Q: Hi, Noah. There have been times in my life that I've had a lot of luck, so I don't like to complain. However, lately I've been greeted with a slew of bad luck in love, work, finances, etc. I'm feeling depressed and anxious as I find myself searching for everything, and nothing seems to be going my way! Please suggest some charted path or guidance so I might find happiness. Thanks.
A: I'm truly sorry you're going through such a rough patch. Everyone goes through phases in life where they feel they cannot catch a break.
It might be a helpful tool to think of your happiness, or lack thereof, as not predicated on "luck." Putting stock in an otherworldly force, which randomly brings fortune or adversity, is not exactly empowering. There is little the "self" can control when fate is put in the hands of chance.
Chance definitely plays a significant role in our successes; unexpected circumstances can rock anyone's boat. However, with a good sense of self, "luck" can turn around. In order to gain this sense of self or unconditional self-acceptance, it's essential to heed the context of our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This method can be more powerful than searching for happiness.
When we are able to literally edit the way we perceive events by not attaching unnecessary negative meanings or significance to these events, something remarkable often happens -- our fortunes seem to change for the better overnight.
You may not get everything you want immediately, but you'll begin to take notice of the arrival of things you need. More importantly, you will really appreciate them. Perhaps it's time for you to smell the proverbial roses.
You speak in negative extremes: "I find myself searching for everything and nothing goes my way..."
In and of itself, this is an open invitation for a very unpleasant self-fulfilling prophecy!
An integral component of a change in context is your attitude and the framework with which you approach your life.
If you hold the idea that nothing in your life is working out, you're broadcasting a very clear message. In my experience, people who are truly "happy" expect to be so!
When you actively place so much pressure on yourself to meet with great luck or happiness, how can you recognize the simple joys of life?
You may not have the perfect job or the perfect love, yet you have tools. See the tips below.
Enjoy: Try not to allow your dissatisfactions to rob you of enjoying the many things in life that may prove quite satisfying when not distracted by grandiose definitions of what success should look like.
Experience: Drop your preconceived expectations of what happiness seems to be. This will free you to open to newer experiences within familiar and unfamiliar environments.
Grow: Notice when you're comparing and contrasting how "lucky" your life felt before and how "unlucky" it feels to you now. Comparing different stages is illogical. As you face new challenges and hold greater expectations of yourself, you are faced with bigger decisions.
Growth can sometimes feel painful or confusing and complications follow your evolution. Yet, life does become sweeter with wisdom.
Present: As you keep dwelling in the past, so, too, does your life, leaving you incapable of living in the moment.
Perhaps the key to you finding a "bit of simple happiness" is to just be a little softer with yourself. Be present to your moment-to-moment needs and ease up on yourself.
Examine: Pause in demanding that your "luck" change and get curious as to why you actually became dissatisfied in the first place. Spot where you're categorizing your unhappiness: love, work, finances.
It's foolish to say these things aren't important. However, it is the meaning we attach to them that gives them too much significance.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not wish you the best of luck!
Please send all questions and comments to ASK NOAH at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a profitable and peaceful week,
Originally posted on TheStreet.com -- Aug. 3, 2012
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