Your New Happy is taking what makes you feel most alive — your gifts — and using them to benefit others and the world around you. It’s this cultivation of authentic, compassionate living that leads to lasting happiness.
One way to start down this path is to lead with the behaviors in your daily life. When we practice these behaviors, we get in touch with that authentic self, we experience what it means to express it outward in service, we learn from the integration and interplay of the two — and, as a result, we experience profound joy and we create a better world for all beings everywhere.
Here are seven behaviors that can transform your life and the world.
Self-acceptance is one of the cornerstones of a good life — and it is something that we need to offer ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us are far more familiar with its’ opposite, of self-denigration. We beat ourselves constantly. We deny our own beauty. We seek out others to compare ourselves to, and bemoan the ways in which we are not like them, and in the process, reject our first, our truth, and our unique, precious selves. We strive to continually upgrade ourselves, our possessions, our job titles, and our dwellings, never accepting ourselves for where we are in this moment in time. But self-acceptance is something that must be nurtured within: it is the willingness to recognize that we are worthy exactly as we are, right now in this moment and in every future moment that is to come.
To practice self-acceptance, try:
Put your hand on your heart and say, “I am worthy just the way I am.”
Refuse, from now on, to ever consciously allow yourself to be cruel to yourself. Every time you notice yourself doing it, firmly reject it and replace it with a more loving thought.
Live Your Principles
Living a New Happy Life means having a solid, strong foundation upon which we each do good in the world. This comes from your principles. Your principles are the answers to questions like: Who are you? What do you stand for? What matters most to you? What does your character and virtue look like, and how are you committed to cultivating them every day?
The answers to these questions stabilize us in the rocky times and motivate us in the good times. They provide us with the moral clarity that we need to take intentional, courageous, and empowered action.
To live your principles, try:
Write down your answers to the above questions, and keep them somewhere handy. Then, ask yourself: How will I respond if I need to stand up for these principles?
Keep promises to yourself. If you say you will do something for yourself, honor it.
Cultivate & Use Your Gifts
You are completely, perfectly, utterly unique. No one on this whole planet, and no one who has ever lived before you, has ever experienced what you have. No one else has had the unique cocktail of life experience, natural talents, passions, interests, curiosities, setbacks, and growth. These are your gifts, and they make you irreplaceable. The more that you discover and use these gifts, the greatest happiness you will experience, and the greater impact you will have upon the world around you.
There’s a very particular sense of disquiet that comes from not being who we know we truly are. To overcome this, we can start to use our gifts — taking small, but very courageous steps forward in expressing, sharing, and developing them.
To cultivate and use your gifts, try:
Imagine what you would do if there was no need for you to make money but you had to do something with your days.
Ask yourself, “What challenges have I navigated that I would like to help other people to get through?”
One of the most profound ways to help others is to use your gifts in a venue like your work, hobbies, or other pursuits. In doing so, we can experience profound fulfillment.
But, in addition, it is also always possible to help others simply through kindness and goodness. A simple act of kindness can change someone’s world forever. Kindness is, in fact, the underpinning of our society. We are all here because of the efforts of other people. Ironically, the more that you seek to continually invest back into the commons, the more you personally benefit in the happiness you receive in return.
To help others, try:
Sending a kind note or text message every day for the next week
Completing a random act of kindness the next time you go out in public
Look For The Good
In that vein, kindness is the recognition that we are not alone in this world. There is so much beauty and goodness around us. We can see it in nature, in human progress, in strength and resilience, in love and relationships. When we choose to see the good in others and in our world, we remember that we are all so much more alike than we are different, that we are sharing this planet and this world, and that truly, what we do to one another is what we do to ourselves.
Focusing on our interconnectedness promotes a sense of expanded love. It allows us to leave our naturally self-centered perspective and to not only celebrate what is, but to imagine what might be — and then, to build it.
To look for the good, try:
In every conversation, focus on a beautiful quality within the other person.
Whenever someone is frustrating you, bring your attention to what you both share.
Do What Brings You Joy
Joy is the fuel that keeps us going through challenging times, that connects us to one another, that inspires us to be our best selves.
Prioritizing what makes you feel alive, nourished, strong, and supportive is always important. The world would like to tell you to put these items at the bottom of your to-do list, to push aside anything that isn’t ‘productive’. But joy is the fuel for service, love, and growth. It inspires transformations and evolutions. Consider giving yourself permission to make it a priority.
If you want to do what brings you joy, try:
Take one hour for focused joy time to do anything that feels good to you. If you need support from a family member or friend to make it happen, ask.
Practice Compassion For All Beings
Underpinning all of these behaviors is the importance of compassion. It is what inspires us to want to do good in the world, and it also gives us the strength that we need to do so. All beings everywhere deserve compassion (including you.)
If you want to practice compassion, try:
Whenever you are stuck, try asking yourself: “Is this behavior, thought or choice leading me towards greater compassion for all beings, or away from it?”
The practice of these seven behaviors can transform your life. The secret? Each connects us simultaneously both to ourselves and to others. And that is what living a New Happy life is all about.
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