Is there something holding you back from happiness?

Holding Back Happiness

Last week I spent four wonderful days at a retreat run by Susan Pearse from Mind Gardener. I went on this retreat because there was something holding me back from happiness and I needed to create some mental space to explore what it was. For four days I was cocooned from the world, surrounded by like mind people and totally consumed with ME (insert happy dance here!)

The retreat

My happy place

I was in my happy place, not only emotionally and spiritually but also physically.

The retreat was held at a private property set on three acres. A gorgeous house, that was spacious and homely. An entertainers delight with a pool, spa, palm trees, hammock (yes I even had time for an afternoon nap on that), a small lagoon to canoe, paddle board or swim in, but most importantly a space that was filled with love and positive energy.

Even though I was in my happy space for four days it wasn’t all Kumbaya! There were plenty of robust debates, uncomfortable moments, activities that stretched your mind and fears that had to be faced.

Face your fears

But here’s the thing

Happiness is not all about being peaceful, joyful and content. It’s about having the courage to go after what you really want, to put aside your self doubt, to get uncomfortable and to know that every day you are doing something that will ultimately give you the freedom and autonomy to lead a happy life.

The number one contributor to happiness

A report by the Journal of Personality and Sociology Psychology indicated that the number one contributor to happiness was autonomy. “The feeling that your life’s activities and habits are self-chosen and self-endorsed.”

Currently I don’t feel autonomous. I feel trapped in a job I have been doing for nearly five years. A job that doesn’t fulfil my purpose, feed my soul or engage me. I hate the thought that I HAVE to sit in an office for 7.6 hours a day doing something that doesn’t fulfill the highest purpose of my life. That said it’s not all gloom and doom. My job does allow me the autonomy to work at the Happiness Bank three days a fortnight and to live a pretty good lifestyle. I know however, I can play a bigger game than this. A bigger game that will give me the autonomy to fully utilise the gifts I was given so I can keep colouring the world with happiness one person at a time.

Self doubt was holding me back

It was early on in the retreat that I realised self doubt was holding me back from my true happiness. I had made self criticism my best friend; not a good move when you want to play big!

Susan said something that really caught my attention “self criticism and self doubt is serving a purpose for you, what is that purpose?”

It’s purpose was to keep me small and safe, because when I played small I didn’t have to worry about failing.

So after sitting by a huge bonfire, under a full moon, with a group of amazing people all wanting to play a bigger game, I decided it was time to let go of self doubt. I know it will always be on the journey with me and sometimes it will want to sit in the drivers seat, but now I am wiser. I will say thank you self doubt for trying to protect me, but I am all grown up now and I can do this on my own.

Paddle Boarding

Happiness is what I crave and autonomy is paramount to this.

In the words of Mark Twain “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do that by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

So who’s coming with me?

Be happy, colour the world.




  1. Hi Claire. So great to hear how a retreat can totally recharge your battery and get you going again. I am about to conduct my next Fuzzy Red Socks retreat for 14 of my favorite people (they say sharing your passion with the people you love is the hardest thing to do) for three days here in the desert of Arizona. And even though my gremlin says, ” Oh my, what have you done, all these people have come to see you do what you do!” – I’m throwing off the bowlines and inviting this incredible opportunity to share my passion for self care with those I love most! Self doubt, as you say, will always be just a few feet behind me, but I’m willing to sail away from the safe harbor and follow in your footsteps and make this special event happen. Thanks for reminding me that it will be worth every minute of it.

    • Carole thank you so much for popping in and sharing. You made my heart sing when you said you were sharing your passion with the people you love, how very special is that. I know they will all get as much out of your retreat as I did with mine because you will be speaking from your heart and that’s when magic happens. The winds in your sails will be propelling you forward every step of the way and even though the gremlins will be on the journey with you they will be at the stern!

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