Allow yourself to be happy
Sometimes it is difficult to allow ourselves to engage in activities just because we enjoy them, to give ourselves the time and space to explore what would really make us fulfilled and happy.
Engaging in this Workout might feel contradictory to some, especially to those who feel an external pressure to be in “working mode” everyday, despite the circumstances that may exist in their lives. Indeed, working out for our happiness requires us to actively think and engage in activities that we feel could make us happier. But do we intrinsically want that? Could it actually be the case that we see the program rather as a help for structuring our activities and to be even more productive, instead of really just exploring what happiness is for us? If this is the case, let’s try to change our perspective in order to focus on the real goal of the program, i.e., our happiness.
This persistent sensation of feeling forced to be productive could be due to the fact that nowadays, we feel like all our actions need to deliver measurable results. How many of you felt the urge to spend the time in quarantine learning something useful or working harder, considering that we had “extra time” due to the absence of social activities? There’s a good chance you were not the only one feeling this way.
We usually tend to postpone pleasurable activities only after the mandatory ones have been completed. But are they ever really over? The next tasks to do, papers to write or exams to study for are always in sight, as is the norm in the workplace or at university. Because of this, however, we seldomly allow ourselves to “feel done” and just for one day, or evening, or at least for an hour to relax and decide to take care of ourselves by learning, for example, how to play a new instrument or to read that novel that has been waiting for us on the shelf.
We perceive those activities as not useful in regards to pursuing our goals, or maybe even for what we believe to be our goals for our happiness, which we very often measure in monetary terms. Because we believe that learning how to play the saxophone may not necessarily improve our career skills or help us get a higher position at work, we delay it. For instance, one of my dreams has always been to write a book – but as I am sure it would be just a hobby for me, I have neglected it so far. Such a pity!
Very commonly, this pattern can lead to the opposite result in the long run, so we may eventually feel distressed, upset and unhappy. It may reach a point where we do not find pleasure in anything we do, but still feel guilty in pursuing what we like the most. It is so often the case that we engage in “working” mode that we neglect our present status, and ignore both our feelings as well as what our body and mind really need at the present moment.
Taking part in this Workout may look the same at first glance: Why should you spend time doing something that might not, at first glance, be relevant for your career, your professional life, the necessities you feel you need to work hard for to attain (a house or a car…) ?
In this program, we are asked to think of what we enjoy and put it into practice. If this makes you feel bad, if you feel guilt for giving so much space in your life to the things that could potentially make you feel happier because you feel you have to prioritize other “more productive” tasks, take a moment. Become aware of these ongoing thoughts. Accept that they are there and understand how they make you feel. And finally, allow yourself to work on yourself with all you’ve got. Immerse yourself fully- think of it as a gift you are giving to yourself. After all, being happy is never a waste of time.