Happiness is Found Where there is Balance

July 29, 2022
July 29, 2022
 “Don’t think that happiness will be possible only when conditions around you are perfect. Happiness lies in your own heart.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s our natural instinct to seek out joy, pleasure, balance, comfort, and contentment. Happiness has so many different qualities to it, and goes by so many different names. When we really get to the root of our motivation to do just about anything, we’ll almost always find some version of the word “happiness,” usually alongside things like “safety” and “love.”

This post won’t be a list of ways to become happy. No one can walk that path but you! But we can always guide one another, share ideas, and do a deep dive into what happiness really is. As a therapeutic coach, that is the work I am blessed to do, and as a therapeutic coaching community, that is the work we all get to do together! It’s truly magical…

Happiness is Balance

Of course, when talking about something as broad as happiness, we could pull information and inspiration from ANY of the facets we are working on together in Own Your LIFE. If I’ve been lucky enough to see you in my group coaching sessions on Wednesdays, you’ve probably heard me talking about these different facets, areas, elements, whatever we want to call them! So far, we are looking at our relationships, our work, our finances, our fun, our spirituality, and our health. These six elements encompass a LOT of our lives, and working with them is a great place to begin. If you order a pizza, it is split into slices so it’s easier to manage. Imagine trying to eat an entire round pizza -- no thank you! Focusing on one slice at a time is a much happier way to engage with life…and the pizza. 

Wanna try a fun, creative exercise to see what parts of your life might be pulling your happiness out of whack? You’ll need a piece of paper and a few colorful writing tools if you want to keep it simple, but if you’d like to use a simple template for this beautiful graphic my team made, that might be fun too. Whatever works for you is perfect. 

Draw a circle (it doesn’t matter if it’s perfect, stop that). Divide it into six slices using three lines. Here is the wheel of your life. On the edge of each spoke of this wheel, outside the circle, write these words we are working with. Relationships, work, etc… all six. If you want to draw a symbol rather than write the word, that’s beautiful. Have fun being creative! It’s your life, your balance, your happiness. 

The next step is fun and even a little challenging, so take as much time as you need to think and to breathe. Pick a category to start with. If it’s fun, you’ll focus on the line that runs from the center of the circle to the edge of the circle, and see it as a spectrum from zero to ten. Zero is the center, ten is the edge. If little tick marks help you, draw them! On this line, you’ll draw a dot that represents how this category of your life is making you feel right now. The further out towards the edge of the circle, the happier and more balanced you are feeling. 

Take your time. Think about it. Get a glass of water. Take your time. 

When you’re ready, move on to the next category, making dots along the lines of your life and seeing how you’re doing. We are not judging. We are playing.

When all six dots are done, grab a different color pen. Connect all the dots with straight lines, and check out, with some joyful curiosity, what shape you have. There is no right or wrong shape, just your shape. Here are a few examples from someone willing to share:

 

 

 

Does one area stick way out, and another just way in? These sharp corners of dis-harmony can really get in the way of our joy.  If we pull one back a little bit, one forward a little bit, we might find a more balanced version of living… and what better way to find happiness than to find balance?

When all these elements are balanced, we have a much greater chance for happiness. And so we do our best. We might pull back on our career time so we can focus a bit more on family relationships, or maybe we realize our financial decisions could benefit from a bit of spiritual reflection. Thus we balance ourselves out, round out the sharp edges of our lives, and find ourselves with more and more happier moments throughout our days. As we make changes, we kick judgment to the curb and allow ourselves to just play a little. To experiment with our lives in a joyful way that allows us to feel happy right now, in this moment. This leads me to my next point… 

Challenges to Happiness

The more empowered we become, the more control we feel we have over our lives and our happiness. But life…tends to do this thing called happen to us. When life happens to us, we often lose control -- sometimes some of it, sometimes all of it. As any of you who have experienced grief and suffering will know, there are moments in all life when everything is going wonderfully; we are walking in peace and balance in all areas, and BOOM! Life happens to us. We all know this life is full of wild twists and turns that can turn our happiness to sadness in the blink of an eye. And now, to deal with the grief, we are overworking. We are meditating for fifteen hours a day. Everything goes out of balance and we only want to eat, drink, and be merry as we chase that temporary high our brains can sometimes mistake for happiness. 

