You have more control over your life than what you probably realize. Most importantly you have control over your thoughts and what you value. The problem many of us face is not being aware of what truly matters to us. There are so many distractions. The media tries to cajole us into wanting certain things, society at large contains a number of contradictory messages, our friends and family have their own expectations for us. Being true to yourself is a tough job.
Many years ago, I was walking around with my mother in West Chester, the small Pennsylvania town where I was born and where she still lived when I asked if she really liked the town. “Of course, look at it.” she said. We were strolling along a cobbled tree-lined street in the downtown area near the historical society, a municipal building and other shops. The scene was picturesque.
My mother is not simply resigned to live in Chester County, it’s what she really wants. She knows she is happy where she is and she’s staying right there. I admire her. In my life I have given up situations that were right for me. I gave them up because I had no idea at the time how much they meant to me.
After realizing the folly of letting good things go, I now relentlessly guard my happiness. It’s one of the the rules I live by. Recently, as part of a values clarification exercise on Happify.com, I listed several other personal commandments.
Self-knowledge, according to the website, is considered a key to happiness. “We can build a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, values and interests,” states the site.
If you are able to define what you value, you can move your life in a direction that will bring you the most satisfaction.. Take out a piece of paper and write down rules you are determined to uphold.
Another rule I made is to regularly ask myself the magic life coaching question “If I could do anything in the world right now what would it be?” Even if I can’t do that thing right then, this question keeps me connected to what is important and provides valuable information when I set goals.