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The Greatest Gift Your Can Give…

When it comes right down to it, the truth is that the greatest gift we can give another is to take full responsibility for our own authentic happiness. Whether I am interacting with my family and friends, sharing the concepts of Drive Yourself Happy, or traveling the journey of defining my new focus on empowering women, this is the consistent Truth upon which I build my life. This knowing ‘drives’ and inspires me… the knowing that I am the one called to create my own happiness.

Life is a journey and an interesting one at that if you choose to participate in expanding your consciousness. It is often the case that we “teach best what we most need to learn” (Richard Bach, Illusions: The Journey of a Reluctant Messiah). This is why and how happiness became a guiding theme in my life.

At times I still can be tempted to detour from my own happiness and clarity about what I want by my attempts to create joy for others. For me, they are so closely woven together. I truly love making a difference and bringing joy. It is one of the greatest inheritances I received from my dad, the genuine enjoyment derived from creating experiences that prompt joy for others. My dad would absolutely take delight in knowing that he had facilitated a magical experience to make someone else’s life easier. For him as well as for me it is not about expecting anything in return. His gifts were often done anonymously. His fulfillment came from seeing others truly happy.

This has been a tricky edge for me to walk. And, I suspect I am not alone. What is our greatest strength also provides us with our greatest challenges and offers us unlimited opportunities to grow. There are always two sides to any coin. I am grateful to be inspired by my dad to focus on the importance of happiness and gifted by him to experience deep contentment by fostering happiness for others, connecting them with their innate value. But, as it happens for many of us, we forget the power of the wisdom we know. Somewhere along the way my well being got wrapped around and dependent upon making others happy in order to be happy myself. On occasion it still is my unconscious default to fall back into the belief that I have failed if I disappoint someone or if what I do does not result in their happiness. I more consistently catch myself, and I have given permission to dear ones in my life to awaken me when I slip into my old false beliefs. In my more conscious moments I know it is my own choice and responsibility to be happy, detached from the prerequisite of making another happy to prove my worth.

Life certainly gets full and rolls along at a fast clip. We so easily get caught up in the frenzied pace. We live as if we believe that if we just run fast enough we ‘should’ be able to ‘do’ it all. With the same amount of information that it took two years to process a hundred years ago now crossing our desk in just one day, the reality is that it is humanly impossible to do it all without great sacrifice and self-damage. We are human beings, not human doings, and true joy comes not only from what we accomplish but from being authentically who we are as we do whatever we do. Our success is not measured by how many things we get done, but from having lived a life of grace and happiness each step on our journey.

When we value ourselves enough to fill our own souls and feed our own spirits, the love that we give others is then authentic and heart-felt. Our energy will grow, radiate and bless them. Even with full and busy lives we can still generate abundant energy. When we deprive ourselves of our own basic self-care in order to care for another, our generosity, love and enthusiasm for life become tainted with resentment, disappointment, and frustration. Eventually our fatigue and discontent block us from knowing that we are wonderful and all is well regardless of our circumstances.

Not loving ourselves as much as we love others destroys the very well-being we are working so hard to create, and eventually we become a burden rather than an asset to those we are intending to serve. Our self-imposed abuse creates incredible self-doubt, and initiates that horrible spiral downward of believing we have failed and are just not good enough. Women, especially, have been well trained to be harshly and easily self-critical. On this detour from happiness, we fail to realize that we are the ones generating all the evidence to support our mis-belief, when we could be generating joy and prosperity instead. It feels tiring just writing about it, let alone living it! Sound all too familiar?

This week I have mentored several people with co-dependency as their common detour from happiness. They are not whiners. They truly have huge challenges on their plates managing the mental illness and dementia of close loved ones. It is easy for all of us to say that the demand on us is too big and that we just don’t have time to stop to care for ourselves. We feel we can’t afford the luxury of even the smallest respite or the world will collapse on our watch. And yet we must!

We teach those around us how to treat us by how we treat our selves. Contrary to what our fears are yelling as the truth, the Real Truth is that we cannot afford not to nurture ourselves. If we do not take care of ourselves, we will collapse and be of no help to others. It need not be in big ways to make a difference, but we must announce and demonstrate to the Universe that we love ourselves and have assumed responsibility for our own joy. Small steps accumulate an abundance of energy because they connect us to the Truth and hold a forward intention.

So, if you are totally overwhelmed and frantic in this moment and have been taken hostage by your limiting beliefs, here are a few suggestions for your freedom and the refueling your Spirit with simple small steps of self-love:

* Read even one line of something inspiring when you get up and before you go to bed. * Ask for what you want not by stating what you don’t want, but by declaring what you do. * Dare to share your burden with a trusted someone. * Ask for support. * Expect a miracle. * Write down all your negative thoughts and destroy them. * Say ‘no’ when you mean no and ‘yes’ when you mean yes, regardless of what people will think. * Wait 24 hours before you take on another responsibility. * Place time for yourself on your calendar before you say yes to someone else. * Honor time with yourself as if you had an appointment with Mother Teresa. * Do not answer the phone during dinner. * Do not do for someone what they can do for themselves, even though they may not be able to do it according to your standards. It robs them of their power and drains yours. * Drink lots of water. * Do things that are truly important rather than doing them just because they feel urgent. * When you catch yourself in the doldrums, raise your vibration even a little by thinking of something that brings you joy. Focus on feeling joy for a few minutes. * Celebrate small steps. * Dare to do something that takes you a little out of your comfort zone. * Look in a mirror and tell yourself how much you appreciate all you do. * Do not compare your success by the success of others. * Eat well. * Stretch and walk often. * Sit in the sunshine, even if for only 2 minutes. * Visit my blog at * Forgive yourself quickly and easily. * Learn from your ‘mistakes’ and apply what you learn to the next opportunity, side-stepping guilt all together. * Look for and focus on all that is working, rather than on what is not. * End each day with gratitude, focusing on all of your blessings. * See all things, good and bad, as beneficial.

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