“But I don’t know what would make me happy!”
Lorena was a 52-year-old public servant and mother of 2 teenage boys who’d hired me to help her make life worth living. Her vitality was spent after years of working at an unrewarding job, raising children, taking care of aging parents and trying to keep her marriage together.
This experience is so common for middle-aged women. You may recognize aspects of your life in Lorena’s story. I’ve certainly found myself on the task treadmill wondering why all my hard work wasn’t producing the happiness I longed for. When our lives feel burdensome it’s because we’re not living in alignment with who we really are. It’s so easy to fall into this pattern.
Everything in our world puts pressure on us to conform to external expectations of what we should be doing. We’re presented with a list of pre-determined career and relationship options and expected to pick one. Do you recall anyone taking a deep interest in who you really are to determine what would make you happy? Not just what abilities and interests would match you up with the menu of job options? Did anyone support you in making a conscious choice about marriage, having children, and if or when these experiences would be right for you? If your answers are “yes”, you’ve received a gift beyond measure.
Most of us haven’t. We’ve fallen into careers and relationships without being clearly aware if they’re meant for us. Often, we’ve chosen based on what others expect of us. We give up our power to decide for ourselves.
So, what’s the answer if you’re living life like Lorena? It wasn’t true that Lorena didn’t know what would make her happy. It’s just that the answer seemed inaccessible. It had been buried in her brain under a pile of repetitive memory programming to do with work, daily tasks and caregiving.
If we accept that it’s a process of discovery and go on an archeological dig into our deepest consciousness and heart’s desires, we’ll find these 2 keys to happiness:
Life purpose and creativity.
You may be saying, “Whoa, I have no idea what my Life Purpose is.” Fear not. Don’t put yourself under pressure to come up with the ultimate answer. Anything can serve as a purpose if it gets you out of bed with a smile on your face,
looking forward to the day.
Start indulging in the smaller acts of service that light you up: volunteering to walk dogs at the local pound; teaching children how to grow food; brightening the day of an elderly friend in a nursing home; greeting everyone you meet with a smile and a “hello” ... The more you indulge in the smaller acts of purpose, the more you’ll be led you to your greater purpose and to ever-expanding happiness.
Creativity allows you to flow with vitality.
It can bring a sense of timelessness, inner peace, joy and spiritual connection. Everyone is creative. It doesn’t matter what form it takes – cooking, interior decorating, basket weaving, fine art – as long as it fulfills you.
Lorena’s archeological dig led her to memories of being happy creating stories and drawing. She burst into the smile of an excited child as she described this pastime. Eventually, she decided the vehicle for her life purpose and creativity would be writing and illustrating children’s books. Now, as Lorena performs her daily tasks, she’s happy. Her reward at the end of her day is to create stories for children to help them feel happy.
Align with your unique purpose and creative expression and happiness will arrive.
Dr. Lucille Necas is a Fulfillment Coach for women and founder of “The Joy of Purpose”. She works with mature women who’ve woken up to the fact that they’re missing out on joy and long to find it so that they may thrive, not just survive. Her day job is being a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Dr. Lucille is a Trailblazer for Happy Healthy Women in Toronto, Canada. Connect with her on Instagram @lucillenecas
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