There is one simple, revolutionary, foolproof principle you need to know if you want to be happy. In fact, I suspect you know it already. And here it is: What you feed with your attention is what will grow.
You hold the key to the golden door behind which your happiness lies. You can be relaxed, peaceful, present, and free. Really. How? Pay attention to what you are paying attention to.
Be Aware of What You Are Doing
Here is how it works. Say you worry or you are resentful or you complain and criticize. If these are the experiences you are interested in, if these are what you are feeding with your attention, what will be the effect on your reality? You won’t be happy. You are preoccupied with experiences that bring displeasure and malcontent. And this will be your experience.
You don’t have to try to be happy. Simply refuse to feed what doesn’t serve you. Stop fueling negativity, and you are making the space to feel happier and more peaceful. If you don’t pay attention to troubling thoughts and feelings, happiness will be revealed effortlessly. But don’t take my word for it. Try it out so you will know for yourself.
See? All you need to do is recognize what you are interested in. Then let go of what is interfering with your happiness. As an experiment, monitor your attention for a day or two to identify where your attention is actually going.
- What do you spend your time thinking about?
- Are you stuck in stories about the past and worries about the future?
- What feelings are going unexamined?
- What do you do to avoid being conscious of your thoughts and feelings?
- Are you sustaining thoughts of can’t, should, or shouldn’t?
Answer these questions, and you will know what you are paying attention to. Your unhappiness will no longer be a mystery. Now, make the choice to move your attention away from this downhill trend, step out from under the dark cloud, and you will discover that happiness has been here all along.
Transformation is Possible
A friend recently revealed that he used to be argumentative. He held strong opinions about politics, and was prepared to angrily assert his point of view at the drop of a hat, which he did often. Somehow he realized that he was fueling inner agitation, and he didn’t like how he felt. So he stopped – just like that. “I didn’t want to be in turmoil,” he told me.
Another friend saw the beginning of an old pattern and didn’t step into it. “I knew it was finished, so I looked for other options,” she said. She was successful in choosing just the right course of action and was ecstatic to see that real change is possible.
It’s really this easy. If you don’t like what you are doing, if you don’t like how it is making you feel, then stop. Don’t feed negativity, as all it breeds is more negativity.
Let Troubling Habits Go
I’m not suggesting that you think happy thoughts because happiness is so much greater than our thoughts. I’m not suggesting that you avoid the reality of your experience. Consider that your attention is like food and nourish only that which supports you.
Right now, in this moment, what can you stop feeding – judgment, bitterness, stress, conflict? Let yourself step off the hamster wheel of your habitual patterns. Recognize that you can relax. You can be bright and open to the joy of the moment.
Find out how you get in your own way, then choose peace. Choose love. Choose to be alive rather than dull and flat and separated from life.
Pay attention to what supports you, and get ready to be transformed.
Is negative thinking ingrained in you (like it was in me)? Can you shift your attention? I’d love to hear…