I was just thinking this morning about the closing sentence of the fairy tales of my youth, “and they lived happily ever after.”
We are paying special attention this month to happiness. Happiness is one of the 15 competencies that are measured for the Bar-On EQI (emotional intelligence assessment) that I am certified to use with my clients. What I have learned as part of that work is that when happiness scores are low, there are two competencies I look to first; self-regard and self-actualization. When one feels unhappy with who they are or what they do it affects how they view the world.
Some of my friends on Facebook know that I’m traveling this week on business. Across from the hotel is a 24 Hour Fitness and my room key gives me access to the gym and I can participate in classes at no extra charge. This is a real benefit to me because when I travel, I sometimes struggle to eat healthy and get enough exercise. This translates as, “I’m tired at the end of the day and just want to go back to the room and lay on the bed watching TV.” And even worse, I talk myself into having a “special meal” as a treat, almost as if the meal becomes some form of companionship…a way to avoid another night alone.
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit this, and especially to acknowledge that this behavior has a negative impact on my self-regard. My body loses its tone and I put on extra pounds. I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, start to view myself as weak, and know I am not living my value of health and wellness. This has a noticeable impact on how I interact with the world.
This week I made a sacred promise to break through this pattern. Monday, I got up early and exercised 30 minutes on the cross-trainer. I paid attention to how I ate through the day and had dinner with a friend (I could have avoided the wine or the dressing on the salad, but overall it was a good day!). Tuesday it was a 60-minute Zumba class after work and a light dinner. This morning I am feeling proud of myself (and a bit sore)!
To raise self -regard we have to create moments of pride. We can do that for ourselves and we can participate in it for others. Take a moment right now and identify how you will make happiness happen. It’s easier than you think!