There used to be a time that I would think happiness was an unattainable goal and it was something only ‘normal’ people found. ‘Normal’ people didn’t suffer daily with the anxiety and fear battle. I genuinely believed these lucky people all got the trusted manual of life and I must have just missed the day they were giving it out. My journey over the last decade has shown me this is categorically not true and every single person has their own set of struggles and even feels how I do too sometimes. It was a huge moment when I realised that every emotion I have been so graciously given to experience, is my responsibility to master and control.
Happiness, in my definition, is peace. Peace of mind, spirit and soul. It’s having a clear mind and a calm spirit. When we can learn to identify and manage how we feel and take back responsibility for ourselves, we engage in a new way of living. Recently, I have felt the shift from fear to peace as I continued to do the much needed work on myself. The level of mental anguish I was in on a daily basis was unbearable and I learned (after many failed attempts) that no person, place or thing could do anything to fill the hole in my soul. The only way around this was to tackle it head-on and actually stand up to the past. I had to decide that I was going to make changes to come to a place of neutrality to move on. It Is important to realise that moving on isn’t learning to ‘get over it’ because in doing so, is actually avoiding the problem. Moving on means to accept, forgive and trust.
Accepting what has happened
This was the hardest concept for me to get my head around. I used to be filled with so much resistance to the idea that if I accepted the actions of others who had harmed me, I was letting them off with a get out of jail free card. I held onto this belief for longer than was necessary and in return, I created a cycle of pain for myself. I relived the memories of pain they inflicted and held onto them like a badge of honour. “How dare they!” I would say to myself, with it backed with feelings of hatred, anger and sadness. The daily practice of this mindset kept me stuck. It kept me in trauma long after the actual event happened. It reinforced my bitterness and subsequently seeped into other areas of my life. This meant that I was punishing not only myself but also people, places and things that were not even involved in the first place. I stopped being able to identify who was worth my negative feelings and just handed them out to everyone instead.
Acceptance is a process that takes time, practice and courage. As we go through accepting what has happened, we must feel the feelings that arise and welcome them, honour them and let them go. It sounds counterproductive to reinforce the pain, but that isn’t what acceptance is. When we acknowledge the feelings, we allow them to be, we stop fighting, we stop yearning for answers and we sit. We sit with them and watch, and hopefully, we let them do what they are there to do – show us the truth about the situation and start the healing process.
Acceptance comes in many forms, and depending on the severity, it can be done alone or with the support of friends, family, or a therapist. I highly recommend when you start this process, to do this with support. You are not expected to go through these things alone.
Forgiveness was another thing I wasn’t willing to give away so freely but again, by not forgiving, I only harmed myself. Many wise people often told me, by holding onto resentments, it was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The harm is only done to me because I chose to hold onto the pain of the past.
Forgiveness is another process that takes time, but with anything, some people are easier to forgive than others. This is a process of self preservation, it is meant to set you free, not them. By doing this, it doesn’t mean that all is well and that you have to recreate a relationship with that person, place or thing again, this is a mental and internal job, for yourself to clear space. As I have worked on forgiving others, I have also had to work on forgiving myself. I am my own worst critic and I will hold myself accountable for things way harsher than necessary. Forgiveness is another stepping stone to happiness and when we can learn the practice of forgiving, we give ourselves freedom of self.
Take a moment and think back to tricky situations that gave you anxiety or feelings of stress. That could look like issues with money, at work or within your relationships. Have you ever noticed that irrespective of the amount you worried or stressed out, everything, in hindsight, actually worked out for you? It all fell into place and even though in that moment it felt hard and unbearable, eventually things aligned and sometimes to be better than you had ever imagined.
This is the awareness you need to kick start yourself into the process of trust. Trusting yourself, others and the universe. This coincides with your feelings and your inner power. The internal guidance system that you have within you that is there to protect you – your higher self. When you can get to a place of trust and release the control, this is where your world opens up.
The practice here is expecting the great outcomes to materialise naturally. Think of online shopping; when you place an order you effectively trust that this electronic device attached to the internet will eventually deliver a package to your door. This is the space you need to get to within your life.
Start small and start trusting that today, you intend to have a nice day and everything will work out in your favour. Place that imaginary order within yourself and trust that you will receive more feelings of good than bad. See how this feels at the end of your day and if it made even the slightest difference, practice this again tomorrow and see how learning to trust yourself and your feelings make a huge difference in your experience of life.
About the Author
Founder and CEO of Meet Your Mind Online. Jessica has spent the last 8 years working on self development to help coach and assist others in their journey of self discovery and healing. Her objective is to generate a deeper awareness around mental health for individuals and their communities alike, so each person can navigate, understand and pursue the route to inner peace and in return create a life they love.