My clients frequently ask me for tips on how to be happy. Over the years I've noticed that a common characteristic of people who are happy is self-awareness.
Self-awareness is a deep understanding of who we are. It literally impacts how we treat ourselves and others and what kind of life we live. Let me give you a real world example to illustrate what I'm talking about.
Person A says he is a happy go lucky person that always is having a great time. He has a lot of friends and says he's confident and an optimist. He lives a life that looks great to everyone on the outside but, when he has to think about it, Person A is deeply unhappy. He has unresolved issues in his life that are so difficult that he refuses to look at them. So person A appears happy on the outside but inside he is constantly struggling to ignore and cast aside the demons he carries. This type of person is not living a life of self-awareness because he won't even begin the process of understanding who he is in order to move forward. He chooses instead to live a live of superficial happiness based on appearances.
Person B, on the other hand, also has issues that hurt him deeply and made him unhappy. He also appears happy to the outside world but his happiness comes from a very different place. Person B decided years ago to look at the things that brought him pain. He worked very hard to acknowledge his past and create a plan to move beyond the hurt. When person B is alone he feels genuinely happy because he has actually moved past the challenges in his past. This type of happiness is far more genuine because the person has literally worked through the things that made them unhappy. His happiness is real because it's based on his deep self-awareness based on facing his hurts.
Genuine happiness comes from deep inside us. It is a level of existence that we achieve only when we work through the challenges from our past. I'm not suggesting that we live in the past, only that we acknowledge the things that hurt us earlier in life and then develop a plan to move forward.
Everyone deserves to live a life of genuine happiness, the kind that comes from deep inside. Those who are truly happy have left the burdens of the past in the past. Think about it as the difference between living your life with the burden of carrying a giant monkey on your back and never getting rid of it versus letting it go and living a much lighter and energized existence.
Self-awareness is not about being selfish or self-indulgent, it's about understanding who you are and constantly working on becoming the best person you can be. Those who choose to be aware of whom they really are reap the benefits of living a genuinely happy life.