerful mindset shift for me.
I thought to myself that maybe the best way to be happy was to stop thinking I needed to be happy all the time.
No matter what state I was in, happy or not, I knew I had the current moment to hold me. It was up to me whether I noticed it or not. I started making an effort to appreciate the beauty in the little moments of life: birds chirping in the morning, a cup of tea before bed, a friend telling me about their day.
Creating happiness through awareness of the present moment
I realized that it was possible to feel content with my day-to-day life when I wasn’t wishing things were different. I created my own happiness when I let go of the expectations that convinced me I needed to be happy all the time. How did I do this? By living with awareness, attunement, and acceptance of the current moment. By practicing mindfulness and inviting it into my life daily. Though mindfulness and happiness are not synonymous, mindfulness helped me become more aware of the moments when I experienced happiness.
Accepting what is and letting go of what isn’t
To me, mindfulness means I am where I am. My mind is not wishing I was somewhere else. Mindfulness means accepting what is, and letting go of what isn’t. It’s reminding myself over and over that I am guaranteed nothing in life except the moment I am currently living. Since inviting more mindfulness into my life, I’ve found that I am less likely to let small inconveniences ruin my day. I find more enjoyment in my everyday life because I am not letting the small, special moments go unnoticed.
Mindfulness as an ongoing practice
Of course, it it isn’t always easy to stay present and mindful. I’ve found that I need to make an effort to do something every day that encourages me to be mindful. Whether it’s meditation when I wake up, diffusing essential oils at my desk, or practicing yoga, I make a commitment to practice mindfulness daily. I remind myself that life is made up of moments, small and big, and my goal is to cultivate awareness around as many of these moments as I possibly can. We are all looking for ways to bring more enjoyment, happiness, and fulfillment into our lives. Mindfulness is the tool that helped me, and perhaps it’s what can help you too. The best part is that anyone can practice mindfulness. Anywhere, anytime, mindfulness is always there when you need it.
I would love to know about your mindfulness journey and what mindfulness means to you. Share your story in the comments section!