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20 Truths To Guide You To Happiness

20 Truths To Guide You To Happiness

Old legends and folklore say happiness can be found at the end of the rainbow together with a pot of gold. Unfortunately in today’s society, happiness is wrongfully measured and is directly proportional to material gain, financial wealth, status, sex, power and influence; and it is often seen as something external, something outside of us or something that will come down from the clouds or to become a golden age.

I am in favor of all the above mentioned virtues however; if we place all of them at the core of who we are we still have the main ingredient missing, happiness.

“Happiness does not depend on what you have

Or who you are. It solely relies of what you think” – Buddha

Happiness is a state of mind, an energy or vibration internal; it is very individual to each of us. It is a choice we make on a daily basis.

Here are the 20 Truths To Guide You To Happiness:

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See how beautiful you really are

You are an individual with a divine spark that makes you unique and wonderful. If you are having trouble understanding this, look in the mirror without judgement, without condemnation, without prejudice smile at yourself; tell yourself you are beautiful no matter what you look like. Think of the many times you have been shown kindness, love, compassion, take yourself back when you were a little boy or girl; tell that little boy or girl everything about them is OK and in your mind’s eye hug them, you will be pleasantly surprised. There is no doubt about it; there is no one else like you…..

Live in the present

We live in turbulent times, and the stresses of life cannot be ignored; often there are very few things we can control. Worrying about the future is as useless as regretting the past; we only have control of the now. There is wisdom in: “As you reap, so shall you sow” because every act of love, warmth and kindness will come back to you, often tenfold.

Tap into the power of your mind

We are all directors and script writers of our own lives; what we think about (or fear most) will manifest into our reality. Thoughts, images and emotions are very strong and only if we learn to control them can we use them to bring about what we want. The law of attraction is not just a New Age concept, this has also been covered in many Holy Religious texts such as The Bible.

If you constantly visualize success, abundance, love, peace and kindness you will bring it about.

I never thought I would find a positive use for the term “Thought Police” but this is what we must do in order to have happier and more fulfilling lives.

Allow yourself to feel

One of the things I love most about my wife is her ability to feel. While watching a movie right at the moment when the boy and girl find each other and kiss, tears of joy flow down her beautiful face. We have been conditioned by society to be cold, indifferent and suppress our emotions. Allowing ourselves to feel is what makes us human. There is no right or wrong in feeling the way you do.

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Let your faith be bigger than your fears when chasing dreams

Every great achievement started with an individual having a dream, please do not think for a moment you are a single drop in an infinite sea of humanness; you are powerful, beautiful and divine and all you need is a plan.

Writing down your goals and dreams is not enough, they must be broken down into measurable and easy to achieve steps. If you want to be a writer, start by researching, join a writing group and start small to build your skill set. Poetry is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

Start acting like a writer, believing it is part of the process. Bring this simple analogy across to anything you want to manifest.

Reward yourself

Every now and then it is nice to treat ourselves to a small reward. Life is not just about working, there has to be time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Personally, I treat myself when I have done a good deed or when I have achieved an important goal. When rewarding myself It gives me more of an incentive to keep achieving the goals I set for myself and do more acts of kindness. I must admit, I generally forgo my reward and buy my boys a nice toy, video game. trinket, etc. My wife also gets to benefit from this, it makes me happy.

Let go of what and who no longer serve you

Along life’s journey we have accumulated, beliefs, habits and people that at some point become irrelevant. Look back when you were twenty, do some of these beliefs still hold truth to you now?

We make friends along the way, but as life happens we change, do not be afraid to let go of people who do not bring out the best in you or are still in your life due to a sense of obligation; bless them and let them go, that is one way to heal and often the relationship takes on a much positive turn if you decide to stick around.

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Do more of what makes you happy

Doing more of what makes you happy is blissful and fulfilling. Our creativity is increased when we feel happy and purposeful. Hobbies are a great way to tap into that creative energy. Nature is a great place for de-stressing, hiking, surfing, playing sport, video gaming, movies, friends, wine, dancing, arts, etc. are awesome ways to give you a break from the daily grind.

Become your own best friend

Part of becoming our best friend is going easy on ourselves. Some of us have a tendency to be our toughest critics and not forgiving ourselves makes it harder to grow. Be kind to yourself, when a negative thought pops in your mind, ask yourself why you feel this way and then mentally embrace yourself and correct the negative thought. Find positive things you have done recently and focus on them. If you do this on a daily basis you will develop a healthy image of self and it will be impossible not to like the person staring back at you in the mirror.

Always stay close to everything that makes you thrilled to be alive

I am not advocating in favor of extreme sports, thrill seeking or any of that; but if you are into them good for you. My guilty pleasure is modern architecture, I love looking at beautiful homes, gardens and landscaping because it inspires me. I know of  people who are thrilled while helping others, others find delight in producing movies, documentaries or teaching others. What do you love doing that brings that inner child out and makes you thrilled to be alive?

