The Practice of Happy

Dr. Nicole asks you: What if happiness has nothing to do with doing?
Dr. Nicole asks you: What if happiness has nothing to do with doing?

Are you happy? Yes, happy? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you validate your own reflection? Are you making time for yourself? Are you living your best life? Everywhere you turn, the word “happy” offers an opportunity to weigh every ounce of your life as if you’re on a calorie-counting diet from hell. So, how is it that individuals are some of the best at business, parenting, friendships and partnerships, yet the art of happiness regularly alludes so many of them?

I can admit that I’ve looked for happy and felt enthralled in an unsolicited game of hide-and-seek. I’ve tried to buy happy and figured out my money was useless toward the purchase. I’ve even sought to fake happy and kicked myself when I realized I could lie to others, but was no good at lying to myself. But my favorite, my absolute favorite, was the quid pro quo of happy. You know the one. If this happens, if that happens, if he does, if she does, if they do, then I’ll be happy. How did I do that? How did I manage to make happiness a thing that only happened when something outside of me was happening? Wisdom always positioned happiness as a state of “being,” but here came my revelation—I had always positioned happiness in regard to doing. And I’m an expert at doing. So are you.

You’re an expert at doing this, doing that, doing for him, her, them and everyone in between. With years of practice, my doing muscles are at the top of their game—strong, lean and ready to tackle almost any demand. But being? That was an underdeveloped muscle and a very different story. I got so much validation from doing that it often became the default function that successfully short-circuited my being efforts. Rarely does it garner the same validation and affirmation, so we’ve allowed the art of doing to bully us out of strengthening and seeing the value in our being muscles. So, what can we do about it? How do we step off of the proverbial merry-go-round and into what many of us desire most: real contentment? There are five steps to getting you on your way.

Step One: Once and for all, accept that happiness is not trying to allude you. On the contrary, it sees itself as one with you.

Step Two: Practice being vs. doing. You’ve been successful at many things because you’ve cultivated them until your effort gave way to mastery. If you’re honest, doing what you think will make you happy has often been your chosen point of practice, while being content—truly content—has rarely trumped that effort.

Step Three: Own the power of your perspective. How you choose to view, see and feel a thing is directly related to your experience of that thing. Your perspective is key to the happiness you seek.

Step Four: Commit to an intimate connection with God, and let that exploration help you access your happy within. Your connection will fuel your appreciation and be the source of filling your empty spaces.

Step Five: Go back to step one.

Together, with each step, breath, obstacle, question, answer and blessing, seek to do the miraculous. Use the words “Thank you,” no matter the packaging. Like you, I am also practicing day by day to embrace my happy and witness the growth of my own being muscle.