The Path To Happiness

“Dear past, thank you for the lessons and wisdom. Dear future, I’m ready for you!”

birds cage

One day, I received a thank you email from a client. He said that I had helped him and his wife maintain a positive, intentional mindset as they struggled and grew through one of the most difficult periods of their lives. Certain sections of his email made my jaw drop:

“After injuring my back, losing my job because of it, being evicted from our apartment, moving in with my wife’s parents, nursing my 5 y.o. through a nearly fatal bout of strep throat, I was sitting on the front porch feeling sorry for myself when my old college buddy called me crying and said, ‘My baby girl just died in a car wreck’. And suddenly I felt like the lucky one.”

This client then went on to say: “It was the shock of my friend’s tragic loss combined with your help that changed my entire outlook from negative to positive. I suddenly realized there were people who needed me to get back up, and found infinite reasons and ways to do my very best with what I had. So I started giving up all the negative things I was thinking and doing that had been holding me back; and then I took a bold step forward, and another, and another. And I’m happy to say you were right!”

If you can relate to my client’s situation in any way, and you’re ready to move forward, today is the day to start giving up the things that have been holding you back and draining your happiness, and consequently, affecting your health.

Truth be told, it happens to all of us as we grow. We discover more about who we are and the way life really is, and then we realize there are changes we need to make. The lifestyle we’ve been living no longer fits. The environments and relationships we’ve known forever no longer exist, or no longer serve our best interests. So we cherish all the great memories, but find ourselves at a crossroads, giving up the old to make room for a new beginning.

It’s not easy. It’s painful to give up what’s familiar.

I can also relate to my client’s story. In the past decade ,I had to deal with several major unexpected life changes/challenges, including:

  • Leaving my alcoholic and abusive ex-husband, which took me 7 years to create the strength to do so
  • Overcoming PTSD
  • Making ends meet to support myself when my business was not even 1 year old
  • Building a business from the ground up, without money or help
  • Becoming pregnant (happiest day of my life) and losing my baby when she was 16 weeks
  • Having to change my business plan and dreams because of my depression
  • Overcoming clinical depression

These experiences were brutal. Each of them, unsurprisingly, knocked me down and off course, for a period of time. But once I accepted these harsh realities by giving up my expired ideals and letting go of the way things used to be, I pressed forward, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life.

Which is why I want to remind you that TODAY is the first day of the rest of your life. The road ahead is wide open. You CAN and you WILL be happy again!

