A lot of times when people think about being happier in their life, they think about “having something”—having a sense of purpose, having the right relationship, having some quality of life that’s going to result in them feeling happier. In reality, having these things doesn’t always equal feeling happy. What does make us happier is incorporating the experience of pleasure into our day-to-day, moment-to-moment life.
When we learn what it is that we like and enjoy—and we learn how to do it more and more—we become happier.
Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned to live the majority of our time in a state of deprivation, only occasionally providing ourselves with rewards. A classic example of this is to work all week so that you can enjoy yourself on the weekend. The idea is that you put in time being disciplined (“doing the right thing,” being responsible, making sacrifices) and that buys you some time to do what you actually enjoy.
When we live life this way, we can fall into the trap of having less and less pleasure in our life and thus less and less happiness. People who live this way often experience burnout. They report feeling a sense of fatigue, experiencing a flat emotional state, and wondering what the point of it all is.
To fix this problem, we start to turn things on their head. We ask the questions, “How can I bring more pleasure into my existence on a regular and consistent basis? What happens if I question the notion that pleasure is a reward rather than a state of being?”
It is helpful to start small. What are some easy ways to bring more pleasure into your life? It can be anything from bringing a picture into work that reminds you of something pleasurable to eating your favorite food or taking a moment to see something that’s beautiful in your environment. We can start with these simple methods and then build on them.
Then, we can start to ask bigger questions, such as “Am I engaging in work that is actually pleasurable to me? Do I enjoy myself when I spend time alone? Does this person in my life bring experiences of pleasure?”
Pursuing what brings us pleasure does not mean that every single aspect of life will now be enjoyable or that we will no longer experience difficulty, pain, or challenge, but it will start us working in a way that creates a life that feels good. By doing this, we start undoing the habits and patterns that keep us in a place of deprivation.
Pursuing more pleasure in our life helps ensure that we are happier on a regular basis. It feeds us at a very deep level. It takes care of us in a way that we cannot address through goals and plans. It ensures our happiness in the moment to moment.
If you’d like more support cultivating a life lived well, check out my individual and group programs, here.
If you are a sensitive person, one of the ways that you can take care of yourself is through the creation of regular rituals. Here are thirteen reasons why sensitive souls need rituals to stay healthy, happy, and balanced.
If you are a sensitive soul that identifies as a healer and are looking for support to find the gifts within your sensitivities, you may benefit from my Integrative Healing Apprenticeship. Find out more here: Integrative Healing Apprenticeship
I was about twenty years old when I first realized that I was empathic. I didn’t know that word at the time, but I recognized the empathic qualities that I possessed.
One day, I walked into a building and was instantaneously hit with this wave of negative feelings. At first, I thought that it was me. At the time, I believed that I had social anxiety and that I was nervous about entering a space where there were lots of other people. But in this moment, I had an insight. I recognized that the feelings I was feeling were not mine; instead, they were the feelings of the people in the space that I was entering. This was a revelation—the type of revelation that empaths have when they realize that they are empaths.
This is the type of experience that empaths have all the time. They’ll be going about their regular everyday life when they are suddenly hit with waves of emotion that are not theirs but someone else’s. They may have these feelings when they are relating to someone close to them or even with random people they encounter. In fact, it does not even always need to be people—it can also be things in their environment.
While this is very useful information—and for people like me, it is incredibly supportive of what I do professionally—it is not always easy to deal with. It can at times pose great challenges. Some people who have such experiences might say, “Well, I didn’t choose this for myself. I wish I was not like this; I wish I could turn it off.”
Most empaths at least wonder, “How do I work with this way of being? How can I make this an easier experience?” To be healthy as an empath requires a lot of self-care and also strengthening yourself energetically so that you can build a beneficial relationship with the things that you come into contact with.
If you identify with this idea of being an empath but you’re struggling with some of aspects of it, the best place to start is with self-care. Being healthy as an empath requires diligent attention to your self-care. You need to learn how to keep yourself clear, know how much downtime you need versus contact with different people or types of energy, and know what you need so far as sleep, food, and healthy environments are concerned. It is essential to take care of these areas of your life if you want to truly feel good in yourself and happy in your life.
