Thinking Out Loud

Going Back To Go Forward…

Thankfully, I am a happy person. This is not because it just landed on my lap, it is not because I’m living some idea of distorted reality and it is certainly not because of the absence of any worries in my life. It is simply because I choose to be.

So many of us fall into that dreaded cycle of chasing the elusive happy; I’ll be happy when I get my promotion, I’ll be happy when I buy a bigger house, I’ll be happier when I’m two stone lighter, I’ll be happier when blah blah blah…..always in the future but never content with being happy in the now. Sound familiar? I am guilty of this myself sometimes, after all I am only human too but I always catch myself quick enough to avoid being swept back under the rug. I stop, breathe and remind myself that forever wanting more is not only exhausting, it is setting up a negative repeat cycle of defeat. Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting more but basing your happiness only on getting it is quite frankly, crazy and there’s already enough crazy in our world.

It’s important to point out that while fulfilling wishes is an absolute wonderful feeling it is even more important that we take the time to actually stop and reflect back on every single thing we have already achieved in our lives. I’m not talking just the big moments like weddings, births, dream jobs or graduations. I’m talking everything you can remember that ever made you feel good because you achieved it. Maybe you studied hard and got top marks, maybe you set up the business you always wanted to, maybe you came first in a singing competition or were just so happy you managed to enter despite your overwhelming fear of performing in public. Recall it all!

So with this in mind, something else I do to avoid falling into the elusive happiness chase is an annual Reverse Bucket List. And how does this work exactly? Well, we are all familiar with the concept of bucket lists, we also know the importance of gratitude and how practicing it can help us to live happier more fulfilled lives. So why not combine the two and try your very own Reverse Bucket List!

The reverse kicks in by reflecting on all you have already accomplished, even if it isn’t the way you planned your life to be, just be thankful for it all. To quote Gretchin Rubin in her book – The Happiness Project – “Gratitude is important to happiness. Studies show that consistently grateful people are more happier and satisfied with their lives. Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you are grateful for what you have, you’re not consumed with wanting something different or something more”.

Allow yourself some time to focus on doing your reversed bucket list but don’t over think it either. Simply allow yourself to remember happy moment’s right up to now. Quite often I find myself asking where will I start but all it takes is one good memory to create a ripple effect. Each year I do mine I rediscover so many wonderful things about myself with each memory sparking another that was long forgotten. I fall in love with life again and feel so fulfilled at everything I have achieved, usually giving me a much needed confidence boost. Another great thing about doing it is how it highlights across many levels all the important things in your life and therefore enabling you to realign and move forward.

Going back has never been so beneficial so get cracking! Enjoy reliving the good things and then move forward with grace and gratitude ॐ

I would like to dedicate this piece to all of those trying to find their happy.