Learn to love your own company

You are going to take yourself everywhere so you might as well start liking yourself. Find time to be completely alone, this can be done sitting under a tree, reading a book, listening to music, blogging, drawing, painting etc. but there must not be any other people around; make it intimate as it is a wonderful feeling being alone. By discovering who you are you begin to see yourself in others.

Don’t lose yourself in your fear

There is a lot of turmoil in the world; war, unemployment, bankruptcy, illness, zombies, end times you name it; guilt and fear are useless emotions because some of the things we fear most are not very likely to happen unless we program them into our subconscious mind. Remember that we bring about what we think of (or fear) most. I learned this from a spiritual teacher: “Some of these evils in the world might not be in your soul contract” meaning your destiny will be different to theirs. Send love and kindness to the victims of these horrible circumstances, do not be cold or indifferent, and help if you can.  Focus on what makes you happy instead and bring it into your life and the lives of the ones you love.

Don’t be afraid to give up what is no longer working

This time we will focus on de-cluttering our homes and lives. Possessions have a tendency to demand our energy and attention. Having too many possessions concentrated in one room is debilitating. Clear out your living space; give away to charity items like clothes, furniture, kids toys, etc. Not only are you freeing space in your home but also in your mind. There is satisfaction knowing some of your old possessions will be going to help others in need.

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Be aware of your position. What are you running away from, or what are you running to?

Have you noticed when you leave a job because of a certain type of boss, co-worker or working environment very often we wind up with the same type of boss, co-worker or working environment in our next job? This can be attributed to what is known as the “victim mentality” and we attract these types  of people/circumstances on a subconscious level. This is also applicable in relationships. So this is when you must have a hard look at yourself and stop the negative thoughts and programming engrained in your psyche by replacing that dated set of beliefs with ones you want to manifest in your life. If you want to work at a great company with a great bunch of people, feel it, taste it and allow it to be a reality.

Don’t allow your wounds to turn you into someone you are not

Bad things happen to good people, that is inevitable and this happens when we least expect it. Do not become bitter and resentful when tragedy strikes. When someone wronged us we must understand that by hating the person we are holding on to hate, resentment and fear which can potentially manifest in illness or even more tragedy. Mourn and allow yourself to feel angry, get it out of your system and move on, do not attract more of this by becoming sour, find ways to rise above it and be happy as we only live once.

Remember to forgive yourself

When we become the perpetrators and we wrong someone else, we can experience a deep sense of guilt even when we make ourselves believe they deserved it. If the person is no longer in your life, write a letter asking the person for your forgiveness. If you send it that is fine, but if you don’t it is also OK. There is an ethereal connection between people, and the other person somehow will begin to heal. Have you ever thought of a friend or loved one and suddenly got a phone call from them? Thought is a bridge between our minds.

Know you may not always get what you want, but you will ALWAYS get what you need

There are some things in life that no matter how much we visualize, feel and yearn for and will never be a part of our reality. We always want something, but it might not be what we need for our personal growth. Trust in the Universe’s wisdom, it knows what you need in order to flourish. There is a cause and effect for every choice we make in life. Also beware of what you wish for as it might come true.

Open up to love

To me this has been one of the hardest truths to accept, this is not just about external love but the love for myself. By opening up to love we choose it as being part of our daily lives, it can manifest in a short conversation with a stranger, being kind to our neighbors, doing something nice for your family. This also means allowing others to show love to you and feeling worthy of love. Love is not a word, it is a verb.

The world needs you as you are

I look at the beautiful people on TV and even though I admire their beauty, grace and talent, I don’t think I want to be them. They cannot do some of the things I can and they do not have my wicked sense of humor. I always had an inner knowing I am here for a reason, and as far as I know it is to love and provide for my family, influence others in a positive way with my design, writing and poetry, the world needs beauty, love and compassion; this is where I come in, how about you?

Empty your mind (meditate)

Meditation is not just sitting in a Lotus position and chanting mantras, meditation can be sitting comfortably on a chair to stare out the window, under a tree watching clouds, being in the dark looking into a flame. It is important to let your mind be passive and free from all the worries you carry with you. Your mind is like a computer; if you keep storing data at some point it is going to fill its hard drive and then will crash; your mind is no different.

By emptying your mind you can also let go of dated ideas, concepts and beliefs giving room for newer and more relevant ones. Meditation is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and we tap into a much greater source of wisdom, try it and you will not regret it.

More by this author

Louis Salguero

UX, HCD, UCD, GUI, graphic and web designer

How I Keep My Sanity As A Designer 10 Ways to Positively Influence Others in The Workplace 10 Ways to Positively Influence Others In The Workplace 20 Truths To Guide You To Happiness 10 Ways to be a Sexy Geek 10 Ways to Become a Sexy Geek 10 Lessons I Learned From Cancer

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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