Happiness & the 4 pillars

Today, I listened to a fascinating talk on happiness. And I have thought and mused and sought out happiness in this last year.  Happiness is an obsession, for me, for many.  I have learnt you can choose to be happy.  Most of the time.  I have learnt, though, that forced happiness is just false, fake and just doesn’t make you happy at all.

Happiness can also be a state of being;  but to be happy, you have to have something that is driving you, motivating you, making you feel alive!  In times of deep sadness, that is something very hard to do, when all you want to do is just try to stay alive.

In this fascinating Ted Talk, she talked about happiness being present when you had meaning in your life and feeling as though you were contributing to something more than just yourself. She described how meaning came from 4 pillars, not always equal, but present and gave you a reason to live and survive:

  • A feeling of belonging and feeling that you are valued for who you are, not what you do.
  • Having a purpose, which is more about giving, rather than getting, using your strengths to serve rather than take.
  • Have moments of transcendence, when you feel connected to yourself or something bigger; when you get yourself lost in time and space.
  • And have the ability to story tell. Not to others, but the ability to watch the stories you tell yourself and see it from different perspectives;  rather than be the victim in your story, rewrite it so you are the heroine, the victor, the student.  You allow yourself to see and focus on the good.

I found myself nodding along in acquiescence.  This time last year, I desperately wanted to be happy, feel happiness.  But my pillars had been shattered.  I didn’t feel valued for who I was, I had lost all sense of purpose, I could only see one version of a story that was killing me and the only place I lost myself in, was that crippling story.

It takes work to build those pillars.  A conscious choice to rebuild them.  And over the year, I have thought (and written) about each one, painstakingly taking each brick to a column and cementing it in.

And today, I am proud of my pillars of meaning.

I am valued for who I am, not just as a mother, partner, homemaker, health coach….  But for me.  Just me.  I value myself again.  And in doing so, I feel that others do too.

I have a purpose and many reasons to live and survive.  I have these two gorgeous, growing boys, a business that contributes to the wider community using all my strengths and passions, a soulmate whose dreams are intertwined with mine, family and friends all around.

Each day I find that I am lost in a zone; when I write, when I coach, when I am mindful, when I run, walk or play. When I spend an afternoon with a gorgeous friend, walking and talking. I give myself permission to do the things I love and, in those moments, I find myself and joy.

And I have rewritten my story.  The thriller turned love story.  The victim with a bleeding heart to the heroine healing the hearts of others. … (Well! why not, it’s my story!!!).

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