Article by Wendy McCance
I have always been fascinated with the level of happiness a person can achieve. Why are some people so genuinely happy while others go through the motions, but never feel fulfilled? Why do some people seem to have it all, but can’t get a hold on their own happiness? Why are others just barely getting by but still have a genuine happiness for life?
I have been chipping away at what truly makes a person happy and have realized several things along the way:
1. No matter what you hear, money does play a role in your level of happiness. Without the basic necessities of life such as food, water, a dwelling, clothing etc… you are bound to not be as happy as a person who doesn’t have those concerns.
2. To achieve a good amount of happiness, you need to feel a sense of fulfillment. You need to have goals that you are achieving, or others you are helping. You need a sense of purpose.
3. You need to know you, and need to be brave enough to live you. Basically, this is the best kept secret to being happy. You need to be vulnerable.
Be brave enough to live a vulnerable life!
What this means is that you are able to show your strengths as well as your weaknesses. You don’t hide behind an image, but present who you really are. You are open with others and won’t hide your battle scars.
I am not saying to look weak. You should not present yourself as a victim or whine and cry over the ways you have lived a rough life. You can show your vulnerable side and be a strong person. Personally I think the strongest, most respected people are the ones who will confidently show you who they are and do so proudly.
A good example of a person showing their vulnerability is Oprah Winfrey. Here is a woman who let it all hang out on her talk show. She discussed very personal and possibly embarrassing issues. She was willing to open up about her childhood and the difficulties she went through, how she felt and how she got past it. She discussed her weight, rumors of her sexual preference, being sued by a meat company etc…
Oprah Winfrey was strong enough to show where she came from and bask in the knowledge that like everyone else, she was only human. She shared all of her stories and somewhere in there, there was a story that each person found that they could personally relate to. Her bravery in letting it all hang out (and on national television) was what gave her the success, respect and a feeling of connection to her as a person.
The secret to happiness, success, peacefulness, connectedness and living the life that really has depth is by showing your vulnerability.
Think about performers. On the one hand you have Justin Beiber. Justin Beiber shows no vulnerability. Basically he is becoming a train wreck by acting superior. reckless and hiding his true self to the point where he is not a relatable person. He is driving people away instead of towards him and there is no aura of happiness that surrounds him. Now compare him to Lady Gaga. Her popularity stemmed from discussing her climb to fame, the bullying she endured and the strength she developed from her experience. She might wear crazy costumes and be on the eccentric side, but she is being her authentic self. She is showing her vulnerability and people can relate. People are drawn to her.
I have three kids who are growing up, questioning themselves and trying to find their place in this world. As a kid, there is this misunderstanding that you should hide your feelings and project a certain type of image. Believing that faking who you are is the exact opposite of what will create all of the wonderous things that can develop in your life. Show your vulnerability and the strength it has incurred. Vulnerability, being your true self is honestly how people will be drawn to you. Projecting an image is what will slowly repel the very people you were trying to attract. The only people you will still have standing next to you are the ones who can relate. Those people who are also fake. People who are desperately out of touch with themselves and who aren’t the happiest of individuals.
The best video I have ever seen is by Brene’ Brown from the Ted X talks discussing vulnerability. She is a great speaker who can explain vulnerability in a funny, interesting way that really pulls you in. The video is so good that I had my kids watch it. You can learn so much from this video. You can check out her lecture (about 20 min) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o
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