International womens day: Why Radical happiness is the key to real change

International womens day: Why Radical happiness is the key to real change

It’s International Women’s Day and the them for 2021 is #choosetochallenge

What does that mean and why does it matter to you as a change maker? 

No doubt there will be something in this this will have you fired up…and also perhaps feeling frustrated at the slow rate of our progress.  

It may be that you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and found yourself entangled in some them & us chats. MEN just don’t understand. WOMEN just don’t listen. If only THEY did this, things would be different.

 

 

If you’re looking for someone to agree that one group of people is to blame for the ‘state of our world’ today then it may be better to look away now.  You’re not going to find that here. Instead, I’m going to be exploring how we ALL play a role in perpetuating and creating systems that don’t support us. And crucially what the solution is. And it’s an obvious but not popular one.

 

Choose to Challenge is an open invitation to get curious.

Radical Happiness  is an open invitation to get curious too…about ourselves and others.

And creating sustainable change that positively impacts us all involves slowing down to speed up….and getting curious.

When we REALLY understand and apply Radical Happiness, it tranforms our life immediately giving us the battery power to take the action we need and want to take to evolve the systems around us.  And given most of our batteries are running low right now as a result of being locked down for a year, it’s fair to say that any talk of happiness can be met with resistance and also why it’s more important than ever.

 

What is Radical Happiness?

First of all, what do I mean by Radical?  Simply it’s no bullshit, no excuses, full on ownership.  If you want to be happy, BE it, don’t just say you want it and continue to believe the stories that prevent you stepping into the AMAZING natural born creator you are.

And what’s Happiness?  A misunderstood term that has a gazillion interpretations. 

Hedonic happiness is the feel good feels of excitement and joy and love and all things fuzzy and warm.

Eudaimonic happiness is knowing you’re connected to something meaningful, that your life has purpose.  It’s fair to say that there are many things we can do in our life that fulfil us but don’t feel fuzzy and warm.  – Caring for someone when they’re sick.        – Every moment of your work day when you LOVE what you isn’t filled with joy

The list goes on!

Johann Hari sums up what we intuitively have known for millenia in his book Lost Connections where he describes the 9 causes of depression:

1. Disconnection from meaningful work (not contributing in a way we feel matters)

2. Disconnection from other people (being emotionally and/or physically isolated)

3. Disconnection from meaningful values (not being tapped into what REALLY matters to us, living into other people’s expectations)

4. Disconnection from childhood trauma (not healing)

5. Disconnection from status and respect (not feeling valued)

6. Disconnection from the natural world 

7. Disconnection from hope of a secure future 

8. Brain changes (Hebbs Law…neurons that fire together, wire together. What we focus on becomes our reality)

9. Genetics (potentials within us can be activiated by our environment)

And the SOLUTION to mental dis-ease is the flip of this: connection.

And THAT is what Radical Happiness is all about… keeping our batteries charged,  helping us connect to what matters and take action.

 

Radical Happiness has 3 ingredients:  Radical Acceptance + Radical Compassion + Radical Responsibility

Acceptance of your circumstances.

Acceptance of yourself 

Acceptance that you are so mcuh more than what you think you are, you are infinite and awesome JUST for being you.  You are connected to and with all that was and and life is brain boggling and bonkersly brilliant.

Acceptance of other people and that they, like you are infinite and amazing beings too.

And acceptance that acceptance isn’t condoning, it’s simply stepping into our power because ALL our power is in this moment…not yesterday or tomorrow, or 2 minutes from now. It’s NOW. Accept THIS  moment and love and leverage the arse off it.

Radical Compassion…because everything I’ve just said above can feel a bit much to take in.

Accepting ourselves fully and completely is TOUGH. So be gentle. Have compassion for yourself.

Who you feel like you are now and the circumstances you’re living in are simply the compound effect of all the things you’ve taken on board as true about yourself and the world around you.  Bad things may have happened along your way and you’ve not created space to heal perhaps because life kept on happening and you haven’t had a chance to breathe. Or maybe it’s because on some level you started beleiving you weren’t good enough…you didn’t matter enough to love yourself.

