Cinderella was one of my favorite fairy tales growing up. I remember pretending I was Cinderella living in my house with my evil stepbrothers. I have four brothers and no sisters, so I adjusted the story line. When one of my brothers was mean to me, I would imagine my prince riding his white horse to my house to take me away to the ball. We then would fall in love and live in his castle where we lived happily ever after.
When we think of living a happily ever after we think of fairy tale endings not real life. I want you to know, you can live happily ever after in your very real life. The difference between a fairy tale and real life is you do not have to wait for the ending, you can start living your happily ever after right here and now. The following steps are designed to guide you along the path to your very own happily ever after.
Treat yourself like you are your own best friend.
We always want the best for our best friends, yet we often neglect ourselves. Interesting, isn’t it? We go above and beyond for others and put ourselves last on the list. Often, we find we are exhausted after all the lovely things we do for other people. Enough!! Take care of yourself.
You are the most important person in your world. When you do not take time for yourself and treat yourself well you will eventually become resentful of those you are tending to. The idea is nice, but it backfires. On the other hand, if you treat yourself like your own best friend you will have the energy to also help others, treat others well, take care of your family and so on. It is much like putting gas in your car before driving it. Treat yourself well first so you have the energy to do all you need to do.
Exercise or move your body every day. Get enough rest and sunshine. Eat well and drink good water. Take some personal time every day to have some quiet time to yourself. You could take a walk, read, or meditate. Do whatever allows you some time every day to have peace and quiet to quiet your mind, be creative, be still or daydream and reenergize. These are some basic necessities to start with. Yes, we will even forget to take care of the basics for ourselves and put others needs before our own.
Start with taking care of the list of basic needs above and you will naturally start filling your time with treating yourself well, like your own best friend. Once you begin caring for your basic needs daily, it will become a great habit after a short time, and you will miss it if you skip doing it. You will have plenty of time and definitely more energy to be there for others too. Others who observe you might even learn to treat themselves like their own best friend because they see how much better you are feeling and how you are living your happily ever after.
Make choices that elevate your life.
Avoid what makes you uncomfortable, including people. Yep, that is what I said: AVOID. Avoiding what makes you uncomfortable or unhappy is a perfect choice. We forget we have choices. You do not have to suffer to be a good person. You can even say NO. NO is a complete sentence!
Stop justifying, explaining, and comparing. Put your attention on yourself. What others think of you is none of your business anyway. Caring less about the opinions of others also makes life easier and more fun. Everyone has opinions but this is your life and the only opinion that is important is your own regarding your life.
Choose to raise your standards. (Be picky about who you spend time with (virtually or otherwise)) You will feel a weight lifted when you choose who you spend time with. Choose those, who when you are with them, you feel good. Be a friend snob, be a food snob, be a drink snob, be a relationship snob, be a feel-good energy snob!! In other words, do not settle because you deserve the best that love, and life have to offer!! You have choices so, make them! “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious behavior.” wrote Henry David Thoreau. Make choices that elevate you to living your happily ever after.
Your thoughts create your feelings.
Thoughts are like silent prayers. Pay attention to what you are feeling. If you aren’t feeling good, then you need to go back and think about what you’ve been thinking and change those thoughts. Gandhi said, “A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, He Becomes.” There are many ways to quickly shift your thoughts from low vibrating (energy) thoughts to higher vibrating (energy) thoughts.
I will give one example here that works no matter how busy you are. Find an anchoring thought. An anchoring thought is a thought that always makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over. You could think about a pet, a place you have visited and loved, the birth of your child. Just pick a thought and use it whenever you feel yourself spiraling down and away from happiness and love. Your anchoring thought should bring up a purely joyful feeling when you think about it. This anchoring thought then can be used as a quick tool to redirect you towards happiness, especially when you’re in a tight spot.
