ALIGNED: 7 Happiness Mantras I Wish I Could Follow

Photo by h.koppdelaney

Photo by h.koppdelaney

Inner peace and happiness are precious goals for me. However, I am a product of my conditioned thought patterns and habits and they invariably come in the way. I would like to be empathetic, but fall into the trap of judging others; feel so grateful at times and yet get drawn into thinking what’s missing; decide to let go and then get attached to my plans.

A few months ago, I zeroed in on seven happiness mantras that I found quite central to my current journey of change. I try to remind myself of these every morning and it helps. All the same, in the busyness of life, I routinely forget to live these mantras and my hard-wired instincts take charge. As a coach, it is also a humbling reminder that change can often be difficult and slow.

Organised under the acronym ALIGNED, here are the 7 happiness mantras. Sharing these is therapeutic for me. Hope reading them is helpful for you.

Acceptance

One key area I find challenging and need to stay mindful of is to accept the present reality as is. Often, I get sidetracked by thoughts of what should have been, could have been, and would have been. Other than to learn from an experience, it doesn’t serve to overthink hypothetical scenarios. Accepting the current reality, however unpleasant, gives us peace and allows us to focus on whatever is required in the moment.

Acceptance is the true meditative state and a real path for liberation. If we have the mental and emotional strength to accept any situation- any outcome- we can be free of all our anxieties, fears and insecurities. It’s not what happens to us, it’s our relationship with what happens to us that determines our inner state. Aging is irreversible – I can be bitter about it or choose to be graceful.

One simple principle I am trying to practice to build my capacity for acceptance is to avoid complaining or whining about any situation. Whether it’s the traffic on way to a meeting, long queues at the checkout counter, or someone making me wait despite a scheduled appointment. No need to whine, complain or be annoyed. Just choose to make peace with it.

(Read: Loving what is)

Love

Love is the essence of life. Being loved is our primal need and loving others nourishes our soul. However, I am very aware that in my daily life, so often I fail to operate from that space. What comes in the way? My expectations, fears, insecurities and ego. Our fears and insecurity about our children’s future gets the better of our unconditional love for them; our egoistic preferences restrict us from loving our partner more deeply.

I know I can also be more generous in my actions. Not only in contributing even more towards meaningful social causes, but also in smaller everyday situations. Offering a hand to an elderly person on an escalator, giving way to a vehicle on the road, and acknowledging a stranger doing a good job. I often mean to, but hesitate. Lastly, this mantra is also a reminder for me to be more loving and kind to myself and be completely accepting of who I am.

(Read: Did you love enough?)

Inner directed

Despite having progressively moved towards creating and living by my internal benchmarks, I catch myself being impacted by thoughts of others’ perception of me. I recognize the power of external stimulus. Unless we actively stay connected with our inner values and higher purpose, it’s easy to get sucked into what’s popular around us.

I also occasionally notice myself comparing aspects of my world with that of others around me. I realise that comparing ourselves (or our colleagues or children) with others is demeaning. Admiring someone’s skills and learning from it is fine. However, putting ourselves down because of that or for that matter feeling superior for our skills is unhealthy. It only negates our individuality and enhances our insecurity.

(Read: Discovering your calling)

Gratefulness 

I am deeply grateful for my life and what it has to offer. Among other things, I am grateful for somehow discovering my calling and in being able to pursue it; for the joys of a loving family; the support of my friends; the wisdom of so many individuals I have learnt from; and for the struggles and lessons of human life. I realise that when I am feeling grateful, I am automatically more accepting, loving and kind.

Having said that, I am very aware that I don’t live from that sense of gratitude all the time. I frequently snap out of it and get caught up in the subconscious search for more – even though it’s not money or success for me, but it might be personal growth or happiness. I like to remind myself that seeking is helpful only when it comes from a place of contentment and not from a sense of lack.

Non-judgmental

We often judge others. Mentally labelling others based on their personality traits or beliefs prevents us from connecting to them more openly and authentically. It’s helpful to recognise that people are shaped by different backgrounds and experiences. Being empathetic allows us to engage and understand each other better and moves us closer.

As a coach, I specifically train to be non-judgemental in my work. However, as the lens of distance and objectivity diminishes in my personal life, and my emotional investment rises, I can become prone to judging. I may also judge myself against an imaginary self-image of a perfect self. This feeds the sense of inadequacy and discontentment. I remind myself to be mindful of these tendencies so I can be more empathetic to others and myself.

