“I love my life.”

How do you feel when you hear someone say that? Do you feel like, “Yeah, me too!”?

Or do you feel envious? “How arrogant! Where do you get off loving your life? Especially when mine stinks.”?

Recently I ran into someone who asked me what was going on in my life. I told them I was just about to be on Good Morning America and was very excited about that. They didn’t say congratulations or ask me any other questions. Instead of being happy for me, their thoughts turned to, “What am I doing wrong with my life?”

I felt like I had been in a time-warp and was looking at an earlier version of myself. I may not have ever said that out-loud but I used to think that way. Back in my twenties and early thirties, I lived much of my life that way. Someone else’s success or joy meant less for me.

What a myth!

Thankfully I found yoga and Wayne Dyer and my calling in life and I no longer feel such lack. In fact, one of my mission statements is to serve and give back as much as I humanly can. This involves helping others thrive even when—especially whenthey are in the same exact field as mine. It’s funny because (and here’s a little secret of mine) the more I do that, the more show up for me. Mostly it was fear that had stopped me, and most people, from truly living in this way. But once I opened the floodgates to There is enough for everyone, I started to believe it, teach it, and experience it daily.

OK, so you have reached a place where you feel joy at someone else’s joy. Or maybe you were always that way? Lucky you.

Next point of discussion:

How do you get to the place of “I love my life” when you don’t? How do you get there when you feel like your life has taken a wrong turn?

I teach free yoga for kids with special needs. I started this after my nephew (the rockstar pictured above) was diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome, and it cracks me right in half with happiness. One day a few months ago I asked a question I start every kids class with:

What do you love about yourself?

Now, when I pose this question to a room of perfectly healthy adults, I  hear crickets and tumbleweeds roll across the mats. But these amazing kids can’t answer fast enough.

“I love my life!” Jeanie, a blind and severely autistic girl, yelled out before I had even finished the question.

It took me a minute to compose myself; to process the profundity of this little girl—who cannot see a thing, who needs two adults with her at all times—telling me that she loves her life.

What are we missing here, folks? I seriously wanted to take Jeanie out for a hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwich and ask her what her secret was.

That brings me to the next question I ask them:

What are you thankful for right now?

The kids’ answers range from “my parents,” “my Legos,” “music,” “my dog,” “my yoga teacher” (yay!), “my legs,” “the school bus,” and “ice cream,” to “God” and “roller coasters.”

They don’t have to think about it. They have their list ready at all times, both what they love about themselves and what they are grateful for.

So how do you get to the point where you truly love your life?

Here are some ideas that have helped me and my students:
(you may have seen me write about some of these before)

  1. Make a Joy List. I do this in many of my yoga classes and ask my students to post it somewhere where they can see it.
  2. Create mantras for yourself. We do this in my yoga class, as well. Create a phrase or a word and repeat it as often as needed to replace another mantra that no longer serves you, such as “My life sucks” “I am fat” “I am broke,” etc.
  3. Laugh when you fall. It is my rule in my class, but start to apply it to real life as often as you can. Develop a sense of humor. Especially about yourself.
  4. Be kind.
  5. Be grateful for what you have right now AND for what is on it’s way. Say “thank you” in advance.
  6. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. No such thing. As my client’s son Will says, “Mom, why isn’t the word perfect extinct since it does not exist?”
  7. Do yoga. On and/or off the mat.
  8. Find things to be in awe of.
  9. Sing out loud, even if badly. Feel free to come to one of my karaoke yoga classes (that was what I was on Good Morning America for).
  10. Write poems, even if only in your head.
  11. Dance.
  12. If you don’t have anything nice to say, you know the deal.
  13. Tell someone that you love them. Yes, right now.
  14. Take more pictures.
  15. Watch Modern Family.

So there you have it, just a few simple ideas, so that you can really own saying “I love my life!”

If these ideas don’t work, come with me next time I teach my kids and ask them—they seem to have it figured out.

Jennifer Pastiloff was recently featured on Good Morning America. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and advocate for children with special needs based in L.A. She is also the creator of Manifestation Yoga® and leads retreats and workshops all over the world. Jennifer is currently writing a book and has a popular daily blog called Manifestation Station. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.