But the quiet space where our mind and body connect knows better.

Grief is happiness lost. It is a reaching for a happiness that once was or that could be, and what a natural, healthy process that is. Happiness is not always going to be present with us, 100% of the time. But you know what can be present with us 100% of the time? We can. Our own acceptance of every part of our being, just as it is. Acceptance is another form of happiness, because it is acceptance that paves the way for contentment and ultimately, inner peace. It starts within our hearts and our minds, but what practical steps can we take to cultivate this inner peace in times of strife? 

This is when our empowered self-care practices become even more essential. If everything in our life feels like it's falling apart, let's create a little nest around us that can, at the very least, make even just one little nugget of our soul feel safe, held, and seen. When life hurts us, we need to be absolutely diligent and unwavering in these disciplined practices, as they will help us redefine happiness. Remember what I said in the beginning? Happiness has so many different qualities to it. When we are hurt or exhausted, maybe our happiness looks like comfort. When we are feeling on top of the world, maybe happiness looks like generosity and even elation. We give what we can in each moment to ourselves, and we can always, always choose to give ourselves our presence.

Sharing Happiness 

I want to say one more thing about happiness before I go off into the world and look for more of it. Like all gifts of this world, happiness is meant to be shared. Like love, happiness multiplies exponentially when we share it and allow it to grow.

If you get the time to check out my Instagram page, you will notice I’ve started a series of posts I call #cupofoptimism. My cups of optimism are little moments I see throughout the day that bring me joy and hope, especially as it relates to giving, sharing, and paying happiness forward. It's buying a stranger a cup of coffee in silence at your favorite cafe. It’s a group of musicians on the beach in Jamaica who continue to play their hearts out even when their strings are worn and weathered, and maybe get them some new strings if you have the means. It’s noticing the little spark of magic that exists in every person we walk by in the market, at the playground, or even when we’re taking the trash out. An earlier practice I had was to look for hearts everywhere, and the more I looked, the more they showed up! Hearts showed up in leaves, rocks, lattes, puddles, spots on a dog, clouds…everywhere! The point is that when I was looking for signs of love and joy, they showed themselves to me. Many people speak of our minds as being on a certain frequency, and it is up to us to turn that dial up and down and figure out where we want to be. 

No matter what life throws at us, we always have the power to twist the dial. To raise our hearts up and soften our souls to the beauty that is surrounding us in every moment! One of the best ways to make this happen is to give. The joy and love always come back around ten-fold.

So here is my invitation to you as you keep cultivating your happiness: give it away. Pass it on. Spread it all around like jelly on toast. And I promise you, your heart will begin to grow wings. You don’t have to run for president of the Happiness Party just yet. You just need to do a little something nice for someone today. It’s so good for everyone. If you’re short on ideas, let me offer you a few: 

  • Teach someone a skill or talent you have
  • Spread good news and uplifting stories
  • Call or visit an older person 
  • Think something kind about every person you walk by for five minutes
  • Pass along a book you really enjoyed 
  • Send a handwritten note to someone 
  • Be forgiving when someone makes a mistake 
  • Pet an animal! If you don’t have one, see if your local animal shelter needs help! If not, just go outside and notice the birds! 

Start today. Own Your HAPPINESS today. It’s the only day we have, and for that, it’s the most beautiful day of all. 

I’m Lisa Pepper-Satkin, and I’m so excited to connect with you. I’m a therapeutic coach, a leadership coach, and a certified Dare-to-Lead Facilitator. If you are seeking more happiness and balance in your life, let’s work on it together. Book a mini therapeutic coaching call with me here, and we can talk about ONE specific issue and solution to hit your goals. 

Can’t wait to see you!

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