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  • Written by Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior”


A very wise friend of mine once said “tell people no, when something makes you uncomfortable”. This resonated with such magnitude that it’s forever changed how I think and move forward on my journey through life. It was startling and so simple. The straightforward path had always been my way, but this statement made me stop and think on my own life choices and past mistakes. How often in my life had I done things because I was supposed to, when all along my inner voice was being silenced? How many times had I made myself unhappy doing something that was unproductive and gave me no satisfaction or pleasure? How many people did I trust and give my time to only to be disappointed and let down?

As The Happiness Warrior, I believe that if our intuition tells us something we deserve to respect ourselves by listening.  It sounds so easy but is always so hard to begin. Life is too short to spend our time doing too many unhappy things. Realize that some things are necessary but when we learn to say no, we can begin to learn to master our lives and create a happier dynamic.. As a voice in my head once said, “all knowledge comes from within”.

These words of advice have stood by me and guided me through many of my decision-making processes. The truth is that we can’t be happy when we say yes to everything and everyone. The key is in finding the balance between understanding how we show up for our lives and how we respect the feelings and needs of others. I believe that all actions should serve a purpose and intention. Our life will always have more clarity when our actions align with our inner voice.

When I was growing up I always felt a need to protect myself from others. I knew I was different from my peers and relatives from my earliest memories. I was a voracious learner who couldn’t get enough information. I stuttered at times, was socially awkward, very shy, and I didn’t always feel the need or longing to fit it in. Of course, I wanted to be popular and liked, but I also knew what mattered most to me and was aware of my self-imposed limitations.

It was a struggle at times, but I managed to survive, I became strong in mindset and my intention intensified. I would forever have difficulty with following the rules of convention, but I gradually found my way and began to thrive. I knew that there was more to life than constant validation and need to boost my self-esteem. I would prove myself and maintain my authenticity. I would show them who I was and tear apart their expectations.

I was lonely at times, I struggled with my sexuality, and increasingly sought adventures beyond the narrow world of my upbringing. I moved with a fast crowd, was reckless at times, and always on the hunt for new experiences and dangers. My early years after I left home were certainly exciting, but not for the faint of heart. But I lived and learned what made me happy through my many adventures. Many will never be told but hold a special place in my memories. When I look back I ask myself if it was real, those years almost feel like a dream.

I created a warrior in mindset and sought to help others. Making a difference is all that matters when we create a better place in the world around us.

LEARN TO SAY NO

Why is one of the shortest words in our vocabulary often the trickiest? Words have power and words have spirit and for many of us the simple word “no” is the hardest. Why do we say yes to things we know will take up valuable time in our lives and why do we fear telling someone no? These are questions that we’ve been asking ourselves throughout time without really questioning our value, intention, and purpose.  One simple word exudes so much power and it’s time for us to use it with confidence and clarity. It’s time to get it right!

When we learn to say no, it's normal to feel a bit out of balance and anxious. Gradually the forces of the universe will align our lives and will feel like anything is possible. The word no becomes our power, and we begin to say yes to the life of our dreams and intention.

TUNING UP

I always believe that we can be better versions of ourselves every day. Momentum is only created when we know we can do better. With this mindset nothing can stop us, and no one can get in the way:

--Stop isolating yourself and show up for your life.

--Say what you mean and use the power of empathy to create common ground and positive change.

--Stop saying yes to everyone and everything. It’s a sign of inauthenticity and lowers our value.

--Stop trying to please everyone else. Look for approval from within and not from others.

--Stop comparing yourself with others.

--Conquer fear of the unknown by employing a ready for anything mindset

--Be authentic and stop lying to yourself and others. Life is too short and wasted with half-truths and lies.

--Believe in yourself and stop missing opportunities.

--Stop negative self-created beliefs and emotions.

--Create an attitude of strength and resilience that you deserve.

--Give yourself permission to be happy!

DISTRACTIONS

We all need a break from the outside world at times, for me the break usually involves a dog walk, bike ride or trip to the gym. Whatever makes us happy and gives us a pleasurable break is a healthy distraction.

Give yourself a mental break every day and do something physical that makes you happy. When we take care of our bodies we comfort our minds.

Turn off your phone, unplug your game, delete your filters, and connect with the energy of the universe, Choices will expand, and opportunities will find you.

