Tools For Changing Your Life That Don't Require Willpower
Learning Life-Wisdom Through Pleasure
Posted December 30, 2011
If you're looking for more happiness and greater intimacy in the year ahead, here are two of the most valuable tools I know. Don't be deceived by the comfort and pleasure they bring; these are direct paths to profound life-change. Try them out, and enjoy the deliciously subversive experience of learning through joy.
Listen To Your Joys
In the course of a day, most of us experience small moments of pleasure or joy; an act of unexpected kindness from a loved one, placing the last touches on a job we're proud of. Usually, we enjoy the moment and just move on. What we haven't been taught is this: These small joys are actually portals to deeper streams of joy. They are more than pleasant passing moments; As I describe in my book Deeper Dating, they can be springboards that lead us to the best parts of ourselves.
The next time you have a moment of simple happiness, take an extra moment to savor it. Simply rest, and allow its ripples to move through you. Those ripples will talk to you. They will touch you. They may evoke memories of people and things you love. Subtly, they will remind you of the things that matter most.
Each moment of joy will be different, and every time you do this exercise it will illuminate a different facet of your nature. As time goes by, you'll begin to develop a deeper familiarity with the attributes of your own personal happiness. The more you do this simple process, the more you'll experience spontaneous moments of joy and fulfillment, and the more you'll make life-choices that lead you back to your authentic joys.
Spend More Time With The People Who Inspire You
This simple resolution will bring you joy, growth, and intimacy, almost from the very beginning.
Most of us weren't taught this life-lesson: We have the right to be extravagantly choosy in deciding with whom we spend time. Unless we protect our precious time, we not only lose it, we will also lose the opportunities for growth that occur naturally with people who inspire us. Few of us really care to admit how strongly we are affected by the people around us. I've come to believe that the quality of our relationships is the single greatest determinant of our happiness.
Sometimes we choose to spend time with people who don't inspire us, for reasons of necessity, generosity or loyalty. Apart from these relationships, try spending as much time as possible with people who inspire you--and as little time as possible with everyone else.
So how do you find this rarified group of people?
Just look in your address book. Review your Facebook friends and your old emails to see who fits the following criteria:
• Do you feel valued, listened to, appreciated and respected when you're with them?
• Are they kind?
• Do they have wisdom?
• Do you frequently feel inspired by them?
• Do you respect the life they have created?
• Are they consistent in their caring for you?
Highlight the names of everyone who received a yes answer for all of the above questions. These people are your dream team, your path to happiness. Every one of them is someone you should stay close to, lean on, and give to. Each is a relationship to cultivate.
What happens when you spend your time with people who inspire you?
• You'll find their insights influencing your inner life. When you're tempted to make unwise decisions, you'll somehow remember their support and wisdom, and you will be more likely to make a better choice. At times when you're faced with a wonderful but scary opportunity, you'll imagine their voice cheering you on.
• You'll lean on each other for advice and coaching. You'll get ongoing support in your most important life-choices.
• You'll feel more empowered when facing life-challenges, and you'll feel greater satisfaction in your successes, knowing that your loved ones are right behind you.
• You'll become more of who you want to be; a person who inspires others simply by who you are.
• You'll have a happier life.
If you've become estranged from people who've proven their friendship to you over time, you might want to see if your once-valued relationship can be repaired.
If you commit to one or both of these resolutions, you will have taken an enormous step toward your own happiness. Please write and share your experiences with other readers and with me.
© 2011 Ken Page, LCSW. All Rights Reserved
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