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  • Written by Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior”


Life isn’t easy for anyone, but happiness can arise from even the darkest times when we find the strength within ourselves to show the world who we really are. When we reveal our true and authentic selves.

Some of us are born with a natural sense of courage and purpose and are unafraid to shine and light up the lives around them. But for many of us we’re conditioned to keep our true nature in the shadows and live in fear and of revealing our authenticity.

When I was younger, I struggled with my sexuality, was rather shy, bookish, and focused on learning. I didn’t really care too much about what other kids my age were doing and spent a lot of time educating myself about the bigger world that I pictured in my imagination. I wanted to explore and travel to far off places. I dreamed of a better future of my creation and knew it was out there waiting for me. I got by and survived but I never really felt that I was living my life for myself. I longed to escape the narrow world of my upbringing and harnessed the power of imagination to fuel my hopes and dreams. I wouldn’t say I was lonely, but no one really knew who I was, even myself.

I had a few close friends, but no one close enough that I could safely reveal my secrets to. I learned to be careful of mannerisms, speech, and what I revealed about myself. I was confused and left alone with my thoughts and disappointment in the back of my mind.

The South of my upbringing was an unwelcoming place with false smiles, an always present sense of casual racism, and hatred of the unknown. I learned to color my reality with stories and lies in my belief that they’d help me stay safe and undiscovered. Courage was my enemy, and my self-esteem was battered, and anxiety filled. It’s not easy being different for anyone but I kept my dream alive that someday I’d create the life that I’d dreamed about. My dreams are what kept me going!

I can look back on it now and know that I lacked courage, but I had no one to talk to and nowhere that I felt safe. It was a cowardly way to live and I’m not proud of my behavior. How I wish I could go back in time and talk to myself and take my fears away and live in my truth.

Self-reflection and forgiveness have helped me forgive myself, but I spent many years hurting my spirit with illegal substances and abusive relationships. Courage was something that I had to dig deep to find and proved elusive. But it was courage that brought me out of the abuse and chaos and something I found that I had all along. I saved my life by finding my strength which gave me hope to adapt, reinvent myself, and be happier. Courage is a power that we all have within us that we can use to create our real and authentic lives. The version of us that is ours to create and cherish!

As The Happiness Warrior I want to show you how anyone can find their courage and learn to show up and give more value to their lives. Too often in this world we find ourselves surrounded by people who tell us who we should be, how we should act, and how we should conform. We’re controlled by fear and don’t understand all the resources we have to break out and be our best and most authentic selves. Change comes when we learn that we can break through these barriers and find the courage and self-esteem to take us to the other side.

REMOVE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is through our own thoughts and words. Everything we verbalize or think matters and how we feel about ourselves is how we appear. Too many of us are told that we are stupid, lazy, or unattractive when in fact we are beautiful as we are. Stop listening to other’s voices and let the universe guide your thoughts and actions. We are the product of our intellect and intention. Renew your life with positive affirmations and learn to love yourself more. Courage will abound and life will continue to feel more rewarding and purposeful:

1.       Face difficulties directly without hesitation. Think before you react and move forward with a plan of action. Often, it’s the shock that comes from a sudden obstacle that can inspire our best thinking. Listen to your intuition and imagine the best outcome for all. Challenge yourself to confront fear and make sure you know if it’s real or imagined.

2.       Challenge the old ways of doing things and shake up the status quo. We face so many difficulties on so many fronts these days that we must find new rules and solutions that help all of us. Equity is the way to a better future and greater happiness for all.

3.       Stand up for your beliefs and values. Develop a personal set of core values. I live the five truths of my Happiness Warrior Core values every day. If you’re not sure, look at someone who you admire. How do their values capture your attention and respect?

4.       Be able to ask for help. People who ask for help are problem solvers and often suggest good leadership. People who help attract other people who also help and display empathy.

5.       Know the difference between right and wrong and have the courage to do the right thing. When we do the right thing, we are always more balanced and whole in the end. It may be painful but listen to your intuition and think of the greater good for all. A happiness warrior is one who cares about others and values the power of empathy.

6.   Remember the times in your life when you used courage to tackle a situation. Know that you are more resilient and powerful than you think you are. Use this truth to move forward and create a feeling of security and greater purpose.

RECOGNIZE FEAR

Fear is a great teacher and source of inspiration. There’s a difference between respecting fear and moving forward versus letting it control your life. It’s normal to be fearful of the unknown but know that there are wonders on the other side just waiting for you. Be mindful of your feelings and move forward and conquer your doubts. When we stop running from fear, we take control of our lives and gain confidence in ourselves. Know that the only one who can stop you is yourself!

BE YOUR BEST

If the last few years have taught us anything it’s that being our best is the way to move forward when the world seems upside down. Focus on purposeful actions that make your life and the world around you a better place. Even something as small as a smile can create a spark that can change the world. Being our best is a suit of armor in even the worst of times. Make yourself your best creation and watch your life change with magic and intention.

1.       Happiness makes us more vulnerable than negativity. Sarcasm shows our insecurity and unease with life.

2.       Dehumanizing others dehumanizes us.

3.       Guilt is a tool to be used sparingly with forgiveness and resolution.

4.       Shame is destructive and has no value or purpose.

5.       Empathy is a life skill and necessary for living a happy life.

6.       Understand that discomfort creates growth. Build your tolerance with patience and wisdom.

7.       Every difficult event has an upside.

EMBRACE ADVENTURE

Courage means leaving our comfort zone and experiencing what life offers. Taking the first step in a new direction can help us find the courage to explore the world around us and provide more opportunities and choices. Adventure is the spark that helps us dream and realize our potential. Listen to your intuition and know that all will be well. Bend and be flexible and don’t let negativity or disaster in your thoughts. Plans change and trajectories waver, make the most of every bump and every pleasure. Project happiness from your inner being and the universe will provide the rest. Be aware of change and the importance of the lessons that are before us.

SAY GOODBYE TO TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

Own your mistakes and move on, be grateful for the good and know when it’s time to leave. Your opinions are your greatest creation. Don’t let anyone else control and damage your spirit. Be realistic in examining your relationships and think of their value in your life. Know when it’s time to move on and the moment has stopped. Guilt is a negative self-created emotion and courage is the way to let it go.

I recently ended a thirty-year friendship with someone who was stuck in the past, unforgiving, and living in a negative cycle. It was a hard decision but one that I needed to be honest about. It’s better for everyone when we live in our truth.

BE ACCEPTING OF OTHERS

The best way to validate ourselves and live life fully with true happiness is to accept others for who they are. Know the freedom that comes when we let our fear-based defenses down and allow people to be themselves. Our differences are there to teach us empathy and how to love. How can we go through life with our eyes closed?  No one is asking for or needs our approval. Live to be your best and set an example. Acceptance is a gift that keeps on giving and raises our courage.

BE YOUR BEST FRIEND

Courage expands when we start loving ourselves. There’s no one else like you. Take a moment to think about how much that means. Realize that you will never realize your full potential unless you embrace your authenticity and reveal your inner self. Be forthright and feel your intention rise. Keep your thoughts on how wonderful you are and how badly you want to show the world your ideas and spirit. Share this with others and watch your world change for the better. Happy people seek other happy people and self-esteem is something which grows. Be your best friend and nurture your creativity and passion. Be proud to stand up for your beliefs and reveal your authenticity. Life has a way of giving us more courage when we believe in ourselves!


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