Day 2: Seeing the positive things in life
Thank you for taking the happiness course. Today we are going to be aware of all the good things in our lives. After this lesson you will be abundantly clear to all the good things and people you already have in your life.
Remember all the brilliant things you have done for yourself and your families? All acts of kindness you perform to people you know and people you don't know? Every time when we perform an altruistic act, our souls become open to the gifts around us.
I've watched countless people transform from negative, bitter, perpetual haters to pleasant and genuine individuals by having more compassion. Every day I also see otherwise "good" people turn into angry, bitter and unappealing individuals as they lose compassion and appreciation for life. It usually begins when an individual enters the workplace and witnesses all the nasty office politics, bullying behavior and events that they think are unfair. If we don't interpret conflicts, group behavior and rejections carefully and take everything personally, the feeling of worthlessness will internalize. That's when we begin to lose compassion and turn into the same people we don't like. We become mean spirited and cold, little do we know that what we are doing is actually a form of self punishment, we punish ourselves for crimes that we don't even commit.
For some of us, going to work is like prison. For others, it's like living in a sitcom. I suggest that it's a little bit of both. There are good and bad in every job and I cannot think of one job that is perfect in all dimensions. Unless you're stuck in an unusually bad situation like working for a sweatshop, there are bound to be something good and positive. They may be:
- Good looking and flirtatious coworkers
- A high salary
- Healthy amount of challenges that make us feel worthy
- A fantastic location or building
- Easy going colleagues and bosses
In the short term, you may have to stay at where you are. However you don't have to stay stuck forever, I encourage you to look for a better job when the time is right. Get a degree. Save up and move to another city. Upgrade your skills.
To be aware of all the good things and great people around us we have to be mindful. Mindfulness is the concentrated awareness of our thoughts and actions. Whatever you're doing, try to be present to that moment. Whether you're enjoying a cup of almond tea, walking to work, or doing a sales presentation, be totally present and give your full attention. Taste the richness of the almonds, see the beautiful color of the clouds as you walk, and smile warmly and attentively to your audience. If you give your full attention to what you are doing, you will see that there are at least as many things that are going right in your life as those that aren't.
I want to share with you my favorite story. A few years ago I was in tropical Phuket, Thailand for a meditation and relaxation trip, to enjoy spa, massages and to visit certain ancient temples. However the trip did not go as planned: my friends were involved in multiple car accidents, our luggage got stolen, the weather was bad, our clothes got destroyed accidentally by the hotel laundry, the best spa on the island was fully booked. It almost ruined my holiday. However, having read a lot about psychology and compassion, looking back at the trip with new eyes I felt lucky that I had the opportunity to see both the modern and the raw beauty of the island, to understand the power of nature, to fully appreciate how much better off we were financially compared to the locals on the island. I came to realize that there are something that no one can take away from us: Our intelligence, our inner beauty, our ability to learn new things, our ability to think and act, and our loving nature. They are all God's gifts to us. Through this experience I learned that next time we would better plan our itinerary, avoid shady tour guides and hotels that have average reputation, I also learned to accept people and things with an open heart and to find the gold in the dark.
When the economy is slow and we can't spend as freely as we would like to, I invite us all to be appreciative to what we already have, being appreciate of who we are and what we already have is a very generous gift we can give ourselves. It is also a gift that we can give ourselves as often as we want.
Exercise: Start a happiness journal and write down the things that make you happy this week. Revisit this journal as often as you want for the next few weeks. You can download a free template from the "free transformational tools" section on the website.