Welcome to All About Happiness, DoYouYoga's new weekly column by happiness-expert Sandy Galiano. If you want to stay up to day about happiness, sign up for our newsletter or check out Sandy Galiano's website at sandygaliano.com.
Life happens. Earth will continue to spin. Nature will do it’s thing. And you will be a part of one of the elements of the universe. That includes what we label as “good” and “bad.” We will all experience joy as well as feel pain. This is all part of the journey of being human. So the question is: do you want to remain a stump with no growth or do you want to continue to grow as intended? How do you know when its time to make changes and nurture this growth? Let’s look at 4 signs you should look out for and see if any or all of these are your next step to more growth.
1. You Experienced A Major Life Event
Perhaps a death in the family or a birth, maybe a divorce or a marriage, but life has dealt it’s hand for you to witness. When looking into a newborn’s eyes and the joy all around it is abundantly clear how growth will transform this tiny being into an independent being. Of course that will take time, but we recognize the many changes we witness just in the first few months. Or take marriage as the union of two people because the first step towards the rest of each others lives side by side. The commitment of two people that will challenge one another and inevitably force the couple in the direction of growth or separation. It can and does happen when a divorce becomes a major life event for one or both individuals. The will power to forge ahead and face the many aspects of a divorce can drive someone into growth mode. What other choice do you have but to move forward in spite of the pain around the separation of two people!
And then there is death which we all will experience. There is no way out of it. It’s hard to know how much can you understand when you have lost someone close to you. Even in times of knowing death is the best option for someone’s quality of living, it is heartbreaking to say good bye. Maybe its my own experiences talking here, having lost only one human being who was close enough to me where it was surreal. Other than that I have lost two dogs, breaking my heart both times even when I knew it was best.
Yet all of these things are part of our inner growth. We need to experience life, whatever is meant for each individual to experience, as part of our life purpose. “This too shall pass” is accurate and true yet in the midst of sorrow it becomes the last thing we want to hear. Time will heal because we grow. We learn. We are teachers and students at the same time. We feel our feelings and learn from what we experience for the next time, if there is a next time. In the moment of recognition that all these are parts of life, with life and death being at ends, we find an inner peace. The ability to feel this inner peace is what allows the permanent happiness within to shine.
2. Your Friends Are "Yes"-Sayers
Friends are a wonderful gift because it feels like someone is supporting you. We want someone to be on our side through thick and thin, right? Let me lay it out for you, although its been said many times before (and I wouldn’t be writing about it unless I knew many still need to read this). Real friends will look out for your well being in good times and in bad. It isn’t about saying yes to everything, rather being able to look at you in the eyes and tell you the truth.
Do your friends agree with every single one of your actions and words? If yes, consider this: A friend will support you by being honest with you, not by always taking your side. The person who will remain by your side, the measure of loyalty is by the support for what is best. What is best is not always easiest, yet requires an element of bravery. Friendships can grow apart. It happens. It’s ok. Be thankful for what you had with someone and learn to move on as you continue to grow.
3. You Look Different
Do you look different because you are glowing with happiness or the opposite? If the people around you are noticing a change and pointing it out to you then something must be going on. Of course it would be great to be in high spirits and positively influence those around you. Wouldn’t we all want it this way? But sometimes we are given red flags by the comments of others even when we don’t want to hear it. Be mindful of how others tend to serve as reflections for us on our manner of living. We influence one another. Where else do you think the term “peer pressure” came from? It isn’t just what someone directly influences on you but also the indirect.
Be conscious of your own actions and how you are influencing the people around you. Are you the positive influence you want to be or are you bringing everyone down? The signs are clear for us to see. If we ignore them we get stunted. If we follow them then we have the opportunity to grow and keep growing.
4. You're Not Getting Quality Time
If you are not allowing a little bit of time each day for yourself then start doing it because it is very important for your own sake as well as for the people around you. As busy as our lives are these days, there is always time for us to have for ourselves. I know single mothers who manage the house, work, and children alone; who also allow time for themselves. It’s not about running away during that time or even sacrificing hours and hours each day. It’s about doing what you love and what makes you happy to keep you grounded.
Yes we all have to work, make money, pay the bills, and so on. I know of a man who has volunteered for 15 years at a local Museum, going in for a few hours once a month. The waiting list is long and he started out in a position he wasn’t looking for, but moved up. He is grateful to be grounded knowing he takes time to do what he loves, not because someone is paying him. Follow what makes you happy and don’t mimic others because you think it will make you happy. Try new things and you will find what feels good for you.
Look at these 4 signs and see if you fall into one or more of these categories. This is a time of reflection into your life for your own sake. What can you do now to grow? Is there a sign telling you its time to go? Do you need to get a new job or make new friends? Is it time to let go of the excuse that you are too busy? I know its not easy to admit, but thats the beauty of you and me. I am here to share with you what I notice and what I do. You are the only one who can make the changes. Nobody will know whether or not you have followed through. It doesn’t matter what the rest say or do because in the end the happiness lies within you.
Make an adjustment today. After all, its all about happiness.
Do you know any other signs? Comment below!