Let’s use work as an example. Lots of distractions lead you to feel negative emotions. Focus on your anchoring thought—even if only for a moment. You will return to a better feeling place. The anchoring thought results in a powerful positive response turning you in the right direction in an instant. An anchoring thought is like carrying a magic bullet with you all the time, wherever you are. Similar to carrying a gratitude stone or coin in your pocket, the anchoring thought just needs to be pulled out to remind you of all that you are in appreciation of in your life.
Feel appreciation as much as possible. There is always something to be in appreciation of even if you think there isn’t. For example, pause and really appreciate the food on your plate, your hot shower, the feel of the sun on your face, the laugh of a child or the joy of a pet playing. Focus on all that you are in appreciation of in your life. This should help you feel good pretty quickly too. “Aware and awake equals clarity. Clarity equals power. Power equals movement. Movement equals change. Life is movement and change.” You’re living your happily ever after.
Look for opportunities.
Life after all is an opportunity. One way to make life easier, more peaceful and fun is to make new plans (quit suffering in silence). If you do not like your job for example, start looking for another job or fix what you don’t like about your current job. Maybe you simply need to change the hours you work. Often there is a simple solution to what seems like a complicated problem. You could be feeling miserable unnecessarily simply because you did not look for an opportunity to make life easier, more peaceful and fun.
For whatever reason, we often forget we can change what we do not like. We think we are supposed to suffer and there is some honor or reward in doing so. Your life is supposed to be joyful and fun. There is nothing else you are supposed to have in life. Suffering is not a pre agreed upon part of life. There are no written rules that say life needs to be hard and you need to suffer to be an upstanding citizen. In fact, you can be remarkably successful in your life without suffering but instead have an easy, peaceful, and fun life because you are worthy and deserving of such a life.
You can start simple with this. Let’s say for example your pillow is uncomfortable and you wake up every morning with a sore neck. Replace your pillow! This actually happened to me and then I got a new pillow and voila there you have it! There was an opportunity (buying a new pillow) to make life easier, more peaceful and fun. Start with some very basic and simple things if you need to and when you realize what a major impact a simple change, whether it is adding something or replacing something, can have on the happiness in your life, you will start looking for more and more opportunities to add to living your happily ever after.
Hit the reset button and try something new.
Start simple. Try a new exercise or challenge yourself with a current exercise. As we have gone through COVID-19 I challenged myself with my planking. I planked 2-3 times a week on a mat on the floor. I challenged myself to 30 days straight of planking on the bosu ball following every workout. I did it too!! In fact, I continued for 40 days because I enjoyed it and the results have been wonderful. I felt refreshed and renewed.
You could learn a new hobby. Maybe you want to buy or adopt a pet. Even finding a new show to watch or new book to read will feel refreshing. Trying something new gives you something to look forward to. Trying something new is like hitting the reset button, it refreshes everything. Everything surrounding the new thing you are trying feels more exciting and fresher because the new thing has an effect on your whole life.
After starting my plank challenge, I had something to look forward to every day, a goal to meet and I felt victorious at the end of every day. It affected how I physically felt as well as how I emotionally felt. I was accomplishing something. If you start a new hobby like photography for example, you will also have something to look forward to and feel excited about. You’ll be excited about the next photos you take and how they will turn out. These feelings will overflow into the rest of your life and have an effect on how you feel overall as you live your happily ever after.
Seek joy in every moment. There is always more good than bad. Turn off your social media, it can be a war zone. Turn off the news. Watch something funny. Have you heard the saying “ignorance is bliss”? It is true.
Be your uplifting happy self regardless of the circumstances or of what others are doing. They will think you’re crazy and that’s okay. Let them diagnose you with O.H.J. otherwise known as Obsessive Happiness and Joy by me, Susan Goudy, as written in The Journey from Fear to Love Is Shorter than You Think. Happiness is contagious so they will appreciate it if they stick around. If they don’t stick around it will make your trip to your happily ever after that much faster and easier.
Focus on what makes you smile, laugh, and feel good. If you google the word laughter you find “Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.” Daydream and laugh often.
