Living in the Conscious
Choosing Growth Before Happiness
“Soak in everything around you. Look deeply. Observing is really the fuel to innovating.”
~ Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, Inc.
Beyond the practice of mindfulness, there is a state of being described as Living in the Conscious. This is a lifestyle centered around true awareness of personal life choices, and understanding how those choices are affecting the world around you. Along with this awareness is a discipline of sourcing personal joy and purpose beyond materialism and dysfunctional distractions, and to surrender to what you cannot control rather than dwelling in unnecessary fear or worry. Once you become aware of how your decisions direct your life path you can adjust accordingly and develop positive habits that can ultimately bring more balance into your life.
Choosing emotional growth before happiness may seem counterintuitive. Every day we are encouraged to be happy because everyone else is…right? The truth is many people are searching for happiness on a daily basis but end the day in defeat. Their jobs may be unsatisfying, their partners unloving, or their dreams unfulfilled. However, there is beauty in every day if we choose to source these moments through our own awareness. There will be difficult moments in life, but instead of becoming a victim of these experiences, look for the opportunity to learn from them.
When we own our choices and accept the outcome as potential growth we can move through difficult moments quicker. This is a mindset shift and will take practice to develop. Awareness is like a muscle that needs to be built up and used regularly. The following are three stages of awareness that you can incorporate into your daily routine that will help lead you to a more conscious lifestyle.
This first step will require some radical self-honesty, and the realization that perhaps the pain you are experiencing is a product of your own choices and behaviors. But this realization also means you have an opportunity to uncover the how and why of those choices. Much of our hurt, sadness and worry are from the choices we are making. If you’ve found yourself in a negative space, ask yourself how much of what you’re experiencing is a result of your own choices and behaviors, and own this fully. The benefit to this is that you now have an opportunity to create positive changes!
This is where you can disassemble the situation you are working through. In difficult times it can be easier to just move on to the next thing and not really assess what just happened. It’s painful, I get it. However, it is also an amazing opportunity for growth. Take the time to review how you got to where you are. What part can you own and modify? Who else is involved and how do you forgive him or her? Take the time to look for patterns, as many times we are unconsciously choosing to repeat our pain.
It is essential to process these experiences to see where you can adjust instead of continuing to “rinse and repeat.”
Allowing pain to pass through you may sound odd or unrealistic. However, it is incredibly important to release negative thoughts, feelings and emotions (I will cover this topic in a future article, The Healing Power of Forgiveness). After you’ve acknowledged and processed the experience, you can now release it. No matter how cruel, disrespectful, or dark the world can be when you live consciously you begin to perceive people and situations differently. You become empowered by the understanding that we are all part of the human experience and we are going to make mistakes and hurt people (purposefully or not). Knowing what you need to own and how to forgive releases you of holding on to past pain and frees your spirit for a new experience instead of rehashing the same issues over and over, which can lead to more sadness and pain.
Most of us see happiness as a destination. However, happiness is part of our journey and can be found throughout the day in subtle moments.
What if you desired growth before happiness? How would you perceive the world and what was happening around you differently? Would you feel empowered by a difficult experience if you knew you would learn and grow from it? Would you modify your behavior because of the growth?
Elle Martin is a certified integrative health and wellness coach and founder of SoHo Well+being, LLC.