TAKE A BREATH AND GET OVER YOURSELF

I’ve always thought that the saddest people are the ones who are the most serious. Take a good look at yourself and ask what’s holding you back? We always know the answers when we’re able to be honest with ourselves.

Learn to laugh at mistakes and misadventures and regale your friends with admiration and laughter. Honesty is always the best policy, who do you want to see in the mirror? Every day can be fun and bring us closer together when we learn to love ourselves.

Know that:

--It’s healthy to make fun of ourselves at times and helps us relate to others.

--It’s okay to stop being so serious for a minute; how does it feel?

--Everyone matters, we are all part of the same community and share the same space.

--Judging and shaming others for their authenticity is only shaming ourselves.

--Practice kindness and tolerance and learn something new.

-- You never know what anyone else is thinking, don’t let them take up space in your head.

FORGIVE AND COMPARTMENTALIZE

I’ve always believed that we are happier when we carry less fear of others and learn to forgive them for their trespasses and weaknesses. Move on, move forward, and leave them behind if necessary, but to be truly happy we must stop wasting our time and potential on needless resentment, envy, and scorn.

Live to forgive, practice self-awareness, and live in our truth and learn the peace that comes when we are happy from within. No one should ever have so much power over our lives to make us unhappy. Find the source and vocalize its existence and vow to make it smaller. Our brains have an extraordinary way of making our problems and sources of tension smaller when we verbalize and say them aloud. Treat others as you wish to be treated and refrain from validation. Everything we need to know can be found from within when we are forgiving with ourselves and others. Our vibration rises when our minds are quiet with a feeling of peace.

Happiness comes when we stop doing unhappy things. Why let life feel like a burden when we all have the power to be free and see our lives for what they really are. Live in your truth, say yes to what makes us happy, and say no to the things that make us unhappy. It isn’t always easy to go on the divergent path but living our lives for the sake of others will never create the lives we dream about. We’re happier when we’re able to share our dreams with others without shame or remorse. We can be proud of our lives when we live in the present and are unafraid and unapologetic. We can make our lives happier when we live in our truth!

  • Written by Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior”


When I was growing up I was always very aware of the tenuous relationship that my father and I held. He was a larger-than-life personality and had a way of charming others with his good looks and deep blue eyes. He was a great salesman and a smooth if manipulative talker. From a very early age, I realized that he was the one that craved most of the attention and I’d do my best to stay out of his way. I have a few good memories of times when we bonded, but mostly we co-existed, and I strived to do my best in hopes of gaining his esteem and attention.

From a very early age, I realized that we had a sort of rivalry, and I knew that I was lacking in his eyes and approval. I was constantly reminded of the disappointment that I was, and it caused me to feel insignificant at times and while I seethed in anger. I knew intuitively that our values clashed but still needed his parental approval and attention.

Well into early adulthood our rivalry continued, and he often make apologies for me and publicly make me feel inadequate. To make it worse I had a slight stutter which he would make fun of and which inspired me to fight hard to conquer. I was always made to feel like I was taking up too much space. I became a loner and spent many hours reading, working on my endurance, building my body, and telling myself that I deserved better. Despite my self-disciplined efforts, the damage was done, and my self-esteem suffered.

By the age of sixteen I suspected that I was gay which further added to my mental anguish and guilt. I was deeply afraid of being discovered and built emotional fortifications to protect and keep me safe from questions that I didn’t want to answer.

This feeling of guilt and shame was often with me throughout my early adult life. I would fail to show up for myself and lived in a state of constant fear of discovery and rejection. I missed opportunities and made poor choices. I lived a fast life with people who weren’t good for me and tried to fit in somewhere in my life. I lived with a feeling of shame for reasons that I didn’t understand or deserve.

My self-esteem and confidence would take many painful years of trial and error, but I knew that I could do better. I vowed that one day I would show up for myself and realize my powers. I began to make steps to change my life and developed new systems for creating the life I dreamed about. True happiness emerged and as I began to realize my intention.

As The Happiness Warrior, I believe that the greatest gifts we can give ourselves are always found within. Life gives us choices and we can choose to be our authentic selves and show the world who we are. Or we can choose to live in fear, conform to the values of others, and live in a shadow life of safety and doubt.

