Are you happy? Are you seeking a happy life? This article guides you to find a meaningful life. I've developed a way of living which I call "finding your PATH."
When I find myself feeling stressed or anxious, I also tend to feel lost. How about you? Are you happy? Are you seeking to live a meaningful life? Many of my clients come to me seeking not only happiness and peace, but also a direction in life. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a GPS of sorts for life? It could guide us to find happiness, that perfect partner, the ideal job, or that most beautiful location to live. Of course, that GPS function doesn’t exist, but, I've developed a way of living which is working like a GPS for me. I call it "finding your PATH."
In Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken," he writes: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth… I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Taking one path over another is an important decision for us to make. Is there is a "right" path for me? Will any path lead me to a meaningful life? Where exactly do I want to go!?
We can’t be sure if the path chosen by Frost was the right path for him, just as we can never be sure the way we want is the right one for us. Will any path lead me to a happy life? Earlier in the poem, Frost also writes: “I shall be telling this with a sigh…”. Is this a sigh of relief or that of regret? Do we have regrets over the paths we have chosen to take? Many of us do, and it seems that Frost is trying to give himself an out in the event he makes the wrong choice when he writes “Oh, I kept the first for another day!” In other words, if I take the wrong path now, I’ll just backtrack and take the other one later.
But, we understand that we can’t go back into our past. We can only either stop moving or keep moving forward. Frost later realizes this too: “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” Making the decision as to which path to take is our ultimate freedom. Yet, with this freedom comes the responsibility for the consequences of the choice. Could I make the wrong decision? Is there even a wrong choice to make? Are you happy with the path?
Living mindfully I would say that there isn’t a wrong path or choice for a meaningful life. Each choice we make has consequences which ultimately shape who we are. We are the products of our past decisions, for the better or worse. The positive to all of this is that we can always make choices! If you feel your choice was wrong, then make a different decision in the future. For instance, if you choose a job which is not the best for you, and you can’t immediately get out of it, you still have the choice of how you will feel about that job now. Learn what you can from it, make it the best you can, and plan for a future of change when it’s possible. Regardless of our current situation, we always have the freedom of choice regarding how we think and feel. Are you happy along the path you're currently traveling?
Inspired by Frost’s poem and my life experiences, I have learned and taught others to "find your PATH." Here's what I mean:
I often write about the importance of understanding our perspective on life and oneself. How we see the world around us influences how we look at ourselves, and vice versa. To find our proper path in life, we need to focus our perspective on what leads us to happiness and peace, not what takes us further away. Who are the people, places, and things we need to walk away from to find our happiness? Are you happy with the current people, places, or things in your life?
When we understand our perception and reality, in the present moment, we need to accept that our reality, and the reality of our current situation, is what it is. I’m not saying we have to like our current situation, but in not accepting our situation we admit to an altered reality, a reality which doesn't exist. I’m not at all saying that we are stuck in this reality. Acceptance does not mean we stay where we are. Acceptance simply means that I acknowledge my reality as it is now. What my reality will be in the future may not be the same as it is now. I have the power to change my reality when I accept what that reality is. Solutions are always possible.
Once we accept our reality and desire a different future reality, then we need to take action. We can’t sit still waiting for change to happen to us. Change only happens when we take action to effect change. Get up and do something which will change your current reality. While you are taking action, don’t selfishly focus on yourself, but help others in their pursuit of a different future. Together we can effect real change. Helping others provides us with positive self-esteem, and that positive feeling feeds our continued desire to make changes in life. As humans, we are communal creatures, so in helping others better themselves, you also help yourself.
Finding your PATH takes work, but it's well worth the effort. In the end, you'll think differently, view the world around you in a more positive manner, and through helping others, you will find purpose and a reason for living. This purpose leads us to our inner peace.
In the end, Frost accepts the path he has chosen when he states “And that has made all the difference.” Regardless of the choices we make, the result will change us, and that change will make all of the difference in life.
I encourage you to spend time each day changing your thoughts to focus on the positive and on solutions. Don't deny the negative, but re-think the situation. Are you happy? Practicing mindfulness empowers us to act and to cope with situations which we may feel we are unable to handle. Mindfulness does not take away negativity in our lives, rather mindfulness teaches us the power that we have within to manage and survive whatever life may throw at us. On this path, you will live a happy and meaningful life.
If you're ready to explore life coaching, we would be honored to help. You can read more here about our life coaching practice or call the office directly at 301-850-2177.
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