Get a pet if you’re able. Pets have one goal and one goal only, to enjoy life. There have been many studies that show having a pet helps raise your spirits. Pet a puppy without smiling; I dare you! Like children, pets just want to have fun. Follow their lead. Stick your head out the car window or maybe put the top down and enjoy the wind in your hair.
Go outside often or get a sun lamp. When I lived in Seattle, I bought myself a sun lightbulb for my lamp. It made a huge difference for me. I felt more happy, awake, and energized. Sunshine provides vitamin D and serotonin. Serotonin is often called the happy chemical; it makes you feel good. Do only what feels good to you. Seeking joy is the express route to living your happily ever after.
Try smarter not harder.
Trying smarter not harder will free up time for you to enjoy living your happily ever after life. My friend, and developer of the Psych-K technique, Rob Williams illustrates this point with a story describing a fly trying desperately to escape through a closed window. This fly demonstrates problem focused behavior versus solution focused behavior. The fly is trying harder instead of smarter in the most basic way.
The fly spends its energy on useless attempts to fly through the window. Even though it makes no progress, the fly continues to try harder and harder. There is no hope that the fly will survive taking the route it has chosen, and the struggle is part of the problem. The end result of this continued behavior is death. The door, however, is open across the room, and with little effort, the fly could escape to the outside and be free. “Why doesn’t the fly try another approach, something dramatically different, something smarter?”
With the goal of escaping, why would the fly continue until it dies, doing the same thing again and again to no avail, banging its head over and over on the unopened window? Albert Einstein defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Now my question to you: Do you think that you are smarter than a fly, for crying out loud? You have probably had great success when you tried something smarter and drastically different. Trying smarter not harder is a fast path to living your happily ever after.
Learn to forgive and let go.
Another way to make life easier is to let yourself and others off the hook by letting things go. Stop hanging on to what happened years ago. Let go of old baggage that has been dragging you down. One of the most helpful things you can allow into your life is forgiveness.
If you truly forgive, an interfering issue can be let go of and you can move towards happiness and love once again. With forgiveness comes freedom. You free yourself. Most of us create our own prisons, and we don’t realize we alone hold the key to our freedom. Non-forgiveness stays with all of us 24/7, just like a negative thought. You can read specific steps to forgiveness in my book, The Journey from Fear to Love Is Shorter than You Think, on page 47.
You should also look up the Ho’ Oponoopono created by Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona. It is an ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness. The Ho’Oponoopono mantra is “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” which is quite handy. An example would be, when you get cut off in traffic you can quickly use the Ho’Oponoopono.
I am sure it has kept me safe many times because I have used it when I would have otherwise become quite agitated and upset which could have very easily caused me to lose my focus and get in an accident. I simply repeat the mantra with my focus on the person who cut me off (might be “blue Toyota”). I’ve used it when someone is being rude to me in public or even when I see someone treating another person badly in public. My experience has been a smooth uneventful drive and I have seen people change their behavior right before my eyes in a matter of minutes.
You can use either of the above forgiveness forms for any situation you feel you need to forgive and let go of, long standing, short term or immediate. It’s actually quite amazing and delightful to see how quickly forgiveness can turn things around and have you heading toward living your happily ever after once again.
Love yourself first.
The most important thing to do in order to live your happily ever after is, Love yourself first. You are number one and if you don’t love yourself first you can’t love anyone else. As I said in my latest book, 10 Ways to Eliminate Drama from Your Life: Easy Ways to Be More Productive and Successful in Your Work and in Your Life! Love is the foundation that you build the life you want on. If you don’t love yourself first, everything you try to build in your life will eventually crumble.”
People judge and criticize themselves instead of loving themselves. I believe people think if they are hard on themselves, they will try harder, work harder, be better, do better, and eventually get what they want. We might say something to ourselves for example like, “I’m a loser.” and then every time something shows up that we don’t want, we carry the thought further with another thought like “see I told you I was a loser” and thus a vicious cycle of negative thoughts begins.