I lived my life in my twenties and thirties with a fast-paced and often reckless drive. I had great adventures, but I also had many times when I felt trapped in a pit of despair. The highs and lows taught me everything are valued for the same ideals. Nothing in life is easy, but if when we learn to believe in ourselves we can create the magic that our lives so badly deserve. I learned to show up for my life and began helping others realize their dreams as well.

For much of my early life I built a series of walls and a careful facade to keep my truths safe. I conformed to what I thought I should be and was never sure who I was supposed to be. I let others keep me aligned with their version of how I should behave with a projection of half-truths and lies. I was afraid to be vulnerable, often stayed in the shadows, was afraid to pursue my dreams and was afraid to be seen enjoying the things that I thought were special and gave my life meaning. I lived my life for others and before I believed in the life changing power that comes when we learn to “show-up!”.

AUTHENTICITY IS OUR REALITY

Our ability as humans to create the reality that we seek through our self-created powers of attitude, mindset, and intention is how we create value and happiness in our lives. When these beliefs are aligned with our truths we can be begun to reveal our authentic being and live the lives we’ve dreamed about. It’s not hard and we can start small, but eventually the gears will come together, and we will find ourselves happier and more fulfilled with our lives than we’ve ever imagined.

Now more than ever in our pandemic infused world we have the power to change our destiny. One step and one action are another step forward to revealing a better life with more fulfillment and happiness. Ask yourself the questions, most of the time the answer is already in our conscious thoughts:

-- Do you live with a need for acceptance and validation from others?

-- Do you need their permission to live your life as you wish?

-- Do you fear the judgment and shame from others?

-- Do you feel you deserve to be judged by people you don’t even respect?

STOP APOLOGIZING BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

Too often in life we’ve stopped believing in ourselves before we even realize our folly. The words we are conditioned to use are often designed to keep us in line with others' needs and expectations. They’re rarely words of personal encouragement and too often we find ourselves sabotaging our happiness and dreams.

Use words that empower your spirit and vision. Instead of saying that something “is not your thing”, think about how much more capable you’d be if you opened your mindset to learning and personal development.

Fear is just an impediment to happiness. Know that we can do anything we set our minds to use words for ourselves that are empowering and uplifting. We can be honest and aware of our weaknesses, but we can also find moments of truth in our strengths as we begin the process of showing up for our lives--the life changing mindset that comes when we stop apologizing for ourselves and live in our authenticity.

STOP APOLOGIZING FOR TAKING UP SPACE

When I was growing up my father always gave me a sense that he was ashamed of me and that I took up too much space. In public he would often shame me for standing in the way, always making me feel out of place and uncomfortable. He favored other boys of our acquaintance and never missed an opportunity to make me feel like I was lacking. Over the years my perception of my father changed and saw him for who he was, and I vowed to be different. I would be proud of myself. I learned to show up, and I learned the folly of believing in my deepest fears. I told myself that nothing could stop me and went about the process of reclaiming my life. I made some mistakes, but I forged straight ahead and began to manifest my dreams and intentions. The painful lessons from my father became my foundation from which my true spirit emerged. I became a warrior for my own life but more importantly for the sake of others.

Know these truths for yourself and feel your spirit show up for your life:

-- We all have gifts to share.

-- We hurt ourselves and deprive others of our wisdom when we are afraid to share our desires and feelings.

-- Never be ashamed of wanting more out of life.

-- Someone will always want to take you down because they’re insecure with themselves.

-- Words have spirit, use words of empowerment and empathy, and feel your vibration rise.

As another year begins it’s natural to think more deeply about our lives and what we have and might become. Too often we hear words of what we should have done, memories that made us happy, and regrets and yearning for the life we dream about, but somehow never happens. We forget that the most important part of life is showing up and being ourselves. That’s what life is all about when happiness comes from within, and our fears are long forgotten. Life is an adventure of our making, we can stay in the shadows, mistakenly thinking that we will be safe and hidden. All too often life gets in the way and we’re unprepared for life and desperate to avoid change and momentum.

There’s another side to living when we choose to live in our authenticity. A place where the only opinion that matters is our own. A state of living in intention and truth which frees our spirit to realize our dreams and aspirations. We can manifest the lives we intend to lead when we believe in ourselves enough to show up and take charge of our lives. We can be our best at anything we do when we live in our truth and know that our actions have value and purpose. When we are living in our authentic state old negative feelings and self-doubts can be conquered. When we learn to show up for our lives we can do anything!


Eric North The Happiness Warrior

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