It happens to all of us. At times we feel stuck. We look around and are not happy with what we see. Our days may seem too short to accomplish all that we have set out to do. Our calendars may be too crowded with activities that we feel obligated to attend. Our hearts may sink a little lower with each passing day, quietly lamenting the discontent that creeps in and takes up residence in our lives.
It becomes very clear that in order to bring happiness back into our lives we need to make some changes. The good news is that we don’t necessarily need to alter our circumstances in order to promote happiness as much as we need to adjust our perception of those circumstances. When we make a conscious effort to reframe the things that trouble us, we are better equipped to make peace with our choices and decisions, and ultimately find happiness in our everyday lives.
Our situations are as varied as we are, and so are the changes in perspective necessary to cast a different light on our troubles. These three perspective shifts have been the first steps in reducing the overwhelm that filled my days and reclaiming a sense of contentment in my life:
1. We don’t need to label every situation or feeling
By nature, we affix a label to whatever we experience. Good, bad, hard, easy, unfair, expected, obligatory…the list is endless. Once we attach a label to any given circumstance, feeling or situation, the object labeled as such has a way of living up to its name.
I’ve found that letting my obligations be without any intervention of labeling on my part has had a profound effect on how I view them. Instead of rushing to categorize anything, I remove myself from the equation and try to see the feeling, emotion, request or circumstance in a different light. I try to uncover what it entails on my part, and then either accept it or deal with it. Following this method, I’ve found that at times the very things that I initially perceived as inconvenient I now see as opportunities to experience or learn something new.
2. No decision needs to be permanent… unless you want it to be
So many times we labour over a choice or an anticipated outcome to the extent that we become immobilized by fear. We tend to give ourselves one chance to figure it all out and to get it right. This puts unnecessary pressure on us.
If we feel unhappy in our jobs, relationships or other areas of life, sometimes we look at our options as fixed and definite. We then believe that we will forever suffer the consequences of a misstep. This fear keeps us exactly where we are and prevents us from exploring alternate courses for our lives; courses that may be more imaginative and fulfilling than we can ever dream. The freeing truth, however, is that we don’t have to be bound to a single outcome.
If we decide to venture out of the expected and our efforts fail, we can make the changes necessary in order to inspire new growth. Knowing that no decision needs to be permanent has allowed more freedom in my determinations, and has permitted me to find peace with exactly where I am at right now, knowing that I can make a change if needed when the time comes.
Written by Caitie Wiersma