There is a lot of buzz these days about happiness. Lots of people looking for it, and therefore lots of “how to” books and programs and advice. Why are we so focused on finding happiness? Are we really that unhappy?
There are two things to know about happiness. First, it’s just a feeling; feelings come and go, and they are usually based on external circumstances (both past and present) and our inner dialogue related to those circumstances. Thus, one of the reasons we have challenges staying happy is because it is a temporary experience – it is not meant to be permanent. Joy, on the other hand, is a state of being based on one’s sense of self. This has permanence – once you develop a strong sense of self, you can be joyful even when you are experiencing difficult and painful situations. No one and nothing can take that away from you.
Second, because it is based on external things, feeling good (happiness) is related to receiving. Meaning, we must be open to taking in the good things that are happening, and we must have good things happening. One reason for unhappiness is that we set ourselves up for disappointment without even knowing it. Another is forgetting to or blocking ourselves from receiving the good. If you can’t receive what’s great about your life, it is all going to seem bad. Then, … unhappiness.
Joy is different. It is more about expressing than receiving. Joy comes from knowing who we really are and expressing that out in the world from a place of selflessness. One way to do that is through expressing our gifts. When we are giving of ourselves, our unique gifts, we lay the groundwork for a joy-filled life.
Part of growing to higher awareness and acquiring inner peace and power requires that we stop looking for things outside ourselves to make us feel better and go inward instead, to discover – and become responsible for – the unique gifts we embody, the intrinsic abilities that we were born with. These gifts are to be shared freely, given simply for the sake of giving, and used for the purpose of serving those around us.
What do I mean by gifts? Those talents, strengths, skills, and qualities that are natural to you. They are the innate traits and abilities you have that make up who you are as a person. Strengths such as leadership, initiative, maximizing, organizing, and diplomacy. Skills such as communication, listening, problem solving, process improvement, and visionary thinking. Qualities such as courage, discipline, determination, and heart.
This isn’t about “do what you love and the money will follow.” This is “be who you are just because.” Then life will follow. To expect money because you’re giving your gifts is an egoic need that only sets the stage for unhappiness. Joy is about giving freely whenever your gifts are called for. Certainly at work, but also in other areas of your life.
Therefore, we must separate using our gifts from making a living with them. Some people can use them to make a living, however, most do not. To be free, we will have to let go of the attachment to the belief that we must “do what we love” and learn instead to “be who we are.”
Bobby Drinnon, in his book Petitioning Reality with Faith, says, “One of the biggest misconceptions concerning our gifts is that they really don’t amount to much unless we can use them to earn a living. …. So long as you are doing something constructive with your gifts, using them to the very best of your ability, it really doesn’t matter how you earn your daily bread.”
The good news is, then, that we can express our gifts just about everywhere we go. We must use the gifts we are aware of in order to discover and develop those that are hidden. The awareness and claiming of gifts evolves over time. We cannot give what we don’t have, and we cannot get more unless we’re willing to give what we do have.
If you are interested in discovering your gifts, here are some places to start:
- Strengthsfinder: https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/Purchase
- Enneagram: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/Tests_Battery.asp#RHETI
Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!
Leesa A. Wheeler
Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author
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