I heard recently that true change cannot occur without experiencing crisis. That one cannot fully embrace change unless some sort of crisis has occurred, creating a catalyst for lasting change. Until we experience something so momentous that we are forced into change, we revert back to our basic instincts and habits, despite our best efforts.
This whole year I have been focusing on ways to increase happiness; ways to make myself a better, more authentic version of who I am supposed to be. I read, I wrote, and understood many of the concepts which I tried to implement. However, I never truly understood the importance of each of these concepts to increase happiness; until I was in crisis and needed them. Within the past two months I have focused more on what I have learned and studied, than all the previous months combined. I have focused intently on finding gratitude, practicing breathing techniques, being present and attentive with my family and friends. It took moments of intense crisis for me to understand the importance of these skills.
When things are going smoothly and life is filled with sunshine and rainbows, it is easy to focus on meditating, breathing, and feeling enlightened. Yet as the saying goes “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” When the seas are stormy and life gets hard, that is when you need to find ways to increase your happiness. Until I needed these skills to increase happiness, and reduce the effects of negative emotions and events, I never truly used them.
With each day that passes, I find myself more and more thankful for this Happiness Project. It has helped me grow and change, and has helped me continue to find my authentic self. Yet, the last two months, despite failing in some areas (not consistently writing) I have discovered so much more. When times are hard, it’s easy to question, ‘why is this happening to me?’ or ‘What lesson am I supposed to be learning?’ The answer is simple, it’s happening, because it needed to happen. Events and struggles, don’t happen ‘to you,’ one could argue they happen ‘for you.’ Hard times happen, so hard lessons can be learned. No experience is wasted. Everything that happens, is doing so to help you grow up and fill up your soul with something you didn’t even know you needed. If you let them, hard times can break you; Or they can break you open, and allow for new perceptions and actions.
Robert Schuller said “Tough times never last, tough people do.” Whatever you are going through. Whatever struggles you face, find a way to to allow them to break you open to new experiences. Allow the struggles you are facing to teach you a new lesson. Sometimes we have to be taught lessons the hard way to truly learn, and in the end, “It will all buff out“