Why do we do this? We do this because we would rather be right in feeling miserable and unworthy of love, than be wrong. There is an old saying “They’d rather be dead right than wrong.” meaning being right is more important than anything else, even life itself and without question, love for self.
When we keep supporting our first negative thought it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Loving yourself first has everything to do with having loving thoughts toward yourself. Think “I’m super intelligent and creative and things are always working out for me.” As things you like start to show up for you that you want, then carry this thought further with another thought like “see I told you I am super intelligent and creative, and things are always working out for me”.
When you are hard on yourself and judge and criticize yourself, it is only natural that you will do the same to others. How you treat yourself is naturally how you will treat others. You also invite unhappiness into your life when you don’t love yourself first.
You teach others how to treat you, so, if you are not treating yourself well, then others learn to do the same. Before you know it, you are heading in the opposite direction of living your happily ever after. When you love yourself first, negativity and unhappiness is not attracted to you. Just like disease and illnesses can only thrive in a toxic or unhealthy environment, unhappiness can only thrive in individuals who do not love themselves.
Taking care of yourself and doing the things that make you feel good are both great examples of loving yourself first. For example, I am a mother of four children and have always exercised. By exercising, I love myself first, which makes me a better mother, friend, sister, and wife. I can truly love others when I love myself first. I have taken care of me, which makes me feel fulfilled, energized, and ready to love others.
Everyone benefits when you love yourself first. If you try to go out and do for everyone else, such as being the best mother, worker, or student, but you have not loved yourself first, all of what you created will eventually crumble. Loving yourself first is the foundation of everything you have in your life. You don’t expect your home to last if it is built on a poor foundation, do you? Living your happily ever after requires a solid foundation so, love yourself first and get on with the business of living your happily ever after.
If you have disconnected from what you consider your source, higher power, God or whatever you personally call it, one way to your happily ever after is to reconnect. Use whatever tools work for you to do so. Meditate, talk to Source/God, exercise, listen to uplifting music or messages, pray, and/or create a mantra. You need some down time as this is the time that new ideas will flow to you and you’ll find solutions and resolutions. If you are constantly rushing to get from one place to the next, your mind does not have a chance to connect and reflect.
Connecting to your source reminds you that you are never alone. Sometimes we feel guilty for taking any time to do this, but as humans we were not designed for non-stop activity. Our bodies need to rest. Walk in faith in a way (whatever way it is for you) you know you are connected to your Source/God. Keep hope. Believe all is really well and things are always working out for you. Listed below are some indicators that you are truly connected to your source.
- You smile and laugh often.
- You sleep well.
- You feel energized and move and flow with ease.
- You are vibrantly healthy and well.
- You are surrounded by unconditional love and give love unconditionally.
- You feel worthy, valued, joyful and peaceful.
- You love yourself first.
When you are doing or being all the above at once then you are 100% connected to your Source/God. When you are connected, your life is easy, fun, and filled with love. Everything you desire will be found through this connection. All is really well.
When we don’t feel worthy, the connection is not possible and if we don’t have this connection, we don’t feel worthy. You can’t have one without the other. A feeling of worth is an inside job as well as a connection to Source/God. You need to go within for both, nothing outside of you will give these two things to you, not your mother, father, brother, friend, spouse, pastor, etcetera.
It all starts and ends with you, which is why loving yourself is the #1 top way you know you are connected to your Source/God. All your power to be, do, and have what you want in your life lies in this connection. Your source knows what you want and wants it for you too. If you’re connected you will be living your happily ever after.
Now you are armed with tools and information to take you directly to the path that will lead you to your happily ever after. Make being happy your one and only goal and everything else will fall right into place. You now know how to look for opportunities in your life that will get you on the path fast and you know the most important thing to do in order to live your happily ever after. When you apply what you have learned through the steps of this article you will be delighted with how quickly your life feels lighter, joyful, and happier. It is my hope you will take what you have learned from this article and embrace your power and live your happily ever after.