Dana’s list of 15 practices, beliefs and habits to give up in order to be happy has received over a million shares all over the web and FinerMinds readers contributed some 11,000 shares!
The number of comments that followed her article were overwhelming, to say the least; there were the grateful, the curious, the enthusiastic; those who shared Dana’s sentiments and those who didn’t.
As a result, we decided to select five questions from the comment list for Dana to answer that will hopefully shine a light on the story behind her personal wisdom.
Q1: This is a good list, and so true! The one thing I couldn’t wrap my head around is “Give Up Attachment”. Could you elaborate a bit more on that?
Dana: Love and attachment are two different things. Love is a feeling and an act that is selfless, kind and pure, whereas attachment comes from a place of fear. In love, you have to accept the reality of having to let go eventually. It’s a preparation that takes time and practice (as everything else on my list), but it is the awareness that is important.
Love should not stop just because you have to say goodbye, when it is unrequited, or when things are no longer working out. Never regret having loved! If you let go of attachment you do not let go of love – love is not something you let go of, but rather, you let go of the fear of losing that something or someone you’re attached to. Because nothing in this life is eternal, you see.
Q2. You could have added more things. The only way to be happy is through meditation!
Dana: Yes, I do believe in the power of meditation. I meditate too, but the list focuses on what to give up for happiness. Meditation is a great tool to help us find balance and peace of mind; most importantly, it helps us connect with our real selves.
I’d like to believe that what I shared through my article is something that anyone, anywhere (regardless of their choices, preferences or lifestyle), are hopefully able to apply into their lives.
Q3. Could you advise us on how to let go of the things on your list rather than just what to do?
Dana: We all have our own different paths to walk with our own unique experiences in the journey of letting go. What I do know for sure is that release comes the moment you decide to let go of your need for approval and your need to impress others. That’s when your whole life will start to change.
For me, it happened when I realized that the only person I needed to get approval from was myself! When you start to prioritize your own approval for your actions, that’s when you are able to move on to the other steps listed, and have power over your life.
I’m still in the process of giving up these 15 things as well, although I have fully accepted their truth and impact. There is no end to personal growth, and time should not be a factor when it comes to achieving happiness. We should all remember that life is a journey not a destination.
4. I like your list but wanted to know how you have experienced this? What have you given up to be happy?
Dana: I have experienced many things that led me to realize – in one way or another – that letting go of these things will make me happy. But my job is not done yet; I believe this is something you need to work on your entire life.
You will still find yourself looking for approval and feeling the need to control things. Family members you seek approval from; your boss, whom you want to see what you’re really capable of; people around you whom you want to like you, or whose behaviors and future you want to control. But you know what? It can’t be done, so you decide that it’s time to take a closer look at how you’re living your life and realize that sometimes letting go is the greatest thing you can do for yourself and others.
Letting go takes a lot of courage, and I have found the courage to do so many times in my life so far. By letting go, I felt like I stopped living my life on autopilot. I realized that I am in control, no one else. Of course, it takes time and a lot of work, but I enjoy being happy, so I don’t really mind the effort.
Q5. “Do you think you are right by giving all these 15 points what one should do to be happy? Happiness is so relative a notion. Some of these points are arguable to say the least. I wonder who authorized you to speak so authoritatively.”
Dana: Over the years, I have learned to always keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.
If this list doesn’t resonate with you, that is okay because happiness means different things for different people. But what I have learned from observing human behavior and studying the works of great teachers like Abraham Maslow, Wayne Dyer, Buddha, Carl Jung, Tony Robbins, and others, is the recurring theme that if you let go of these things, happiness will follow.
I cannot explain how or why my article was shared by so many readers but I do believe more people are becoming aware of the fact that we are powerful and limitless beings who are here to enjoy life and contribute to humanity’s evolution. We can only start doing so by becoming aware of who we really are. Letting go of even one of the things I shared, is a good starting point.