There are periods in your life when you can lose sight of who you are as an individual entity apart from your friends, family, spouse, or children. So much time is spent focusing on others needs and ambitions that you lose sight of what you really want and who you are. You’re more than a parent, a son or daughter, an executive, or a caregiver. You’re a dreamer, a planner, an inventor, an artist, a creator, or whatever else brings passion into your life.
As I have written previously in my article 7 Ways to Master Life Transitions, life is a series of transitions and a natural part of our lives. That’s not to say that these transitional periods aren’t difficult. They are. But they also provide us with enlightenment and second chances at happiness. The questions “who am I” and “what makes me happy”come up frequently during this period.
In a world where the focus has become instant gratification, we have forgotten that ultimate happiness is a journey. It takes time, effort, and cultivation. I'm not saying that you necessarily have to plan your happiness. You do, however, have to actively participate in creating it. Understand that there may be occasional pitfalls and that's ok. If you want to feel happiness, you need to know who are and what makes you happy and then dive head first into it.
Step 1 - Know Who Are
Take the time to reconnect with yourself. Discover what/who makes you smile and buckle over with laughter. Focus on getting to know yourself and what makes you tick as you would with a potential partner or you did with a your current partner. After all you are the most important person in your life so go ahead and fall in love with you.
Step 2 – Know What Makes You Happy
Now this can be tricky for some people. I’ve had many clients ask me “but what if I don’t know what makes me happy, then what do I do?” Do what I like to call sampling the buffet. Try an array of different activities both solo and with other people – take a class (cooking, dance, art, photography, etc), go for a run or a hike or another type of physical activity, start a journal, volunteer, garden, redesign your home, meditate. You get the idea. There are so many things/experiences out there waiting for you. Take time for yourself – sample the buffet – and see what you like. It may surprise you to find the things that make you truly happy.
Step 3 - Create That Happiness
Once you discover what makes you happy work it into your life, preferably and if possible on a daily basis. Don't fall into the trap of only concentrating on a single thing or the extreme of too many things. Remember what each sample felt like and don't limit yourself. Be the force behind your happiness.
At the core, true happiness comes from the inside. The more you know yourself and accept yourself the happier you'll be.
Christa Zamel is a certified personal lifestyle coach. Her style of coaching is not simply about talking, it's about living. It's tying verbal, spatial, and emotional threads together into one body so that inner and outer selves mirror each other.