We are in the age of striving and achieving, of reaching for your goals and setting new ones before you’ve even taken a breath to enjoy what you just accomplished. We are in the time of 18 hour work days. And all for what? A bigger house? A better title? More fashionable clothes? The need to be seen? It’s all become silly if you ask me. It is true that happiness comes from within, there is no other place true joy and lasting contentment can blossom from. Outside stuff will only bring you temporary fulfillment.
This topic reminds me of a time when I was traveling in India. I was leading a group of 17 people through 5 cities. If you’ve ever traveled to India, you know that’s not the easiest thing to do. We were in Varanasi and it’s kind of messy. There is loads of exhaust, and dust, and cars honking, and rickshaws bumping into one another. It can feel like total chaos if you’re coming from our so-called organized country of the US. But I was in the middle of a very busy intersection keeping my eyes on my group as they got some cash out of the ATM machines, then I saw a little woman slightly hunched over about to do some kind of spiritual ceremony.
She was about to do a Puja (a ceremony to invoke the divine) to Ganesh. Ganesh is the elephant god who is commonly known as the remover of obstacles, but is also the god of wisdom. She began to ring her bell, bow her head, and circle around the small statue of Ganesh which sat on a small shelf on a public light post. There was noise and chaos all around, but this woman was able to find a great sense of peace and elation inside. As she continued to circle round and round her smile got brighter and her sense of joy became contagious.
It was that moment that I realized, wow, if this woman can find what seemed like an incredible sense of joy from inside herself, with all the cacophony of sounds, dirt, and madness around her, there is no place that happiness can come except from within. This moment made me realize that when I get back home and ever catch myself complaining I want to remind myself that this woman and many of the people in Varanasi and around the world have far less than we have. If they can find happiness, then we surely can. I believe one of the great keys to accessing this state of joy is through self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance is defined as the ability to accept all of ones own attributes, both positive and negative. Just like this woman was able to look beyond the chaos and find peace, she is a great example for the rest of us.
3 tips to increase your self-acceptance in find happiness and fulfillment in your life.
Affirm that things are the way they should be. The truth is that if things were supposed to be different they would be different. It makes no sense to complain about what’s going on, but more sense to move into action and change it. We must accept reality before we can change it.
Move into action. This is such an important part of moving the needle in your life. If you get too caught up in your head about what’s going on you will suffer. Move your body physically and take action so you can move toward what you want.
Meditation. We can spend so much time searching for the right answer because there are so many “experts” out there that wan to tell us and sell us on what we should do. The simple fact is that no one knows you better than yourself. If you continue to develop your relationship with your own mind, you will find a sense of inner peace and joy.
Ultimately, life is too short to complain, it’s too short to hold grudges, and frankly, in my opinion, it’s too short to be anything but accepting, loving and peaceful. This is doesn’t mean there won’t be times of strife and anger, but they are fleeting. Our natural state of being can be joy and fulfillment. If you’re having trouble, I’m always here to help. @teddymcdonald
Photo Credit: flickr.com/VanilaBalaji