My old relationship with happiness was filled with miscommunication, unrealistic expectations, misunderstandings, confusion, and just plain disappointment. I sought to understand. I bought books. I read them (most of the way through). The problem was that none of them gave me tangible tasks that worked for me. One of the best is probably Shaun Achor’s The Happiness Advantage which really focused on gratitude practice as the key to happiness. But to be honest, I had a hard time making the habit writing down my gratitudes daily stick. I also was having difficulty FEELING grateful at the end of a long day trying to be patient with my daughter or dealing with her emotional outbursts or keeping her busy so she wouldn’t ask to watch TV, or telling her no she can’t watch TV for the 50th time. I was one numb, tired, emotionally drained momma! My head and voice said “thank you” “this was nice” “that was generous” but my heart wasn’t feeling it.
I had also heard some people say they wake up and make the decision to be happy. I think on some level bringing it to the forefront has its merits, but it didn’t do it for me. Then I read The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte and worked with a facilitator to discover my CDFs (core desired feelings). When I did that, my whole world seemed to line up in front of me with clarity, possibility, and direction. I felt relief that my life had a compass. What does this have to do with happiness? I’m glad you asked! Imagine floundering, pretty much daily, taking care of a child, making sure her needs are met, making sure she doesn’t watch too much TV, that her environment is stimulating, making sure I’m parenting consciously and patiently using the Love and Logic skills we learned at our preschool co-op. Man, that takes up a lot of energy, headspace and is fairly stressful. Have you been there? Are you still there? Some people can go through all of that daily with a huge smile and airy brightness. I am not that person. These days were piling up on me and my moments of happy vibes were fleeting and far between. So all during this time BEFORE my CDFs everything swirled. Like a vortex.
AFTER my CDF’s I had the tools and skills to say:
- “Um, I don’t want to feel this way.”
- “Self, I want to feel [insert CDF or any positive feeling].”
- “Let’s [insert action] to help me feel that way.”
And then I go do it, get it on the agenda, or improvise something because I have a small human in tow.
Sometimes just thinking the word can make a big enough shift for me. And then I’m feeling that way instead. Usually “happy” is not my focus word- actually it never is. But guess what ends up happening? In addition to my desired feeling, happiness follows. So now I don’t seek out happiness. It finds me when I’m living my CDFs! By the way, this is still a work in progress for me but I’m SO GRATEFUL to have these tools instead of feeling so lost.
I’d love to work with you to find your core desired feelings. Contact me for details to
work one on one virtually or go here for more details on my offerings. In the meantime,
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