My Journey – Finding Happiness and Inner Peace

I’ve been doing a number of posts lately on our travel adventures, so I decided to switch things up. I am about to share a very personal journey in the hopes that it might be beneficial to those of who are kind enough to spend a few moments in your life to read what I share. Hey, maybe it’ll even help you live a better, more happy, and more fulfilled life if that is what you are seeking.

(Don’t worry, there are definitely many more posts about our travel adventures to come, so, stay tuned!)

For those of you who may not know, my husband and I have made some major changes in our lives recently. Both physical changes and philosophical changes.

Over the last 7 months, we’ve sold our house, moved 5 times to 3 different cities, traveled for 6 weeks, changed jobs, and finally achieved our dream of living in a little cottage walking distance to the beach, healthy food, good coffee shops, fun bars and restaurants, and easy access to all of our favorite outdoor activities (hiking, biking, swimming, water sports, etc.). Although from the outside this may seem like a sudden change of plans, it has actually been a process in the works for about 1.5-2 years for us as a couple.

For me, it’s really taken 8 years of hard work, frustrations, mental struggle, time, money, and some tears to finally make these changes and ultimately figure myself out. Once I was able to figure myself out, our growth as a couple soared. Man, does it feel good to have worked through those growing pains to end up where we are today. I would do it all again. We (and me as an individual) are finally where we feel we are supposed to be, living life in a way that is meaningful, productive, fun, and successful to us. We have acted on our instincts and started to actually live the way we want to every day!

More than just feeling happy though…I finally feel a sense of peace, self-confidence, understanding, clarity, and ease. I have put the time and effort into finding my way and understanding myself. I can be confident in the decisions that we are making and be happy in the life we’re living.

That is the point of me writing this to you. I have become a true believer that happiness is something that comes from within. It is something that is chosen. It does not come from material things around you. It does not come from life circumstances.

“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” ~Zhuangzi

It comes from looking inside and being truly honest with yourself. Although amazing people in your life bring you joy, they cannot alone make you truly happy. You have to find it and cultivate it within yourself. You have to find what makes you tick. You have to identify what drives you, what you are passionate about, and what makes life meaningful to you. Not what is meaningful or important to others. Not what a larger society says should be important. You have to get to know and understand who you are. You have to be kind, respectful and not judgmental of yourself. And, you have to love yourself (believe me, I know this one can be HARD, probably the hardest of all, but also the most important).

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No this is not an inclusive list, nor an end all be all. However, they are conclusions that I have drawn from internal struggle, turmoil, and tough personal work. I have been wanting to feel the way I do now for a LONG time. I have wanted to figure out what really makes me happy. I have wanted to find what I enjoy working for and what makes life meaningful to me. I finally feel like my puzzle pieces fit seamlessly together. I have worked hard and earned being able to feel this way, and it feels amazing. I feel lucky. I feel grateful.

I do realize that this is not an end point. Rather, it is a life-long journey that will require work throughout the years as things change and I pass through different life stages. However, I believe I have created a solid foundation to stand on and to use to evolve and grow as the years pass. Although there will always be challenges, I see this as a positive, as it continues to fuel personal growth, development, and purpose.

Sorry folks…I wish there was an easy way, but the only way to achieve growth is through hard work and being truly honest with yourself. Doing so leads to personal insight, which stimulates growth. But, it’s worth it. And it’s never too late.

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How did I get to where I am now? I’d like to share a few things that have been most beneficial to me and my journey:

1. A gratitude journal. This has been one of the most helpful. I cannot express enough how important it is to focus on the good things in your life and feel truly grateful for them. If you focus on the bad all of the time, well, then life will feel crappy. You’ve heard the saying the “grass is always greener on the other side.” Truth is, the grass is green where you water it, so water your own damn grass!

2. Therapy. This may not be for everyone, and not everyone always has a good experience in therapy. But, if you’re willing to work, READY to work, and can find the right fit, it can truly be a helpful and transformative experience. It was for me. It gave me the support I needed to work through my personal demons so I could be a more complete person outside of my marriage. It has had an extremely positive effect on our relationship as a result. It has improved our marriage, the way we relate to each other, the way we work together, made us closer, and has truly helped me love in a deep and more meaningful way. You really do have to figure out you before you can establish a healthy relationship with another person. If you feel like you need that extra help to work through through personal issues, then it may make sense for you to seek that extra help.

3. Support. Find one person that you can count on to be there, not judge you, and understand your process. I am lucky that one of these supportive people was my husband, who also found it important to figure out what worked for us as individuals and as a couple. Often, it may be important to seek someone outside your inner circle because ultimately you may be shaking that up…see #2.

3. Mindfulness Meditation. This one is still a work in progress, but I have been attempting to develop a consistent meditation habit specifically based around mindfulness practices. I have found it to be calming, to ease anxiety, and to help me be comfortable just being with myself without distractions. It has helped me develop a sense of self-awareness, understanding, and the ability to exert control over (some) runaway thoughts. It has also helped me stay in the present moment so that I may more deeply enjoy and appreciate those precious moments in life, big and small. I have found the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center to be a wonderful place to start learning and a fantastic resource.

4. Being open and accepting. To yourself and to change. It’s definitely not easy to break out of a mold, but it certainly is rewarding.

5. Figuring out what my beliefs and values are. This is a tough one because it requires separating yourself from your environment and deciding what is actually important to you versus what others think should be important to you. It definitely requires a healthy dose of evaluation and honesty.

6. Letting go of what I think I “should” do, and doing what I actually want to do, in a responsible way. Sometimes what you need to do for yourself may not be right for others. This is a tricky one and requires some evaluation, as it is possible others may be hurt along the way.

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that fits all cases.” ~Carl Jung

By no means is this an exhaustive list or and end all be all to find happiness or inner peace. They are just some things that have really helped me throughout the last few years, and that I thought might be beneficial for others.

 

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If you are intrigued by this post or have any other questions for me regarding the post, please feel free to contact me using the form below, as I would be happy to answer any questions or have a chat with you.

 

2 Comments

  1. Jill says:

    Great post, Rachel! Really helpful insight and advice. I’m so glad you guys are finally right where you’re supposed to be! We need to catch up more soon 🙂

    Like

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