I’m sitting in a cafe next to two women who’ve spent the last 20 minutes complaining about a situation in their life. It’s a good reminder to me that the stories we tell the most are the ones that manifest in our lives.
Constantly bitching about your work? Guess what? Work’s gonna keep on being a bitch.
Always talking poorly about other people? Don’t be surprised if those people are returning the favour to you behind closed doors.
Always drawn to drama even though you say you can’t stand it? Then, girlfriend (or boyfriend), until you make a stand, Drama’s gonna keep on seeking you out.
This isn’t advice I’ve read in a fortune cookie. It’s wisdom I’ve learned through life experience. And I learned it the hard way because in my youth I used to do all of those things.
It was only when I started telling better stories – stories of abundance, of happiness, of the gratitude I felt for the beautiful friends, family, and experiences I had in my life – that I began to enjoy different, happier results.
It took a lot of painful experiences to realise that it was better to erase habits that don’t support my happiness – complaining, bitching, investing in unnecessary drama (mine or that of friends) – and replace them with better ones.
And, believe me: it was ridiculously hard at first. Just as the first week or two of dieting and exercise is an uphill struggle for the least-fit contestants on Biggest Loser, shifting your focus, transforming your thoughts, and choosing your words is gruelling at first.
The hardest part was that during this period of transformation life seemed to get even worse. I had no idea who I was becoming (which was terrifying at first). And relationships fell away (also scary). I noticed that slowly but surely the people in my life who didn’t enjoy my newfound emphasis on happiness over hell, abundance over lack, and the desire to reach for my wildest dreams despite the fear of ridicule and failure simply disappeared.
At the lowest, hardest points it felt like everything in my life had imploded, collapsed into a pile of rubble. And indeed it had. But, just like a bushfire razes the earth before the earth rejuvenates and once again blooms more beautiful than ever before, life always got infinitely better. It taught me that implosions and similar shifts are often a natural catalyst or prelude to positive change. I learned that no matter how uncomfortable the transition, the end result was always worth it.
So, to the ladies sitting next to me (who are still complaining, by the way), thank you for the reminder.
And to you I offer their example as gentle encouragement:
Tell better stories. Talk about what it is that you are grateful for, excited about, and yearning to create in your life. Give LITTLE air time to that which makes you miserable. And demand the same from those around you.
It would be a lie for me to say that choosing and creating happiness is an easy journey.
You will not get there by staying stuck in unsupportive habits such as choosing to fan the flames of drama, or complaining to anyone who will listen to you in the hope that their reaction will validate your standpoint.
And the other hard-to-swallow piece of news is that once you do change your habits, once you arrive, you won’t be able to slack off. Because if you do it’s so easy to slip down to that old level. Choosing happiness is a daily practice, and rarely a simple one at that.
But – and here’s the good news – I guarantee that if you’re brave, if you see it through… then at the end of the effort, the implosions, the bushfires, and the highs and lows that this journey will undoubtedly take you on, lies a life that makes your heart sing, one full of other supportive, uplifting people who are on their own inspiring, joyful path.
Which brings me back to this cafe in Whistler where I am sitting next to these two girls. We share a window that offers a view of a snow-covered village on the verge of ski season. My focus is on this beautiful scene and the potential it speaks of, and my heart is full of gratitude. I wonder if they’ve noticed it, felt the excitement, or enjoyed the sense of gratitude?
It’s not my responsibility, though, to force this upon them. The best I can do is choose my happiness and inspire others by example.
And, as listening to their prolonged complaining is sapping my energy, it’s time for me to remove myself from their company and seek out others who are playing this game called Life at a level that supports happiness.
I hope this reminder has been helpful to you. It certainly helped me a lot.
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