The next step is to actually strengthen your own energy so that you are better able to consistently maintain a clear state of being. In part, this requires clearing negative energies and patterns from your life. The more that you clear any kind of negativity or problems that you are personally carrying inside, the easier it becomes to relate to what is going on around you without taking it on.
So working on yourself is of crucial importance. Working on yourself goes hand in hand with understanding how to strengthen yourself energetically, and as you do, it becomes easier and easier to discern what is yours versus what is another’s.
Being empathic is a gift. Although it might be hard to see it like that when you are faced with some of its challenges, as we attend to our self-care, clear our own disturbances, and strengthen ourselves, we begin to experience the benefits more and more.
Join me and a community of emergent healers for my Integrative Healing Apprenticeship, starting this year. If you are coming into your gifts as an empath and healer, let’s walk together on this one. Read more here: Integrative Healing Apprenticeship
About a year after stepping more intensively into my spiritual journey, a series of events happened that pushed me into an entirely different understanding of what it means to be on a spiritual path. I learned that integrity is the most important companion to have on this journey. I also learned that vulnerability is the foundation on which integrity stands.
To be vulnerable means to offer your unprotected heart and truth to others without expectation that they will offer you the same in return. When we are being vulnerable, we offer forward our flaws and limitations, we are the first to acknowledge our contribution to any disharmony, and we are willing to be wrong. We show ourselves in our imperfection as well as our strength.
Walking this path with our weaknesses front and center, leading by offering our humanity, ensures that we are doing the necessary work to be a worthy vessel for all of the blessings that we receive. It ensures that the power that is put in our hands is put into hands that can truly use it for good.
It opens us to a level of spiritual teaching that is otherwise inaccessible.
It takes an exceptionally strong, psychologically and spiritually mature person to show up vulnerably. When we do, people will sometimes project their ignorance and their own weaknesses on to us. They can blame us for their oversights and expect us to right their wrongs. Sometimes, to the untrained eyes, our vulnerability defines us as less than. To stay the course, we must know ourselves well and our connection to the spirit deeply so that we can allow for this misunderstanding, keep our heart open, and continue to offer ourselves fully
Our expression of vulnerability is an opportunity for others to open up and be vulnerable themselves. When the invitation of vulnerability is received, it is possible for another person to meet us there in that vulnerable space and create a depth of healing that would otherwise be unrealizable. This potentiates the growth of both parties.
As we are entrusted with profound spiritual insights that come from our spiritual seeking, it is exceptionally easy to trick ourselves into believing that our intentions are pure and altruistic when in fact they are actually highly sophisticated expressions of our ego. Vulnerability is the key to unlocking our spiritual development rather than developing a spiritualized ego—where we only see our self in a positive light, identify our self with the spiritual gifts we have received, and place our shadow aspects onto others.
Being vulnerable ensures that we look at ourselves first before offering corrections, feedback, and opinions to others. It asks us to own our mistakes and approach with an attitude of learning. And, when we forget to do this, it reminds us to make amends as soon as possible. This prevents us from becoming righteous and, because of this, doing more harm than good.
For me, the most profound teacher of vulnerability, both its challenges and its power, is Jesus. Jesus said, “Let he among you who is innocent cast the first stone.” He said this to a group of people who had come to believe that they were morally superior and so their cruelty was justified. The teaching from this story is that when we lose sight of our own limitations, even if we are acting based on supposed spiritual principles, we are misguided in our actions.
Each day, we are presented with many opportunities where we can either be vulnerable or cast the first stone. Our choices release us from our burdens or add to them. The more weight we let go of, the more light we can let in.
I know that, at my current level of development, it often takes me time to remember to put my vulnerability forward immediately and without qualification. It is so much easier to make myself vulnerable after I have created security through being validated or a establishing a feeling of control. Slowly, I am learning to trust the spirit more and surrender more quickly without needing these compensations. As I do, my burdens become lighter and my spiritual insights more profound.
In the end, all we have is the truth of our heart. It will not matter how many times we were right, if we were truly understood, or whether we had the respect and acknowledgement of those around us. It will matter that we have made amends where we have hurt others, owned our limitations, and—as much as possible—done no harm. To do this, we need to learn the lessons of vulnerability.
Join me for my Integrative Healing Apprenticeship to step deeper into your vulnerability and find the spiritual gold within it.