By: Kristi Lee Schatz, M.A.
Published in EU Jacksonville Magazine
The Art of Living Well Column
May 4, 2014
Let’s face it, happy people are awesome. Not the superficial happiness that comes from showering yourself with new stuff, pretending to be perfect in order to receive praise, or making a ton of money at a soul-sucking job. Rather, it’s the deep-seated happiness that develops through courageous self-observation leading to inner strength and trust that no matter what unfolds in life, your sense of self can weather any storm.
To know oneself in a society that does not value authentic and vulnerable expression poses many challenges for our genuine sense of happiness. Instead of taking time for self-reflection, we seek happiness from outside ourselves only to be disappointed by what the world cannot provide. To embrace our imperfections, accept ourselves as we are, and strive to become a better person each day is a path not suited for wimps.
One must not dismiss the courage it takes to closely examine your life, knowing that the odds of having to face your inner demons are high. But until you turn your attention inward, you shall remain at the mercy of your unprocessed “stuff” which unconsciously directs your daily mental, emotional, and behavioral responses.
The old paradigm of mocking personal growth work is quickly fading from sight as more people are experiencing profound shifts toward true happiness. When we awake from the illusion that we are powerless and realize that every moment offers an opportunity to observe ourselves and adjust our responses, we begin to understand just how disconnected we have been. This awakening opens the door for us to experience profound self-love, joy, and inner peace, as well as empowers us with the ability to surrender to what we cannot control.
So, ask yourself, “how happy am I, truly?” Are you content with life, overwhelmed with joy or stress, following your bliss, or wishing circumstances would change in your favor? Is your level of happiness unwavering or easily affected by the actions of others?
If your answer is less than ideal, please do not fret, my fellow Jacksonvillian. The noble path toward rediscovering yourself may be frightening at first, but it will also be invigorating, enlightening, and can move you closer to your true self and lasting happiness. Whether you join a local meditation class, attend an inspiring conference, or sample the top personal development books on the market, the goal is simply to slow down, quiet your mind, and listen for your inner “ah-ha’s” that will empower you on the road ahead. Be bold, be strong, and just be you.