Compassion is about getting curious about what’s behind the mask. 

It’s changing the question from, what’s wrong with me? to ‘what happened to me?’ for me to show up in this way.

And asking this of other people too.

Rather than stay in resistance and frustration, accept what is and get curious….what happened for them to act like this?

Resistance is an energy drainer.

Love is an energiser. 

Love more.

Radical Responsibility is an invitation to accept what is and step into YOUR power. It’s a reminder to stop blaming other people and things outside of us for our choices.  It’s an invitiation to look within and trust ourselves.

And see that our collective strength  comes through our diversity.

Not one of us has a full, all encompassing view of the world. It’s impossible. Which is why it’s soooo blooming important to get curious and listen to other people and actually VALUE their perspective.  It may jar with your own, but without it, you are perpetuating a them and us mentality.

And remember Radical Acceptance?  We’re ALL connected. So that annoying person…you’re connected to them. We’re part of the same source energy…just rocking this life in different physical forms.

We are one.  And sometimes it’s a LOT easier to choose to think otherwise…that THEY are the problem.

The only problem with that is, that THEY think that YOU are the problem.

And so the downward spiral continues.

 

 

 

So if you want to Choose to Challenge this downward spiral, now is a great time.

Accept that ALL of power is in THIS moment.

Get your compassionate pants on.

Get curious.

Actively seek out differences in opinion to strengthen your own.

Take responsbility for all your actions and non actions.

Change is created through the compound effect of teeny tiny actions.

It may seem like progress is slow but it IS happening…we ‘just’ need to keep our batteries charged and stay alive and curious to life and the diversity that makes us so strong.

 

It’s time to take your cape off…

It’s time to take your cape off…

I see you, swirling your cape like the superhero you love to be…it’s a pretty cool look, and I KNOW it feels good. But it’s time to put it away. You can do it. Just back away from the cape….you’ve got this!

I feel you because I LOVE dressing up and channeling your favourite superhero IS cool!

(On a wee aside…who’s your fav? Me? I’m a She-ra gal…I mean c’mon…look at this gal rock!!😎💪🏼)

SO ….’It’s all good fun to PLAY at super heroes (yes even when you’re a grown up!) but are you playing the rescuer in real life too?

  • Do you watch out for people to help?
  • Do you run in and offer support at every opportunity?
  • Being supportive is a wonderful trait, but like anything it can be overplayed and when it is, it can be experienced as suffocating, patronising and disabling to the other people. And I bet that’s a million miles away from your intention.

Here’s the thing,

                      ALL meaningful change comes from within.

Think about it…you cut your skin and you might put a plaster over it…sometimes that plaster can be useful and sometimes not so much. Yet 100% of the healing of your skin came from you and NONE from the plaster.

 You didn’t need the plaster for your skin to mend. In fact, depending on the depth & type of cut, it healed faster with absolutely no intervention. A plaster is often just a visual reminder to take care of yourself as your body heals.

And fess up, when you see someone with a plaster you’re curious, right?  A little bit of you wonders what lies beneath…what happened. And…are they…ok? 

 ‘My what a big plaster you have’..as your salacious rescuer juices begin to flow… 

 I love the metaphor of the birth. When a butterfly is ready to come into the world it struggles to chew through the threads of its’ cocoon. Well meaning people can see this struggle and feel they ‘should help’, and cut a larger hole for the butterfly to escape with greater ease. Yet without the struggle of the squeeze the butterflies wings don’t grow strong and ultimately is unable to fly.

 Much like human birth, it’s a struggle for both mum & baby yet that struggle is needed for the baby to clear it’s lungs and the mum to heal and trigger the next stage of parenthood.

 Struggle is part of life, yet we struggle seeing other people struggle…and so we put our capes on, ‘to help’.

 Learned helplessness has also been associated with several different psychological disorders. Depression, anxiety, phobias, shyness, and loneliness can all be exacerbated by learned helplessness….

So, I wonder how taking your cape off could help you and the people around you thrive from the inside out?