The Happiness Explorer

How to... improve the way you see your life. By Lydia Kimmerling

If you were given a blank canvas, and that blank canvas represented your life, what picture would you paint? You are the artist of your life, and you paint your life as you choose to see it — through your eyes. But how you view something might be exactly what’s holding you back from living the life you want.

Thoughts are the outcome of the functioning of your mind. As a computer works once it’s turned on but can only carry out specific functions when you activate a programme, your thoughts only reflect who you are being when you adopt them, and they become your beliefs. Your thoughts are not a reflection of who you are until you think the thought, believe it, and then act on it. Once you think something, believe it and act on it, it means it has become your truth because you are living by it.

This is your opportunity to ask yourself whether a belief you are living by is true. Because often what robs us of our happiness is living by someone else’s truth or a truth that belongs in the past and which you can shed like an unwanted skin. If what you believe has been your truth for a long time, you will most likely have evidence to back it up, and this truth may serve as a comfort blanket. By choosing to hold on to this comfort blanket, we choose not to challenge our thoughts, which can be scary, because we don’t like to discover we are wrong.

For example, if you insist you are right about not being smart enough, you won’t have to start your own business and risk failure. If you insist you are right about not being pretty enough, you won’t take the chance of smiling at the guy you fancy in the bar and risk rejection. If you are convinced you are not cool enough, you won’t have to accept the dinner invitation and risk saying something stupid.

But what if you are wrong about your abilities and potential, and it is holding you back from changing your experience? I say ‘experience’ because this isn’t about trying to control life, because that is impossible. Bad or negative things happen, but you can experience them differently, which will mean you feel happier and move forward with greater ease despite your circumstances.

We can all get stuck in negative loops, thinking about past events, or even about things that haven’t happened yet, and probably never will! Fear, worry and doubt will have you chewing over something in the future, playing out the negative consequences. Maybe you’re still stewing about the way an ex treated you and you play it over and over in your head, creating fresh feelings of anger and rejection even though it happened a long time ago. Do you see how in this situation you would be innocently making it impossible to move on, by using your own thoughts against yourself?

We can’t control our thoughts or feelings, but we can make more helpful choices based on our relationship to our thoughts and feelings. We don’t have to believe everything we think is true because it’s not! It’s your truth at the time of thinking the thought, and I’d like to draw your attention to the way it works so that you can free yourself of this misunderstanding. No one can make your truth wrong. It’s yours, and when your truth matches what you really want in your life, you become unstoppable.

Loved this and want to feel more in control of your thoughts and life? Follow Lydia Kimmerling on Instagram @lydiakimmerling or train to become a coach with her:

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.