What it really means to “Do what makes you happy”

We have all heard that phrase at one time or the other, “Do what makes you happy” but what does it really mean and is it possible to live purposefully if we always do what makes us happy?

I have always struggled with these words, I am a classic overthinker and instead of just accepting words for what they are, I always tend to over study and overanalyse everything. This has its advantages and has served me well many times and has been useful in helping me grow as an individual. However, sometimes it leads me to decision paralysis as i spend too much time in the thinking zone and not enough in the doing zone.

When it comes to these words though, i am glad that I did spend time analysing and thinking about how this fits in with the notion of being the best version of ourselves. After all, if we always do what makes us happy, we could end up making bad choices or hurting people. E.g. being selfish and ignoring others needs, eating or drinking too much because it feels good at the time, not taking the time to exercise because it’s too hard and we would rather chill out and watch movies instead, having an extramarital affair etc., you get the gist.

The reality is we cannot always do what makes us happy because happiness in itself is a transient and fickle emotion. I have talked about this in many of my blogs and it is also the foundation of my first book “Screaming helps” which focuses on helping us find contentment as opposed to happiness because I see contentment as a more stable emotion.

What we need to understand is that doing what makes you happy so that you can become your better self does not mean being selfish, hurting others or being reckless. It means having the courage to step out and do something different because you would like the experience. It means being authentic and having the courage to be yourself.

It means not being shackled by societal norms to fit specific stereotypes of what is normal or what is expected. If you can safely say, doing what makes you happy will not hurt anyone and will not impact on your own long term happiness or sabotage your efforts at becoming better. So for example, overeating or bingeing might feel good at the point in time when you are doing it but with experience you realise that you usually end up with regret the next day and other negative emotions such as a sense of disappointment in yourself, guilt and perhaps shame. This shows you that even though overeating may have felt good for all of 30 mins when you were doing it, it does not make you happy in the long run. The short term thrill does not outweigh the negative emotions it brings.

So where does this leave you? you learn how to do many things that will enable you to exist in your authentic self such as;

Learning to say no and not feel guilty about it.

Learning to do more of the things that make you happy.

Learning to say no to toxic people, drama and any all round sh*t that doesn’t serve you.

This will bring you total freedom to be yourself and to truly be able to do more of what makes you happy.

Tayo xoxo

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Contentment is “everything”

There is so much conflict, anger and fear in our world right now. People are angry about so many things, Brexit, politicians, capitalism, climate change, Donald Trump, the possibility of WWIII and so on. How do we find peace and contentment when there is so much negativity around us? My book “Screaming helps” discusses 10 key attributes that you can work on to help you lead a more contented life.

Contentment helps you deal with everyday life, the good and the bad.  From a very young age, a collective of people, experiences and situations sell us the idea that life is meant to be fun, to end well, the good guys always come out on top and things are meant to work out in the end.  The media, movies we watch, books we read and stories that are told to us from a young age all seem to agree with this idea. It is no surprise, therefore, that a lot of people grow up expecting things to work out and that they will find their place in life. As we get older, we start to place importance on different aspects of life which we think will be our missing link, some of us think that marriage is the missing link or perhaps having our own children, others think attending university, or getting a great job will bring them contentment. 

Unfortunately, for most of us, we soon start to discover that life is far from a fairy tale and bad things that we did not plan can happen to us. Life is tough and we will all face trials at some point in our life. A lot of us don’t have the resilience and fortitude to deal with this realisation because we never expected it in the first place and we, therefore, start the cycle of searching for something to replace whatever we’ve lost or any emptiness we feel. Yet, the more we search the less we find.  Those that are not as successful in life probably spend a lot of time thinking that things would be so different only they had gone to University, or had a better career or married a particular person but this is just perpetuating that lie because even those that have managed to carve out successful careers or have a better standard of living and education still struggle to be content, the only difference is that worrying about money may not necessarily be on their list of challenges. So mediocrity is not what makes us unhappy although many of us cling on to this hoping that once we “become something” everything will fall into place.

Sadly, this is usually not the case and once we start to realise this, we must work out how to find peace and be content in whatever situation we find ourselves. Contentment allows us to absorb whatever comes our way.  First, we must accept that pain and suffering are part of life, once we accept this, the next step is to think about how to navigate life, good and bad successfully. I believe finding contentment is the key. Contentment is really a state of being thankful, no matter what’s going on in our lives, whether we have a little or a lot. Even when there are things happening to us that are out of our control, we can still be content because contentment is about training our minds to appreciate what we have and learning to master our emotions so we don’t let the external circumstances dictate how we feel and act. 

Screaming helps is available now on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Screaming-helps-how-find-contentment/dp/1692947109/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=screaming+helps&qid=1578492459&sr=8-1