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“Happiness comes from being who you actually are, instead of who you think you were supposed to be. Don’t apologize, don’t explain, don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean and rewrite it!” —Shonda Rhimes

What is happiness? It means something different to everyone. I love the quote above because it’s the perfect example of how to be your happiest. I think we all struggle to find our true happiness. Instead of looking within, we look outside of ourselves to see what everyone else is doing and try to create our happiness through someone else’s journey. But our journey is very unique to us and what makes someone else happy may not make us happy.

I think the reason we look to others for guidance is because we truly don’t know who we are. Have you ever taken time to reflect and figure out what makes you, YOU? It takes a lot of work and self-reflection and I don’t think we want to take the time or have the strength to do it. Daily self-reflection is the bridge to happiness. When you dive in and figure out who you really are, you open the door to a more fulfilling life. And when I say, “figure out who you are,” I don’t mean the labels you identify yourself with such as, mother, father, sister, brother, nurse, teacher, chef, athlete, etc. Or your accomplishments such as, masters degree in teaching, doctorate in psychology, certified personal trainer, etc., I mean, who you are without your physical form. We all have a soul that does not identify with the labels we give ourselves. And that is where we find our true happiness.

We have to figure out what makes our heart sing. This doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s the little things in life like hiking in the mountains or having a cup of tea in the morning. Or maybe you enjoy cooking or organizing your closets. It’s the little things that put a smile on our faces. I think we make it more difficult for ourselves than we need to and assume we have to move mountains to be happy. It doesn’t take much, you just have to figure out what happiness means to YOU!

We don’t have to feel ashamed for what we like or don’t like in life. We don’t have to apologize for who we are and we don’t have to conform. Everyone was put on this earth to do something different and we all have very different likes and dislikes and that’s what makes us unique. So why do we try so hard to conform to the masses and do what everyone else is doing? I know for myself, I do have trouble at times expressing my TRUE likes and dislikes, because I am afraid of being judged. I think it’s a common fear, but we have to break free of that fear. If we don’t express our true feelings, we can never truly be happy. The beauty of life is that we can create whatever we want for ourselves! We have the power to live the life we want and we don’t even realize it! We have no limitations and no constraints. The only limitations and constraints we have are the ones we put on ourselves. Whatever we can imagine, we can have.

Happiness isn’t tangible; it’s a feeling. The only way to find your true happiness is to let yourself be free to be YOU! You have to work daily to achieve the happiness you want in life by living in the moment, not in the past or future, and recognizing what makes you shine. If you find you are in a situation where you have a difference of opinion, don’t be afraid to express it. As long as you are coming from a place of love and kindness, your opinion matters. You aren’t being rude by disagreeing with someone. The more you express yourself, the happier you will feel. Follow your heart and even if it seems silly, do what feels good in the moment: dance, sing, laugh, sit quietly, scream. The more you listen to your intuition and let your heart guide you, the more joy you will feel and the happier you will become. Happiness is a broad term, so mold it to fit YOUR needs and let go of the idea that it should look a certain way. My happiness is in my daughter’s smile, the quiet time I get at night to watch my favorite show, the quality time I spend with my family, the laughter I share with my husband, the Christmas lights that hang in my house, the sound of Frank Sinatra on the stereo, and so much more! What does your happiness look like?

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