„Happiness is a journey, not a destination.“The Dalai Lama
This is as true to me as it was more than 4 years ago when I originally wrote this post. Today, I’m taking a new look at my personal Happiness Recipe. I feel the past four years have changed me as a person tremendously. Therefore, I’m currently taking some time to find my way back to myself, with intention and focus, to figure out what my path forward looks like. Happiness is and always will remain an ongoing journey, ever changing, just like I will always be a work in progress and the best project I’ll ever work on.
Taking a look back at my Happiness Recipe from 2014, it was something that grounded me. It brought me back to my roots and helped me remember what this journey is about in tough times:
„All we need is ourselves, a dash of gratitude, a spoonful of hope, a generous amount of love and some wonderful childlike imagination. And above all do not forget to sprinkle that with a little attitude of Do-More-of-What-Makes-You-Happy.“Nina’s Happiness Recipe 2014
While a lot of the principles I applied years back still remain the same, I feel that they are now more action-orientated, as I’ve learned to incorporate them into my life.
I’m still a strong believer of personal attitude and that being the one thing you have under control in life. Letting go of things in life you’re not able to steer and taking full responsibility for your own actions will make for more peace and freedom. Learning to embrace all your emotions, no matter the nature of them, may they be from the light to the dark version of who you are, is the key to happiness and loving yourself as a whole.
Also, learning that to be happy we only truly need ourselves and that you won’t be able to find it in someone else or anything that can be acquired, is probably one of the most important learnings in life. Happiness is an inside job. So don’t fall hostage to the concept of always needing to be happy – that’s just not realistic. But understand that happiness is something that you carry inside yourself and have access to at all times.
Gratitude will always remain one of my most powerful practices to find my way back to myself. So in order to get myself in the right frame of mind in the morning, I either take some time to visualize what I’m grateful for or I take some time to journal and write all those wonderful things down! Reflection is what helps me understand where I currently am in my journey and where I want to go.
Everyone wants to belong and everyone wants to be loved unconditionally, even though we’re all far from being perfect people. Love and compassion both for others, but also for myself has helped me to (mostly) let go of judgement. We’re all at different points in our journey. And because we’re all wonderfully unique, we see the world through our filter based on our life’s experiences. Understanding that people react towards me based on their own personal filter helps me navigate life and work much better.
Turning my inner No’s into a Yes has been transformational for me, especially at work. Work is never going to be perfect, there will always be things that you have to do as part of your job that are not as much fun or don’t come as easily as others. But once I learned about my values, what I stand for, it was so easy to turn my inner No into a Yes. I know why I do this work and for that reason I’m more than happy to handle some things that I don’t necessarily enjoy. That’s just part of every single equation in life. There’s no perfect. There’s meaning though and once you’ve found this, work and life challenges are easier to handle.
As much as I try to meditate and be grateful every single day, I also try to learn something new every day. Personal development is of utmost importance to me, no matter if that means reading every day, a book or inspirational article, if I’ve encountered a situation that catapulted me outside of my comfort zone or I am actually studying a topic. What and who am I if I ever stop learning and developing and growing?
And last but not least, I couldn’t survive without people in my life. Spending time with family, friends, and people that I love, who are able to inspire me brings me joy I’m not able to put into words. While I also enjoy spending time with just myself, the people in my life lift me up and sharing new experiences and discovering the world is just so much more fun with a loved one by my side. Human connections are my drug of choice and what keeps me motivated to do what I do every single day!
This is my current recipe, subject to change as I grow older, and it will most certainly not work for someone else (or only in parts). So I encourage you to try and find your own recipe! Get to know to yourself and find out what truly makes you happy and what helps you lead a happy life on your terms.
And don’t forget to do something that truly makes you happy today and then…do more of that!
This post has been updated and was originally published on April 20, 2014.