Some Stepping Stones Along The Way

Something peculiar has been flowing through our household lately.

I’ve noticed it, and my biggest boy has, too. His exact words to describe it are:
“I keep getting little bursts of happy…
which is the best way I can describe it too. ๐Ÿ™‚ No matter where I am or what I’m doing, however tedious or mechanical, there is a strong feeling of wellbeing coursing steadily through each day.

Very little seems to faze us at the moment: the ups are sustained and without the hysterical edge they can sometimes have, and the downs are incredibly short-lived and flash-in-the-pan.

So noticeable has it been, that it has got me to thinking about the hows and whys of this new-born equilibrium, which led me to the following short list of factors that I believe have contributed to the peaceful, easy, happy phase of life we now find ourselves in. They have all been conscious decisions or efforts and have been in practice for varying lengths of time, some I have mentioned before and some are relatively new, but the thing they have in common is that they are, each one of them, vital to the maintenance of this deep and unshakeable stability.

1. Focus on what you do have and can do, rather than on what you don’t have or can’t do. Focusing on the negative can only attract the negative into your life. And if you believe that is true, then it stands to reason that you must also allow the possibility that focusing on the positive will attract the positive into your life, too. It can’t hurt to try, can it? And I canย  certainly vouch for it!

2. Stop caring what other people think of you. It really is their problem. Repeat this mantra: “What you think about me is none of *my* business!” but, more importantly, believe it. If you follow no. 3 below, then you have no reason to doubt yourself. And if you have no reason to doubt yourself, then what can it possibly matter what somebody else thinks of you? How can someone else make you feel differently about yourself? It is so simple: don’t let them. Each thought, each belief, is a choice. You can choose to let someone else’s words, thoughts or beliefs about you upset or wound you, or you can choose to leave their words, thoughts, and beliefs to them and take no part in them yourself. Nor is there any point trying to convince them: people will believe what they want to believe, and they will only change their thoughts when they want to change their thoughts. So leave them to it.

3. Behave with integrity at all times: this means total, no-holds-barred, honesty with yourself. Do not give yourself any flim-flam or soft-soap about your motives, let alone anyone else. Do not lie (however ‘small’ that lie is) just because it is more convenient or paints you in a more flattering light. Radical honesty – in every circumstance of your life. And if you find, upon inspection and introspection, that your motives were less than healthy / useful / honest, don’t beat yourself up, but learn the lesson, fix the problem and move on with integrity.

4. Be mindful. As much as you possibly can. Be in the moment. Don’t be in the middle of one thing whilst dwelling on something in the past or worrying about what is to come. Now is all you have, so do your living now!

5. Take responsibility. Nobody is responsible for your life, or your actions, but you. No more blame, scapegoating, “But if she hadn’t…” You choose. And then you take the consequences. And if you have chosen with integrity and mindfulness, the consequences will not upset your world.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It all takes practice. It is enormously difficult to make a big change in a short time. I recently heard this likened to taking a university degree: if you thought “I’m going to get my degree tomorrow”, you’d never do it! We do it a day at a time, a week at a time, a term at a time, until it is done.

So take one step.

Then take another.

And don’t look back. ๐Ÿ™‚

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