My husband and I recently carpooled from Weston to Orlando with a young woman we befriended at a wealth building seminar who lives near us. During the four hour drive she confessed she wanted to be happy. I was taken back. She's beautiful, thin, fit, healthy, has two bright sons, has a large home and a new SUV, money saved, a retirement plan, and a high paid professional position with a multi-billion dollar company.
"You're not happy?"
"No. I haven't been happy for a long time. Is anyone really happy?" she said.
"I'm happy. It actually is my identity. It comes easy for me. I bring it with me. I'm not searching for it."
"I wish I could say that," she said.
"Then say it."
She winced and looked at me in the rear-view mirror, it's not that simple."
I smiled at her. "It is that simple."
"No, I don't think so."
"Thoughts are forces. Words have meaning. That meaning is the power in the force of your thought. You tell yourself over and over, I'm not happy. Why can't I be happy. I'll never be happy. I wish I was happy and I haven't been happy for a long time. If you want to be happy, start with giving yourself the option to be happy. Make a conscious choice to be happy. Once you decide, then you are now happy. It's that simple. Sift your identity from someone who wants to be happy to someone who identifies with being in a state of happiness."
"It sounds simple and I have tried that but it just never works. I still don't feel happy."
"That's what a lot of people say. Let me ask you something, what would have to change in your life for you to feel happy?"
"Oh-- everything. I'm a perfectionist and everything has to be in order or I'm never going to be happy."
"Repeat what you just said and think about it."
"--I'm a perfectionist and everything has to be in order or I'm never going to be happy."
"How do you feel when you hear yourself say you are never going to be happy because you are so intent on being perfect?"
"I feel like I'm stuck in that belief."
"Wonderful. Many of us, myself included, we get stuck in beliefs that don't serve us. In your case, it's making believe you don't deserve happiness. You'll never be perfect so you'll never be happy. What do you really believe?"
"I'm an overachiever and if I'm not reaching a goal or setting a new one, I'm not happy and I'm not meeting my goals."
"Interesting. So, being an overachiever in every area of your life is ok, except the area of your own happiness. Why aren't you overachieving in happiness?
"I don't know."
"I know you don't know; but, if you could imagine one of your employees who set unrealistic goals that were unattainable, what would you tell them to do?"
"I'd tell them to set more realistic goals and to step back and reassess their strengths and resources."
"Can you give yourself permission to take the same advice when it comes to being happy?"
"I never looked at happiness that way. I always thought it was unobtainable. I set it up so high that it is always just out of reach. So, happiness is not something I have to earn or strive for?"
"Exactly! You were born happy. You already are happiness so you can't strive for that which you already possess."
"Who would have known, all this time, I've been carrying happiness with me like an unopened package."