You made it through all 5 steps!!!! Yay for you! How do you feel? Can you tell a difference? Probably not. This is a lifetime kinda thing. It’s a new way to live your life. And I’m thinking it takes a lifetime to get good at. But, bit-by-bit your life will become more peaceful and happy. Of course you know life’s a roller coaster. Sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down and in between there are all kinds of twists and turns. Practicing these steps will smooth that out some. Your highs may not be as high, but your lows will definitely not be as low. You’ll find yourself more in the peaceful middle. Think of this work as chipping away at the pain and sorrow of your life. We all have our fear monsters. We all have fears, we all have anxieties, we all have depressed moments, we all get angry, we all suffer grief. After years and years of dealing with these negative emotions, they can start to pile up. These steps are like finally being given a sledge hammer to chip away at them. When pieces of pain break apart and fall away, they’re replaced with peace and happiness. When you start out, you just break away a little piece. Big deal. You probably don’t even notice it. But if you keep hammering away at it, you will chip enough away that you feel better. Pretty soon a whole wall will come down and you’ll feel lighter. That’s when the pay off really comes. But, it takes time and patience and a commitment to keep trying. You have to keep growing and learning and working to break up the pain. It didn’t show up in your life over night and it will take more than a day to get rid of. The more pain and suffering the more work. Depressing? I hope not. I hope you’re excited by this. You finally get to take charge of things. You finally get the chance and a road map to find your Spirit, the real you that lives in your soul! That’s exciting. You are no longer controlled by the whims of fate. Your happiness no longer depends on your significant other or your family or your friends or you job or money – you get the picture. You may not be able to control what happens to you in life, but you do get to control how you react to it. You do get to fight it and break it apart until it can’t live in you any longer. That’s just it, you see. You don’t get to choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you fight it. You can choose to break apart that pain so that it no longer has a place to live in your heart. And you get to fill that space back up with the peace and happiness of your Spirit. You’ll have bad things happen to you. Nothing can stop that. That’s part of life. But, now I hope you have some tools to help you heal. I know that sometimes life fills us with so much pain, anxiety, depression, grief, sadness and anger that we feel like we don’t have room for happiness. That’s when you need these steps the most. That’s when you need to break through the pain so you can return to your Spirit. You have the power to make room for the peace that you deserve.
When you start to slip back into your old ways (and you will – at least I do), go back and review these steps again. Keep reading them until they’re stamped on your brain. In fact, this might be a good time for me to go over them again and put them all together. Let’s pick an easy example: A “friend” tells a lie about you and it makes you mad, hurt, embarrassed, betrayed…… all the negative emotions.
- Own it.
Take responsibility for your reaction and your feelings. It’s ok to be mad. It’s ok to be hurt. It’s ok to be embarrassed. You were betrayed by someone you trusted, someone you thought was your friend. So say to yourself “I’m feeling __________ but I’m going to work to bring peace to my life.” Just that easy and step 1 is done.
- Know it and let it go.
It’s time to get to the root of why you’re upset. Why do you feel mad at your friend? “Because she told lies about me” Why does that scare you? “Because I cared about her and she hurt me.” Why does that scare you? “Because I trusted her.” “Why does that scare you? “Because I’m afraid to lose my friends.” Why does that scare you? “Because I’m afraid of being all alone.” “Why does that scare you? “Because I’m afraid that no one will care about me.” Why does that scare you? Because I’m afraid that I’m unlovable.” Bingo! Now we’re cooking. Their betrayal stirred up your deep, down fears of not being loved. Now you get to say: “I’m afraid of not being loved, God, and I release that fear to You. Do with it as You will.” That’s it. That’s step 2. Sounds easy, but it’s not. It’s hard to dig down to the root of your pain. It’s a lot easier to say “They are being a jerk and that’s why I’m mad”. But remember, you aren’t mad. You’re scared. Something triggered a fear in you that might have come out as mad. Dig down. Know it. And, let it go. Just remember, releasing your pain to God has nothing to do with them. It’s not about letting them off the hook. It’s about you being happy and finding peace.
- Practice your gratitude specifically with what hurt you. Say something like “I am so grateful that I have my family to help me through this time” or “I am so grateful that I have friends who know me well enough to not believe the lie” or “I’m so grateful that I get this chance to see how strong I am” or “I am so grateful that I get to work on chipping away at my “I’m not loved” fear monster”. It’s not enough to just say “I’m grateful for my health”. You have to find something about the situation to be grateful for. You may have to dig deep, but you will find something. Any little nugget. It could be as small as “I’m so grateful that I have mindless TV to take my mind off of things”
- Do Unto Others
Step 4 is a tough one in most situations. That darned Golden Rule. It won’t allow you to seek out your revenge on your friend. It won’t let you spread lies about hem. Remember, the Spirit of God is in their soul and you are connected to that. So hurting them will only hurt you. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. If you can’t bring yourself to be nice to them then just don’t be mean. You don’t want people being mean to you, so don’t be mean to them. However, you don’t have to allow negative people to be a part of your life. Negative energy just feeds off of itself and makes more negative energy, and you don’t have to be around that. These steps are all about bringing your outside self closer to your inside self so that a peaceful energy will be created in your life. You can’t create positive energy by using negative energy. So, you can’t be unkind if you want to be happy. That’s just the way it works.
- Make Room for God.
We have to turn off the noise in our heads (our outside selves) to make room for our Spirit to grow (our inside selves). Meditation is one of the best ways to push out the noisy thoughts that clutter our head. It’s a way of focusing on God and Spirit and getting closer to your soul – getting closer to who you really are. It will bring you some measure of peace. It will help to break apart your pain and replace it with contentment. Meditation is powerful, but it has to be practiced. A lot. It’s not easy to do and it’s very easy to just quit. But, it’s a powerful tool for bringing happiness into your life. Try it. See what you think.
Like I’ve said before, practicing these steps won’t have you skipping through a field of daisies singing tunes from The Sound of Music. But having these tools may help to make whatever is happening to you easier to deal with. It will take you closer to your soul – to a place of peace, a place of love, a place of happiness. That’s what I wish for you – finding your happiness in your soul. I truly believe that you are a perfect child of God and you deserve all of the happiness that a person can hold. It doesn’t matter what you have or haven’t done in the past. It doesn’t matter what you should do in the future. What matters is what you are doing right now. And right now, you get to choose to create space for peace and happiness by getting closer to your soul!
If you have any questions about the steps, please let me know. Let’s have a “conversation” about being happy in an unhappy world. Let’s blog!
Wishing you much peace,