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“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.”
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.
#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.
Happiness is created, not waited for.
Choice? I have… a…. choice? This was new. For years I was under the assumption that people were born lucky and enjoyed all that there is to life. In my eyes, they seemed to have it all yet the cynicism (and alcohol) within kept me from understanding or seeing the development and progression of true happiness. WFS and Statement #3 in action changed that.
It has taken a long time to understand what “happiness” feels like to me and it continues to evolve. Oftentimes I pursued the happiness of others or what society (or advertisers) said “should make me happy.” This left me feeling unfulfilled. It also felt like happiness was always just out of reach and gone before I could enjoy it. Most often the feeling of happiness was paired with alcohol. Needing to learn how to experience this emotion with a clear mind, discovering happiness became a process of reflection. Statement #3 provides the answer; It’s an inside job.
In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Our attitudes are the result of our past and present experiences.” How would I be able to create a shift toward happiness? By creating new habits like Statement #3 mentions. One of the first things I learned in sobriety was the ability to say the word NO. I said NO to alcohol every day and now I could use this short word in other areas of my life. It took courage to say it initially, then with practice, it became a habit. Now I was feeling happy because I was sober. It felt fabulous!
I was also learning that the feeling of happiness is as individual as we are and it lies on a spectrum of different emotions from thrilling excitement to inner peace and calm with many things in between. This week, take a few minutes to jot down where you are on the “Feelings Wheel” for greater insight into where you may need to make changes or adjustments toward happiness. Why not make this a habit and watch for or identify patterns in your life?
Hi 4C Women,
I love the feeling wheel and have used it in identifying many of my feelings at a deeper level. When I reflect on fear, anger, and sadness (what I call surface feelings), I see how those deeper feelings expressed on the wheel block my path to personal happiness. Those predominant negative feelings were like a brick wall. I thought I could never be authentically happy if I was sober. Would I even recognize happiness if I felt it? The answer is a resounding yes! The word that helped me on the Happy feeling part of the wheel was “trust.” I began to trust the process and eventually I was laughing out loud, feeling playful and optimistic. It was as though this Statement #3 was meant to follow Statement #2 in recognizing that negative thoughts were destroying my willingness to learn how to create my personal happiness.
Every time I read Statement #3, I think of Jean sharing that happiness comes in moments. We need to be aware of those moments. This for me was part of the process – creating awareness. I was so absorbed in questioning if I had experienced a happy moment that the moment was gone. Now I stop, take in a wonderful feeling and before I know it, I have a big smile across my face. Jean never meant for us to be happy every moment of every day. That would be impossible and a burden. What I have is a foundation of contentment, hope, and gratitude for what I have learned through the WFS Program Statements.
I was planning a trip up north to see my family and friends as it’s been over 3 years. Unfortunately, I developed severe pain in my back and both legs. The pain has become a lot less in my legs but not much change in my back. I scheduled an appointment for an epidural injection but they can’t see me until Nov. 18. Since it’s a 15-hour drive up north, I had to cancel. To say the least, I was so sad and disappointed. Because of WFS, I realized I needed to make plan B. My hope is to visit in the Spring of 2023 as I don’t want to drive in the winter. Before sobriety, I would not have had that response. I would have soothed my disappointed feelings with alcohol which I know would have only made me sadder and feeling hopeless. I am so grateful to WFS for giving me coping tools, and friends I can share my feelings and receive support and understanding.
I encourage you to take a look at the feeling wheel and uncover what is holding you back, what is moving you forward, and where you are in the process of developing happiness.
Bonded in creating awareness and learning the process to achieve your personal happiness, Dee
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