One of the biggest tricks to plugging in and thinking possible is finding your flavor.
Why do I use the word “flavor”? Because I want to help you to get you out of your head and into your heart and soul. So much of our programming has to do with thinking. And thinking is great! For some things. We need our thinking brain for math and science and maps and all kinds of other logic-based reasoning, but what we know about happiness is that it is NOT one size fits all principle. There is no one correct solution for everyone, the way there might be to a math or science problem. Therefore thinking only is not the sole key toward achieving happiness. We must also include the heart.
Say you don’t like steak and you say to me, “Hey, Nicole…I don’t like steak.” I wouldn’t say, “But steak is a protein, a very good protein. You must eat it because it really is just like any other protein.” Of course not. I would say, “Oh okay. So what do you like?” And if you said, tofu, chicken, duck or pigeon I would accept it. Because the flavor that you prefer is just that…what you prefer. And you will feel happier, and more in tune with your own needs and desires, if you feed your body food you truly like.
As children, almost no one will ask you which flavor you prefer. It is more likely that you will be told what to eat. Which is okay before we know our palates. Like a baby who isn’t old enough to share her preferences, we often start out doing what society tells us. Kids are programmed to travel down a specific path, most likely to do well in school, go to college and get a job. But at some point you have to stop and ask, am I on MY right path? Do I know what flavor I prefer?
This issue is largely what brings people into my office. They feel a dissonance between what they are doing and who they are. Something feels off. They may have successfully traveled along the path society laid out for them, yet they are feeling a sense of longing, disconnection or just general dissatisfaction. By tuning into that person’s natural flavor preferences, they can begin to travel down a path that is more naturally connected to who they are at their core. And when those two are aligned, life isn’t perfect but it if feels a whole hell of a lot better.
Finding your flavor:
- Go back in time and think of your happiest times. I don’t mean like intoxicated happy, I mean a time when it just felt good to be alive. When you felt all the regular feelings that being alive brings (sad, angry, happy, irritable, loving, determined etc.) yet overall you felt a strong sense of being content.
- What was going on during that time? What were you like? What did you do day to day? Who was around? Who did you spend your time with? What about that time made the flavor good?Note: If you are reliving drunken college experiences or angry, argumentative periods or relationships with people who didn’t really value you then…you are not in the zone…if that kind of stuff comes up ask what it is that felt good…the freedom the passion? And try to keep digging to see if you find that trait somewhere else without the self destructive aspect.
- Now vet it—was it good for you? Were you healthy physically, mentally? How can you limit some of the negative stuff….while retaining the good? For example, if you loved having big groups of friends in college but felt that it consumed you, think of how can you assemble a pack now yet retain better boundaries so you can still have your alone time.
- Seek to start building this flavor in your life immediately. It will require work and determination. And, you may feel incredibly uncomfortable at first. But it will also start to fill you up in ways that will sustain you for the long haul.
Trust the process. Think of it like this→ what if you were entrusted with a child, and this child had an affinity for something…wouldn’t you help her get to the places she needed to go even if you were tired or uncomfortable or just didn’t feel like it? Of course you would. Don’t deny yourself the same privilege. You deserve a complete, joy-filled and purposeful life.
Nicole C Weiss LCSW
- Phone: 619-318-5012
- Email: [email protected]