If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re committed to a higher level of happiness, health, and vitality than the average person. I am too. I've been on a quest for happiness since I first learned the word namaste, and it continues to be a part of my daily experience.
The challenge we seekers face is that many thought leaders, books, courses, and so on, offer us the keys to happiness—as if happiness something that can be found in a few hours, locked in with a simple affirmation. But that's just not true. Happiness is about commitment. And I know that word freaks a lot of us out. But stick with me and I’ll help you understand why it’s actually incredibly empowering.
When I was ten years old, I was diagnosed with a debilitating case of the skin condition called psoriasis. It’s an autoimmune disease where your skin regenerates rapidly, causing thick, scaly, white, and extremely itchy patches of skin. Instead of getting it on just a few areas of my body, mine was so severe that it covered 90 percent of my skin. About ten years after that diagnosis, I also developed psoriatic arthritis, which left me nearly bedridden and unable to walk without severe pain for the better part of five years.
I share this because, for many years of my life, happiness felt like a pipe dream. It was meant for other people, not me. Because the amount of physical and emotional trauma I experienced daily didn’t really leave room for joy.
Around the age of 20, I finally discovered the wonderful world of self-help. It felt like I’d found a portal a magical kingdom. It was thrilling. I learned that my thoughts create my reality, that affirmations can heal, and so much more. While I still believe all this, it wasn’t until years later that I realized how much more there was to this journey.
No matter how many times I repeated my affirmations, psoriasis continued to ravage my skin. I felt the tremendous pressure of trying to have completely pure and positive thoughts at all times, so a single negative thought couldn't seep through and influence my reality. Many people think this is what it takes to be happy.
I am here to tell you that it’s not. The commitment that creates real and lasting happiness in your life is a commitment to compassion. For yourself and others. Beating yourself up for not thinking or being perfect is the exact opposite of what will make you happy.
To help you get started on this journey of self-compassion, here are three steps I’ve used to cultivate it within myself.