Alright, I know I haven’t brought out a lot of posts lately which revolve around life advice so, here it is! I’m back and today I wanted to bring some attention to a well-known and sometimes well-avoided topic: thinking. I don’t mean the normal, everyday, I-have-1000-chores thinking, but more the self-reflection one that’s oddly satisfying to do but often gets pushed to the back of our list because of the 1000 chores.
I’ve noticed lately that there are tons of people complaining that they’re not happy. Why is that surprising you might ask. We all know that especially around elections of any kind (which are happening in my country as we speak) all the dirt tends to come bubbling up from people’s lives because it’s somehow “in” again to complain about how this politician or that mayor has let us down. Which is fine: a bit of gossip and general reviews never hurt. As long as you’re aware enough of the fact that it’s you that’s letting yourself down the most.
And that’s why people don’t reflect anymore: because self-reflection means opening our eyes to what we’ve done that’s not right or not enough or both, and re-asses what needs to be done so we can make ourselves happy. Key element here: we are the ones responsible for our own happiness. Yep, if you think you’re a sad unemployed sucker who never has any luck and is always walked over then that’s what you’ll be. It’s up to us to shift our minds towards the positive and find that little thing inside of us that stops us from being truly happy.
And thinking can really do wonders in that direction! Here are some of the ways using our brains actually help us learn, grow and be happy:
We start noticing stuff we want to change. Whether it’s some kind of behavior that we stick to that (on more than one occasion) has proven to be unhelpful and is not adaptive or just the fact that we tend to communicate with negative people at the office, noticing what pulls us back is key. We first need to recognize the weed before we can get our gloves on and pull it right out from where it’s comfortably nested. That way we open up space for the things we like and want to grow into our lives. Simple, right?
We strengthen our mindfulness. This is a direct consequence of that first one: learning to notice what holds us down and learning to take conscious action to strengthen the things that push us up leads to an overall awareness of what we do with our lives on a daily basis: what we want to improve and build up.
We start being honest. Mostly with ourselves. And that’s something that’s often bitter at the start but once we get into the habit of it we start noticing the sweetness as well. Contemplating our actions and thoughts – be that before an important decision or in retrospect – is what helps us grow. And being able to sit still and honestly reflect upon what we might have done differently is a skill that needs to be strengthened every once and a while in order to make deeper roots.
It gets easier to articulate our values. And stick to them! Taking time to think about what we truly believe in will make it that much easier to clear up the fog in our heads and speak out very simply and cleanly what our true values are. And everyone knows that being able to see/understand something clearly makes it that much easier to follow along with.
It gets easier to recognize who we really need in our lives. I mean right now. Not 10 years ago or somewhere in the future but here and now. Being aware of our beliefs and hopes and values helps us attract like-minded people in our lives. And, in the end, what’s more positive and uplifting than knowing where your happiness lies and sharing it with others?