What does it mean to “find our way” in the world, and how do we do it? Finding our way can mean many things. Perhaps it means simply freeing ourselves (somehow) from the burden of the flawed and complicated existence of being human. Or, it could mean that we are on a quest for a better way of life, a life that essentially makes us happier because we are following our dreams. We all seem to want happiness but how to we find our way to it?
Finding our way to a happier state of being comes from figuring out exactly what it is we want, and where we want to go. Being open to new ideas, and changing our mindset and lifestyle when the opportunity presents itself helps us move closer. There will always be the inevitable twists, turns and gnarly roots to trip us up from time to time, but we must learn to treat them as temporary obstacles. In addition, having too much of a set plan in life defeats and stifles our natural curiosity and adventurous spirit. There is a profound difference between really living our lives, and just existing. When we let go of joy and wonder, we stop living and simply start waiting to die.
So how can we find our way to happiness before we die?
We can crawl inside ourselves and stay a while. When we turn inward toward radical self care, we get to know who we really are. When we stop extending ourselves to everything and everyone, we let go of the resentment that comes along with the territory of saying yes all the time. Once we recoil, we can figure out what makes us tick, what we really think about things, where our strongest feelings come from, and why. When we go exploring within, we often unearth bits and pieces of ourselves that have remained dormant, or undeveloped. In staying away from the people and life circumstances that sap our energy, we can “work” on ourselves. With the gift of room to breathe, we can make our way to our truest self, and in doing so, become whole again. In order to find our way to happiness, we must know ourselves deeply.
“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” ~
We can empty our glass and fill it back up again with other things. When we become disillusioned, or tired and bored with life in general, it’s probably time to mix things up and try something new. Is it a new career? It can be tricky to do so, but it’s really okay to switch gears and move in a different direction. It’s also okay to end a miserable relationship. Just because a change is big, it doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t. If we are tired of the same old thing, the same old thoughts, the stagnant routine day in and day out, we must take action to bring excitement and fun back into our lives. New doors open, when we open new doors. For example, consider the following scenario: You never learned to swim. Though terrifying, you finally decide to learn, and you take a few classes at the Y. One day, at a pool party, you jump in the water to enjoy some free time with friends and you are introduced to an interesting person, who also happens to work for a publisher, who would be more than happy to read your manuscript because she finds you and your story delightful. If you hadn’t learned to swim, you would not have ventured into the water, thus preventing a meeting that could change your life. When we “empty our glass, and fill it back up with other things,” it changes the roads we travel down and the people we meet along the way.
“I have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.” ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth
We can understand that we can’t avoid pain. We must go through the pain in order to heal ourselves – we can’t simply skirt around it, or run away from it and somehow become better, happier people in the process. Change can be painful. We tend to not like or want too much change in our lives, however, the painful process of change is something we must learn to trust. When things change in our lives unexpectedly, we must try to recognize the value of walking purposely through it. We will then have the strength we need to find a different path to happiness. Pain and grief are necessary agents for real growth in our lives. We learn from pain. Our way to a happier state of being, and what it is we truly want and need from our lives sometimes requires processing many painful truths.