Path to Happiness

I am heading into 2013 at my life’s absolute happiest. And I don’t say that lightly.

Usually I write a blog post for New Years that tells how incredible the next year already was. It’s my way of positively thinking about the future. But this year, I’m honestly so liberated and content with life that I mostly just want to say how thankful I am for it.

And instead of the usual New Years post, I thought I’d instead share a list of the things I had to do before I could actually be happy in my life.

This list is personal to me, but I hope that you can look at these and compare them to different yet similar dynamics in your own life and hopefully ask yourself a few (possibly tough) questions.

This got way longer than I anticipated (hey, it’s 32 years in the making!), so I’ve set it up differently today. Each item on the list has a summary paragraph that is showing, and a longer introspective section that is hidden until you click the “expand to read more” link. You can expand some or all of them to read my additional thoughts, confessions, and feelings about each of the points on this list. I hope that makes sense.


11 Things I HAD to Do Before
I Could Finally Be Happy

1) I had to stop fearing truth.

Truth is not the same for every person. We all were born into lives that presented us with different truths. We all were taught what we should and shouldn’t question. To be truly happy, we must stop fearing that the quest for truth might take us to a truth that is different than what we have always known. Fear and happiness simply can’t exist together. (⇕ expand to read more.)

2) I had to leave behind an old truth and replace it with a new one.

Kind of. Even though I came to believe that the truth I was born with wasn’t true, I still study and search and learn on a daily basis. And it seems the more I search, the more I realize I don’t know. I also become increasingly satisfied every day knowing that I don’t have the answers for everything, I’ll never have the answers for many things, and I don’t need all the answers to be happy or to live a good and happy life. (⇕ expand to read more.)

3) I had to make a big part of my life about others.

I spent so many years believing that more success and more money could bury whatever problems the world threw in my path. I believed that “things” could bring me happiness and security. But money and success and possessions never brought me lasting happiness, and they didn’t bring me security or get rid of my problems either.

It was only when I believed that I owed the world something and the world didn’t owe me anything that I was able to stack all the other building blocks of happiness in place. (⇕ expand to read more.)

4) I had to confront all of my biggest demons.

We all have had or still have skeletons in our closets. We all have done really crappy things. I have. You have. Mother Teresa did. Abraham Lincoln did. The best people you know do. There is no human on Earth who hasn’t made big mistakes.

And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I will never be completely and authentically happy until I face each of my demons and find a way to put them behind me. (⇕ expand to read more.)