Wholehearted Living Leads to Happiness

Wholehearted living leads to happiness

Wholehearted living leads to happiness

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the link between happiness and wholehearted living.

First a quick update:

“Appreciation & Significance”
Yes, there is a link between appreciating people and feeling significant and becoming significant. Praising and expressing appreciation for people makes you a leader and attracts people to you. Read more.

Follow me on Twitter– You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert

“Spirituality Vs Religion”
What is the difference between spirituality and religion? Watch my appearance and the debate on the Catholic Channel: Watch the video:

Now, let’s talk about the link between happiness and wholehearted living.

What does it mean to be wholehearted?

According to research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Brene Brown, wholehearted living refers to having a strong sense of love and belonging, and believing that you are worthy of love and belonging.

Brown argues that you can only experience love and belonging by being vulnerable, by allowing your heart to open and by being willing to experience all of the emotions, including disappointment and even rejection.

The paradox is that by being vulnerable by choosing to be wholehearted you can experience happiness and joy!

In her book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”, Brene Brown presents “10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living.”

Here are her ten guideposts followed by my own interpretations and suggested strategies & solutions for each guidepost

1. Cultivate Authenticity – Let go of what people think
What do you believe people think about you? Do you constantly try to live up to their image of you? Perhaps they expect you to be the clown, the entertainer or the martyr; it doesn’t matter what they think of you, it matters if you are concerned more who you are expressing and demonstrating to them. Are you expressing your real self? Are you living according to your beliefs or are you hiding, changing or denying your beliefs to get their approval?

Solution: Stop doing whatever it takes just to fit in. Be willing to be courageous and face rejection – not everyone will like, approve or agree with you. Your authentic friends will be authentic with you and will accept you even if you both disagree. If you and your friend have different values, then be willing to have integrity and maintain your values, even if it means letting go of the friendship.

2. Cultivate Self-Compassion – Let go of perfectionism
If, as a child, you were criticized and judged more than you were encouraged and guided, then you will most likely be attached to perfectionism – always fearing of making mistakes, failing, or not coming up to par. Further, if you are a perfectionist, then you will be treating people the same way – judging and criticizing them.

Notice how damaging that is to relationships with others and yourself i.e. you don’t feel good and you find it hard to connect with others; you fear rejection.

Solution: Express to yourself that which you didn’t receive as a child – kindness, compassion, acceptance (of mistakes and human imperfection), patience and encouragement. Say to yourself: “Next time, I will do it differently because I have learned from this mistake.” Express the same to others. Note: your parents weren’t perfect either; if they were, they wouldn’t have criticized and condemned you!

3. Cultivate a Resilient Spirit – Let go of numbing and powerlessness
No matter who you are or what you do, you will face uncertainty, adversity, stress, struggle and loss. No one has a perfect life and everyone experiences moments or phases of powerlessness! Some people respond to these challenges by distracting themselves, denying, running away or trying to numb the emotions and pain. That approach never solves the problem and if not today, then tomorrow, you will have to face the challenges and adversity, along with other consequences if you have been running away and numbing yourself.

Solution: Develop resilience – the ability to face the challenges and bounce back. How? Focus on developing problem-solving skills; ask for help; be open to social support; connect with others (family & friends), share your challenges with them; develop your spirituality (as a way to instill hope, cope and manage your emotions) – a belief in connection grounded in love and compassion, a belief in something greater than yourself, living from your heart, and living with purpose and joy!

4. Cultivate Gratitude and Joy – Let go of scarcity and fear of the dark
Are you enough? Is there ever enough? What is enough? These are tough questions when you expect perfection or when you subconsciously don’t think you are good enough i.e. worthy.

The “fear of the dark” refers to fear of uncertainty – the unknown – or worse, the fear that the worst is going to happen. How often are you experiencing something joyful when you suddenly allow your mind to kill it with a fearful image of tragedy?

Solution: Commit to enjoying every moment – even those ‘ordinary moments’! Allow yourself to soften in vulnerability i.e. become vulnerable so you can actually experience joy! Stop rehearsing tragedy when you experience joy or when you feel overwhelmed by joy.

Joy is an attitude of gratitude; yes, I concede it sounds kitsch. Happiness is tied to circumstances while joy is a mindset that focuses on the things and people in your life for which you can be thankful. Don’t take anything for granted – be grateful for everything you have. Being grateful helps you to enjoy life rather than thinking about what you don’t have, which creates anxiety and suffering. Practice being grateful daily; I mentally speak my gratitude list every morning as I walk down to the beach to do my sunrise yoga. Read more

5. Cultivate Intuition and Trusting Faith – Let go of the need for certainty
We want to control every aspect of our lives and our world. Part of maturity is awakening to the fact that we cannot control everything or everyone! However, the attempt and desire to do so creates anxiety and walls around us. You cannot allow love into your life (intimacy or authentic friendship and bonds) when you try to control everything and everyone.

We try desperately to control because we fear uncertainty.

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” – Brene Brown

“Intuition is not a single way of knowing—it’s our ability to hold space for uncertainty, and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith, and reason.” – Brene Brown

Intuition is not a fancy emotion; it is an unconscious associating process – like a mental puzzle based on all of your knowledge, memories and experiences.

Intuition sometimes will give you a message of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and other times it will direct you to seek more information or to be cautious.

“To say ‘I’m going to engage Wholeheartedly in my life’ requires believing without seeing.“ – Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Solution: Accept that there is no certainty and there is constant change in life. Choose to control your response! Resist the urge to force the issue or the decision. Beware of polling other people for answers or direction; listen to your gut instinct; have faith in your inner voice. Beware of charging forth out of desperation or exasperation while refusing to stop and listen to your intuition.

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty” – Anne Lamott

In next week’s Success Newsletter, I will reveal the remaining 5 of the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living by Brene Brown, along with my own interpretations and suggested strategies & solutions.

If you want further help and support, consider a private, one-on-one session with me. Click here to book your session.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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