Happy Being Yourself

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the most significant accomplishments in life is truly living a life that is authentic to you. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization, is stated as the peak of our needs. Self-actualization is one of the highest level needs we have, but one that many people never reach. In fact, it may be something that most of us don’t really fully understand. Another way of phrasing this is the idea that a great amount of our unhappiness, after our basic needs are met, comes from not living a life that feels true to who you are. For example, it may be that you always wanted to be an artist but work as an accountant, or are a stay-at-home mom but always wanted to be a lawyer. It’s different for everyone and may not include a career issue. It could be feeling that you aren’t in an authentic relationship or marriage, or not living in a place that feels right for you, or practicing a religion you don’t feel 100% comfortable with, etc.

The ways that our lives are ‘inauthentic’ for us can vary tremendously. But we can live for so long suppressing how we feel, we may not even know we are living inauthentically. One way of knowing you are in alignment with who you are and what best fits you is that you feel in a state of connection, joy, and flow about your life, love what you do and love your life. The lighter your life feels, the more you know you’re on track to living authentically and closer to who you truly are. 

However, it may not seem possible to live authentically when you have a mortgage, children or people depending on you, have debt, are still in school, or feel stuck in a job you don’t like, etc. It may seem like there are a lot of barriers to living a life you want. For some, it can feel like the distance from where you are to where you want to be is too great to cross or even impossible. And when change feels impossible people can feel hopeless, depressed or shut down.

Feeling hopeless, depressed and shut down are definitely triggers for addiction or using drugs or alcohol. When we feel stuck or trapped in our lives and there is no way out, drugs or alcohol can be a seemingly easy escape. 

If you feel stuck in your life in any way, or not able to be who you really are, here are some suggestions of things to improve the quality of your life and your levels of happiness and contentment…

1) Listen to people

2) Forgive yourself

3) Accept yourself as you are right now

4) Eliminate toxic people in your life and workplace

5) Prioritize your health 

6) Stop skipping meals

7) Take one deep breathe

8) Commit to doing one nice thing a day for yourself 

9) Create your own space for yourself

10) Be exposed to lots of sunlight

11) Do nice things for yourself and don’t be cheap with yourself if you can avoid it

12) Compare yourself to yourself

13) Be kinder toward other people

14) When you stumble, you are your own best friend

15) Let go of perfectionism 

16) Keep in mind why self-esteem is very very important

17) Find positives in everything

18) Give yourself self-compassion

19) Challenge yourself

20) Create a gratitude journal

21) Do not compare yourself to others 

22) Take time to appreciate something that didn’t happen today

23) Smile

24) Label and be aware of your negative emotions

25) Sit up straight

26) Notice small pleasures in life and appreciate them

27) Have appreciation for yourself 

28) Find positive meaning in negative or painful events

29) Use a desktop photo to remind you of the purposes of pleasure of life

30) Practice healthy happiness habits that best fit you on a regular basis

31) Take space from social media

32) Take space from cell phones

33) Give yourself time to let you mind your wander and relax and not have to focus or do anything specifically

34) Take yourself on a date

35) Exercise regularly

36) Spend time with nature 

37) Enjoy the positives of time with yourself

38) Volunteer

39) Acknowledge things you are grateful for

40) Give yourself a break

41) Make or buy yourself a wonderful meal and your favorite food

42) Have a creative outlet

The 42 items above are just suggestions…so check them out and see what works for you! Or think of specific things that work for you. If you feel stuck in any way in your life, having complementary ways to meet your individual needs is crucial…especially during this difficult time with COVID. So add in some things that uplift you and make your life better. They may not create major changes but can put you in a more uplifting, empowered direction.

Learning how to honor your authentic self and your needs is an important part of recovery. Learning how to balance the pressure and expectations of family, friends or society is something that can take practice and gets easier with greater awareness and time. Silver Lining understands that you have spent a lot of time dealing with difficult emotions and triggers during your time using drugs and alcohol. These experiences impact your sobriety and a treatment plan for living your best life in recovery. Our policy of treating small numbers of people in each group allows us to get to know you and the exact type of help you need to learn to be kind to yourself and achieve your goals. We help you flourish now and in the future. Let our Huntington Beach location be where you begin again! Call us today for more information. (866) 448-4563.

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