(Read: Stop judging, start loving)

Ego

Ego makes us self-absorbed. Despite attempts to the contrary, I obsess about the impact of everything around me on me. I can take things personally and wholly identify with my sense of a separate self. I protect my vulnerabilities and avoid confrontation for the risk of being disliked.

This one is to remind myself to remember my true identity, my eternal spiritual being. To remember the impermanence of our physical form, the misplaced sense of ‘I’. Living also with the awareness of death helps us dissolve our ego. We realise the futility of our egoistic pursuits to appear smarter, richer or more popular than others. It also checks our tendency to prefer instant gratification and improves our impulse control. We feel encouraged to pursue more meaningful causes, and choose to be more loving and kind and less envious and competitive.

(Read: Dissolve your ego for a happier life)

Detachment

I have noticed that a key source of my stress is my attachment to outcomes. Right from children’s future to the score of a golf game and the quality of my meditation. However, when I am invested in the process, and can let go of my expectation of specific outcomes, the effort is more fulfilling and enjoyable. Besides, I tend to achieve better results then.

If I sincerely follow the recommended approach in my meditation practice, I enjoy the practice and usually experience deeper calm. However, here’s the catch. Having had a lovely experience, I can easily get attached to it and seek it in my next session. That’s where I go wrong. That’s why I need a regular reminder to learn to let go.

To learn more about Rajiv's book, 'Discovering Your Sweet Spot', or to place an order online, please click here.

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COMMENTS

17 Responses to “ALIGNED: 7 Happiness Mantras I Wish I Could Follow”

  1. Dev says:

    Food for thought and reflection

  2. Sharmila Paranjpe says:

    Thanks Rajiv especially for coining it under ALIGNED. makes it easy to remind yourself every morn and actually align your day and behaviours of the day!

  3. Naresh Sethi says:

    Rajiv
    You have a knack of nailing it every time you write something. I am in awe !! This, game n particular, is a wonderful thought provoking piece. Thank you!

  4. attul sekhri says:

    Rajiv
    You have addressed the real life issues so comprehensively in a few words. Thanks

  5. Sangeeta says:

    I could totally relate to the ALIGNED mantras. Thanks Rajiv for sharing this concept in simple language which can be aligned by everyone for inner health and wellness.

  6. lokesh nathany says:

    Thanks so much Rajiv. Felt it was written for me only… Could not have been more simpler. Keep guiding us and be our guiding light.

    Warm Regards

    Lokesh

  7. GOVINDINI SHAH says:

    As always you address the core issues and provide a very insightful guide line. This article is definitely very motivational.

  8. Asheesh Khaneja says:

    Thanks Rajiv , aligned is a great acronym anchor and a wonderful reminder.

  9. VRAJESH KUMAR says:

    Thanks Rajiv. Very thought provoking.

  10. Yogesh Kumar Tripathi says:

    Sir, I am highly inspired by your thoughts. Great Sir!! I do possess similar kind of belief about life.
    I want to do more in this arena of life like you. Please guide me.

    Yogesh

  11. Kannan says:

    Rajiv,
    What resonated with me was how hard it is to work on personal change. I’ve been working on journalling for years on and off, and it’s still hard to make this a habit. Glad (?) to know that this is still a struggle for you – i guess it’s a part of being human.
    One recent habit success is that I read Swami Vivekananda’s discourses every day for some time.
    I’ve also been reflecting on what comes in the way of people learning from others’ experiences. I guess essentially ,it comes down to how hard changing one’s deeply ingrained habits is.

    If you have some thoughts on this, would be great to hear your perspective on enablers to personal change.
    Cheers.

  12. Rajiv Vij says:

    Hi Kannan,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have found the keys to positive change are deepening one’s self-awareness and building self-responsibility.

    Self-awareness includes being aware of our physical self (where we spend time and why, physical habits and needs), emotional self (what makes us happy, sad, angry and why, emotional triggers), mental self (our conditioned beliefs…) and spiritual self (core of our spiritual identity, life purpose and so on). Reading, reflection, and meditation have been helpful for me.

    Self-responsibility is about converting the learning from self-awareness and converting our intent for change into action. Having a tracking mechanism, like a journal, can be helpful here.

    Hope this helps.

    Kind regards, Rajiv

  13. Damodar says:

    damodar.pagal@gmail.com
    Thanks Rajiv, this is highly helpful in changing self for better days ahead. Simply EXCELLENT.

  14. Laurent says:

    Thank you Rajiv for sharing this. It is is so easy to forget and get distracted by life’s pursuits and daily issues . It is very helpful, indeed necessary, to stay connected and remind oneself on a daily basis of all these principles.

  15. Ritu says:

    Absolutely workable

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