It’s real and achievable.
I have always been one to feel weird when someone said words such as “responsibility” and “discipline”. But it’s these two words that give you the proper leverage for creating happiness;
I’ll explain further.
My mind tends to drift into chaos, dreams, projections, potentials, what if’s and an endless parade of alternative possibilities my life hasn’t reached yet. I am constructed that way, both by nature and by nurture as well.
Coming from an emotionally unstable past and pairing that up with genes I’m personally that proud to boast about, I now have a better understanding of my mind. Not to condone it, but to learn what I can do with it in order to create the best outcome possible.
My early life had concepts such as discipline and responsibility practically non-existent, both in myself and in the rest of my family. So I had a hard time understanding that which I did not know.
My therapist told me a few months ago “you know, this sport might have saved more about you than you realize, the alchemy you’re doing in the gym is incredibly nurturing for your emotional regulation”. I nodded, simply because I know she is my therapist and she knows me better than I know myself.
But after that simple remark a while ago, I grew more acquainted with the concepts of “responsibility” and “discipline”, reading more about them and seeing how deeply tied they are with the experience of flow, as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi puts it in his work.
And I’ve known flow, all too well; during my bodybuilding training, when I run, when I cycle to the gym when I’m preparing for a competition and I find flow in my ability to control and command my hunger.
Bodybuilding has been the outlet for flow experiences in my life, where interacting with others, being intimate with someone, watching movies or documentaries, reading or any other activity have not.
And while storms come and go in my own mind and in-between moments when I am focused, calm, steady and consistent in my behavior as a human being and moments when I feel lost, confused, numb or overly sensitive, one thing has remained painstakingly constant and consistent: the energy I invest in bodybuilding.
It has been the constant that glued itself to me, out of the trials in my life and I have yet to see it fade into a lesser version. I am no fanatic, but I seemed to have created discipline and responsibility towards something that allows me to bleed these skills into other areas of life.
And every time I exert discipline and responsibility towards the way I act, feel or think, I become happy.
Even if it is for fleeting moments, I find satisfaction in the ability to create a happy state of being simply by practicing how to be disciplined with my thoughts or my feelings. And when I understand how responsible I am for my own actions, I get a sense of control over my life that has been a relentless source of anxiety for me in the past.
Happiness is not a constant, it is always coming and going. But it requires a constant set of skills and those we can practice.