The First Step to Living a Happy Life

4 December, 2020

According to A Course in Miracles, we pay a very heavy price for not taking responsibility for our own life. That is – we can’t change it.

For some of us this might mean letting go of the blame and having a really good look in the mirror. The truth is, while we blame others for our misery, circumstances, particular situation we are stuck. This attitude can only breathe more conflict and suffering.

Bad things do happen. Betrayal of trust, thievery of time or money, words hurting deeply being spoken, heart break, physical or emotional violence and even the most horrible things that are beyond comprehension. Sometimes there is a serious trauma that needs to be dealt with before we even start considering reclaiming the responsibility for our lives. However, most of us get hung up on pretty minor things such as “s/he said” stories, “s/he broke my heart” stories, “s/he is mean to me” stories, “everyone around me is stupid” stories or “I don’t feel appreciated enough” stories.

What all these stories do to us is they deprive us of our own power to change our lives.

Remember, if you give something or somebody the power to make you miserable, you grant them the power to make you happy too. What are the chances?

I invite you to exercise this idea for a moment – to experience the power of designing your own life. Let’s change something unpleasant in your life right now. I promise you – it is a fun exercise and it works like magic!

There are two parts to it: not so fun part called “Pointing the finger at myself” and the fun part where you get to actually design the chosen area of your life into something beautiful.

Let’s start with “Pointing the finger at myself”:

Name the problematic area of your life you’re going to work on (i.e. relationship, health & vitality, new business/project, motherhood, work, etc.)

What is the story you keep on telling yourself? The story you are looking for is not a fairy tale but rather something along the lines of… “I am miserable because s/he did this to me…”, “I’m unhappy because they are treating me this way…”, “Poor me – nobody likes/loves me”.

Claim the responsibility. Where did you fall from grace in this area of your life? Where are you not giving something you wish to receive (i.e. love, compassion, non-judgement, understanding, etc.)? Even if somebody seems to be more guilty in one situation or the other, there is still some part you play – even if it’s just 5% of the total. Be humble.

Now it is time to do the fun part – to design this specific area of your life that you just took responsibility for!

There are 7 points to define (let the imagination run wild – get emotional!) on one A4 piece of paper. This is not an essay, so please be concise but ‘punchy’.

Vision. What does this area of my life ideally look like? Make it inspiring.

Purpose. Why is it important to me for this area of my life to change for the better? Why does it matter? Why do I want what I want?

Roles I Play. What roles do I play in this area of my life? Based on my vision, is there another role I could introduce?

3 Changes. What are the three things I must change in this area of my life in order to get it closer to my vision?

Resources. What resources do I have access to already that could help me to make these changes?

3-Month Commitment. What am I committed to achieving in this area of my life in the next three months? What is my 3-month outcome? Make it realistic.

3 Actions. What three actions can I take today that would get me closer to my vision?

Images. Find some images that would represent your vision – the end result – and add them on to your journal/piece of paper you are writing the answers on. 

Keep this one pager on your desk, on your bedside table, in the kitchen or wherever else appropriate, so you see it all the time.

Below you can see an example of the work done already for some clarity and inspiration.

I invite you to put your whole heart into it in order to experience all this little exercise has to offer.

To truly know something takes to experience it. And once we truly know something, we can’t ‘unknow’ it. Taking responsibility for your own experience will gradually become natural to you, not only in the area of life you just did the work on but in every other area too.

Don’t forget that we change one step at a time.