February 17, 2015

Seven Mistakes We Make in the Pursuit of Happiness #7

#7 We tie our happiness to the futile idea of perfection.
Oftentimes, when we strive for happiness, what we are really aiming for is to feel perfect.
But perfection is an illusion.
We are beautifully imperfect beings, operating in a very imperfect world, and that is just the way it’s meant to be.  Striving for perfection is a hollow goal, one that can never be achieved.
Society constantly bombards us with doctored images of perfection in marketing and popular media.  Do not buy into this illusion; it will only lead you into darkness.  Embrace your quirks, your flaws and the fact that life is a roller coaster at times.  Strive for excellence, have high standards… but never confuse that with the crippling behavior of perfectionism.
Rather than striving to be perfect, embrace and appreciate all the beautiful, natural imperfections of life, and use these things to grow stronger, wiser, and more whole as an individual. 
The secret to a fulfilling life is wholeness, not happiness
Pursuing wholeness comes down to accepting and embracing all aspects of life – sadness, frustration, pain, failure and happiness, as well as realizing that all these things are equally as important for a balanced, fulfilling and truly happy experience.
It’s about understanding that life is not just a bowl of cherries, and that in order to grow and learn, we rely on the harsh realities of life. The cherry pits.
In fact, even though it’s hard, we need to be grateful for these things.
Rather than trying to hide from adversities, we need to embrace them… because we know that they will make us stronger, more passionate, motivated, versatile, confident, resilient, capable and ultimately more whole as individuals – as well as adding more meaning and deeper fulfillment to our lives.
“Everyone says we grow through pain and as soon as they experience it they say, ‘Quick!  Move on!  Cheer up!’  Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all those things which make us who we are.”― Hugh Mackay
How to strive for wholeness
In order to get the most out of your pursuit for wholeness, the following are some key things to do in your daily life:
                Embrace rather than avoid life’s adversities.  Laugh at your mistakes and learn from them.  Joke about your troubles and gather strength from them.  Have fun with the challenges you face and then conquer them.
                Rather than shutting out or suppressing negative emotions, allow yourself to really feel them, so you can deal with them.  Take full, unhindered control of your emotions, so your emotions do not control you behind your back.
                Find peace with yourself and your past.  Rather than remaining angry or hurt throughout your life, choose to forgive yourself and others, and try to actually appreciate the experiences for what they have taught you.
                Proactively identify knowledge gaps in your life experience and take steps to fill them, even if it requires you to stretch your comfort zone.
                Shift some of your attention away from what you want, and refocus it on what others need.
Will you choose wholeness over happiness?
When you choose to actively seek wholeness, your life will feel much more fulfilling.You will feel more satisfied and happy with your life, because rather than feeling burdened by life’s challenges, you will be on a constant journey of growth and discovery.  Everything, good or bad, will move you forward.
Instead of feeling like a victim in life, you will be able to appreciate and value everything that comes your way.  After all, you’re not a victim.  You’re a strong human being.  You have an interesting life, and it is magnificent.  Keep this in mind, and live it accordingly.
And while you’re out there doing your thing, you will also learn to love, accept and understand yourself better as you learn to overcome the brokenness inside you.
I challenge you to choose wholeness from today onward.
The next time you feel sad or disappointed, don’t try to shut it out or distract yourself from it.  Instead, accept it as who you are, be okay with it and allow it to add new layers of understanding and awareness to your life.

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