Do you constantly read about people who are on the path to happiness? Does it drive you nuts when you think you can't have the same thing? It certainly has driven me nuts. This led me to think about what pushed me to change and get what I want. And I'm convinced it's one thing. It's the only way you can get what you want. But first, some back-story on ultimately achieving happiness.
Happiness is crushing our lives.
Happiness is one of the most abused words in the English language. There are books written about it, countless research studies completed, "happy people", and even happy meals. And it all means different things to different people.
It's been pounded into the our heads as a society that happiness is what we strive for.
Are you happy? Does this make you happy? Have you found happiness? All of these questions are weak attempts to figure out someone's emotional state. But, it isn't real.
If you answered yes to all of those questions above, are you being truthful? Many people lie and still say yes. They hide behind their own happiness shield. When, in reality, you're not happy. You may be miserable, distraught, stressed, let-down, or heck, even ecstatic.
These other emotions make happiness a norm. A place where either you factually or fictitiously need to be. It's the destination your friends and family strive to get you to. And your significant other, boss, co-workers, too. They all unconsciously strive to keep you happy. Bit there's one big mistake here.
This isn't the triage unit. It's not like "For happiness, please apply pressure." Pressure comes from 10 different fingers - or everyone in your life, trying to make you happy. It doesn't work that way.
You are the only one who knows your true state of being.
You know when you're upset and don't want to show it. You know when you want to burn your exes stuff in a fit of rage. And you know when you want to smile for the rest of your life because you just landed a huge promotion. You know this. Your Mom doesn't know it. Your brother doesn't know it. You know it.
Yes, you can share your emotions with others, but only you know the true emotions you're feeling. It manifests inside you. And it never leaves. Whether angry or elated, your emotions are yours and yours only.
So, what if you're not satisfied with your emotions - or with where your life is? What would you do? Would you complain about it or would you do something? Would you sit on the couch all day or get off your butt. You make the choice every single day.
Sometimes, it's a day to call your buds up and go for a run. Other days, it's the perfect night for Ben and Jerry's and a movie (tears included).
One day comes along in your life where you realize a pivotal change needs to be made. It's the day you put your foot down and say "I need to take control." Whatever the reason may be, you have made this choice. It could make you happier. And it could be the hardest time in your life.
I want to share with you what I believe is the greatest agent of dramatic change. The change that will get you what you want.
Be selfish. It's that simple.
Throw the first grade lesson of not being selfish out the window. Throughout much of our lives, we give. We give blood, money, time, tears, hugs, food, etc. For years you support others in their endeavors. You find a way to volunteer at the local soup kitchen. You donate money to a charitable foundation.
Stop giving and be selfish.
Take control of your life. Do what you want, when you want. Ignore everything. Focus on you and what you want. The emotions you want to feel. If it's happiness, go for it. If you want to feel awesome, be my guest. Healthy and confident? I'm right there with you.
So many people don't realize this. By being selfish you have the ability to dramatically change your life. It doesn't matter what other people think. It matters what you think. It doesn't matter what's going to happen down the road. What's happening right now is a lot more important.
How did I come to this conclusion?
It started with being overweight. And then I felt under-valued in my current job. Then I was single. It was at the lowest of lows - a blender of emotions and problems. I needed to change. This was not the emotion I wanted to feel. I didn't want these events to control me. So what did I do? For six-months, I became selfish. I focused on me and only me. I barely posted what I was doing to Facebook. I rarely connected with friends. I didn't do much of anything. And only focused on this dramatic shift to achieve what I wanted.
But what about alienating people?
People are here on this earth to help you or hurt you. I'd love for everyone to be part of the "help you" team, but that just isn't the case.
Let me tell you a story: A good friend of mine called several weeks ago looking for career advice. She was worried about burning bridges and trying to land a new position. This clearly upset her. I told her to get selfish. If the bridge-burner didn't think highly of her, then there's no bridge to burn. Driven and determined, all she needed was a kick in the pants to put her in the driver's seat of her own life. And not to worry about the other passengers in the car.
It was this kick in the pants that motivated her to make a change in her life. And she got the new position days later. The lesson? Stop worrying about what other people think. It doesn't matter if you lose a friend in the process. There's 7 billion other people you can meet on your journey.
Don't be permanently selfish
There is a fine line between give and get. When you're a giver, it's about time you get. Take some time for yourself and be selfish. How long? However long you need to make your emotional shift to be satisfied with where you are.
Conversely, If you've been things handed to you for years, stop being selfish and learn to give. Dish out soup at a homeless shelter, be a youth mentor, or simply help a random stranger out. Only after you've given for so long, are you allowed to be selfish.
This post is for the givers. The people who so tirelessly devote their lives to other people. Think about yourself for a couple of months. Be a game-changer. Shake things up. Because it's about time you put yourself in a place you're satisfied with.