But first, you have to give up:…

  1. Choosing to do nothing. – You don’t get to choose how you are going to die, or when. You can only decide how you are going to live, right now. Every day is a new chance to choose.
    Choose to change your perspective. Choose to flip the switch in your mind from negative to positive. Choose to turn on the light and stop fretting about with insecurity and doubt. Choose to do work that you are proud of. Choose to see the best in others, and to show your best to others. Choose to truly LIVE your life, right now.
  2. The excuses you keep reciting to yourself. – Sooner or later you will come to realize that it’s not what you lose along the way that counts; it’s what you do with what you still have. When you let go, forgive, and move on, you in no way change the past, you change the future.
  3. Avoiding the reality of the present. – You can’t change what you refuse to confront. You can’t find peace by avoiding it. Deal with problems before they deal with your happiness and health. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Remember, life’s best lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. When you lose something, don’t think of it as loss; accept it as a gift that will get you on the path you were meant to travel all along. Thank your past for all the lessons, and move on. Say this: “Dear past, thank you for the lessons and wisdom. Dear future, I’m ready for you!”
  4. Over-thinking and worrying about everything. – When your fears have you looking too deep into things, it creates problems; it doesn’t fix them. If you think and you think and you think, you will think yourself right out of happiness a thousand times over, and never once into it. Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles., it takes away today’s peace and potential. Stop over-thinking everything. Life is too short.
  5. Who you once were in the past. – Find the balance that allows you to be who you truly are. Your worst battle is between what you know and what you feel (your Mental and Emotional Self). One of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make is when to stay put and try harder, or when to just take your memories and move on. Sometimes you have to step outside of the person you’ve been, and remember the person you were meant to be, the person you are capable of being, and the person you truly are – your Spiritual self!
  6. Resistance to necessary growing pains. – Remember, we can’t become what we need to be by remaining exactly what we are. Life is change, but growth is optional. Choose wisely. When we lose ourselves in the things we love, we find ourselves there too. So if you are passionate about something, pursue it. Stretch yourself. You will know you are on the right track in life when you become completely uninterested in looking back, and eager to take the next step. Let happiness be your compass in life!
  7. Doubting your own faith and courage. – You can be comfortable or courageous, but you cannot be both. By taking a leap of faith, you find out who you are truly capable of becoming. Faith sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible; its about believing when it’s beyond the power of reason to believe. And courage is being scared to death, and then taking the next step anyway. I hope you can always find the faith and courage to do what you are afraid to do.
  8. Thinking that you don’t have what it takes. – Nobody is going to blindside you and hit you as hard as life will. Sometimes life will beat you to the ground, and keep you there if you let it. But it’s not about how hard life can hit you; it’s about how hard you can be hit while continuing to move forward. That’s what true strength is. And that’s what winning the game of life is all about.
  9. Overlooking everything that’s wonderful. – Do your best and surrender the rest. When you stay stuck in regret of the life you think you should have had, you end up missing the beauty of what you do have. You will have a hard time ever being happy if you aren’t thankful for the good things in your life right now. Be grateful for your life, as it is, right now.
  10. Pessimism and negative self-talk. – Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break this negative habit. Talk about your joys, your loves, and your dreams instead. What you see in life often depends entirely on what you’re looking for. In the end, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. It’s not what you see, it’s how you look at it. It’s not how your life is, it’s how you live it.
  11. Excessive pride. – Get our of your own way. Stop judging everyone and everything. Pride is one of the greatest enemies to your happiness and growth. Open your mind before you open your mouth. Don’t hate what you don’t know. The mind is like a parachute; it doesn’t work when it’s closed. Or as C.S. Lewis so profoundly put it: “A proud person is always looking down on things and other people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something beautiful that is above you.”
  12. Not giving the people around you a chance. – Life is a tapestry of people weaving in and out of your life. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Everyone has something to offer and share with you. Imagine treating every person you encounter – no matter how momentary it may be – as an intriguing story waiting to be told. But the story can only be told if someone asks to hear it. Will you ask? That person you see standing before you, no matter who they are, young or old, rich or poor, angry or kind, is like a blockbuster movie ready to fascinate you. But, first you have to buy a ticket.
  13. Comparing yourself to everyone else. – Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight life stories. Give it up. Don’t compare our Chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 22. Follow your own path, write your own life story, and never give up on yourself. Remember this:
    Happiness formula = Do YOUR best and feel good about it. // Unhappy formula = Compare yourself with everyone else. (from the book “The Happiness Trap”)
  14. Letting the judgments of others control your life. – People know your name, not your story. They’ve heard what you’ve done, but not what you’ve been through. So take their opinions of you with a grain of salt. In the end, it’s not what others think, it’s what you think about yourself that counts. Sometimes you have to do exactly what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everyone else.
  15. Procrastinating and senselessly wasting time. – Remember, you are the customer of a bank called Time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as a loss, whatever remainder you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you with the same deposit of 86,400 seconds. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the tomorrow. You must live in the present on today’s deposits only. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health and happiness. You’re making withdrawals right this second… so make it count! J

Now is the time. As you know, when you stop doing the wrong thing, you give the right things a chance to start. So what’s one habit or thought patter that has been making you unhappy? What can you do today to give it up? Do it.

 

Love, Light & Gratitude,

 

Gabriela Brandao.

 

 

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