As we create lives of happiness and meaning for ourselves, we believe that failure and stumbling blocks are not an option. We don’t realize it’s part of the practice, and that falling down is just as much a sign of growth as is getting up again.
When we set out to make a change, whether that be a habit or a new way of life, we expect ourselves to get it right. We know how to do it, we’ve learned the theory. Sounds doable. So if we’re 100% committed we shouldn’t fail, right? But then we stumble, and get mad at ourselves for being such a failure.
Check this: No matter how sincere your commitment, you are going to make mistakes. It’s natural, and it’s okay.
Give Yourself the Permission to Practice
This includes giving yourself the permission to fail and feel like crap. Especially when it comes to practicing happiness, we often feel like total failures if we still don’t feel awesome all the time. Not being happy means we’re not doing this happiness thing right, doesn’t it?
Going through phases of unhappiness is actually part of our growth. We all stumble. What’s important is that we keep on practicing with an open mind, and do our best not to judge and beat ourselves up. Happiness doesn’t thrive when we try to force it.
Since I learned some of the core principles of happiness on my trip to Oslo in April, I have been feeling good more often than not. Things have developed in ways that I couldn’t even have imagined and I’m grateful for that. But I still have days or even weeks where I go back to old patterns of overwhelming myself (“I really need to do these 23489347 things on my to-do list”), putting pressure on myself (“I have to get it all done NOW”), procrastinating, beating myself up about it (“You should have gotten all these things done ages ago”) and then judging myself for feeling crappy (“Why do I feel like this again? Shouldn’t I be over that by now?”).
What I’m starting to understand is that happiness is a practice, just like anything else that’s worth pursuing. It takes time, but it’s well worth the effort. Right now I’m in a place where I can see that I’m growing and that things are happening at just the right time if I allow them to. I’m happy. And even if I go back to old patterns again, that’s okay because it’s part of the practice and I learn from it every time.
Have you given yourself the permission to practice and fail? If this resonates with you, please share some of your thoughts in the comments below.
- "This Is Too Big for Me" – No, It's Not. Here's How to Beat the Odds
- Too Much to Do Too Little Time: How to Get Off The Hamster Wheel
- How to Escape A Life That Bores You to Death
- Unhappiness 101
- Why You Need to Live Your Dreams to Make Your Life Meaningful (spoiler alert: you will die)
- How to Do What You Love, Change the World & Get Paid to Do it
- 10 Life Lessons Learned on a Trip to the End of the World
- What to Do When Everything Plain Sucks: A Gentle Suck-Day Survival Kit
- The Beauty of a Morning Ritual: How it Can Help You Get Your Joy Back
- Burnout Is Not Cool. I Know You’re Serious About Your Dream, But Stop Killing Yourself Over It.
- Listen to your intuition. It trumps your rational mind.
- You can’t skip the fucking journey (& why I haven’t been blogging as much)