This week on Inspired Evolution, we’re joined by Kristina Mand-Lakhiani, a serial entrepreneur, international speaker, and artist. She is also the co-founder and head of the Russian Language sector at Mindvalley, a global educational organization offering top training for peak human performance.

Kristina has been a part of the personal growth and transformation industry for the past 15 years. She has held numerous lectures on many different themes including self-improvement and relationship crafting, some even available on YouTube. In one particularly popular video, Kristina educates on how to build a customer relationship in 100 days.

Her personal life is as rich and plentiful, if not more, as her professional life. Whether it’s singing her two children to sleep, playing the harp or immersing herself into classical literature, Kristina is set on taking in every moment and invites us to do the same. Her honesty and authenticity are breathtaking, in a truly educational conversation on dealing with emotions and the search for the true meaning of happiness.

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The Many Upsets of Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is a curse. Because we hold such a high bar for ourselves and we do things for perfectionism sake.” – Kristina Mand-Lakhiani

Kristina goes over her days of attending school and draws from personal experience in order to prove that perfectionism will, in fact, do you more harm than good. The idea of achieving perfection is a cumbersome notion to bear when considering your goals and values. It pushes us into the realm of unrealistic expectations, all the while having to endure the unnatural levels of stress it is inevitably causing. For Kristina, perfectionism is the thing which prevents us from being truly happy.

What Does It Mean to Be Happy?

“First of all, I think we don’t know what happiness is… It’s a very subjective thing.” – Kristina Mand-Lakhiani

Happiness can mean one thing for us, but it can also mean something completely different to someone else. It is a subjective concept, as Kristina puts it, one even scientists seek to avoid in their research. There is still plenty we can do in terms of utilizing the idea of happiness and trying to understand it better so that we could make it an essential part of our lives. For starters, we could make a clear distinction between happiness and other similar, but significantly different terms.

“We should not confuse happiness, joy and fun, which seem like very similar things.” – Kristina Mand-Lakhiani

In the context of life, fun and joy are usually restricted to short burst and periods of time, while happiness is more of a long-term thing. Happiness is a marathon, and the ways in which we try to attain it, need to correspond well with its long-lasting nature.

Long-term Strategies Which Will Help Us Find Happiness

Kristina offers 6 long-term strategies that will help you on your path to finding happiness in your everyday life. These techniques include:

  1. Gratitude
  2. Consciousness (the ability to be present)
  3. The quality of our relationships
  4. Forgiveness
  5. Self-love
  6. The ability to deal with negative emotions

“You express gratitude and for a while, you remind yourself: “Yeah, there are things that are good in my life, not everything is bad.” But you don’t feel the ecstasy from it.” – Kristina Mand-Lakhiani

Gratitude is a great example of why these techniques have an effect when considered long-term. Having and expressing gratitude is not a quick fix. It will not give you an immediate sense of calm, joy or any other brief emotional state you’re striving for. But when applied continuously, throughout our lives, gratitude will give us a more holistic perspective, it will make us see the bigger picture and ultimately will lead to us feeling happy.

“Time is an illusion! And a lot of negative emotions live either in the future or the past… Happiness is the thing that is in the now!” – Kristina Mand-Lakhiani

Kristina compares consciousness to a pulse-check. She emphasizes the take-a-step-back effect it has on us when we are dealing with difficult and negative emotional states. Another benefit of knowing how to be in the present is that it will allow us to avoid all of the negativity that appears from either our past (like regret or not being able to let go) or from our future (like anxiety that arises from uncertainty).

Many studies have shown in the past that happiness correlates with the quality of our relationships with others. Family, friends, coworkers… Having a solid and strong connection with people that enrich our lives is a very important aspect of happiness, which is quite rational when you consider the other side of the coin. If we do not have good relationships with people we interact with on a daily basis, and especially with the people we are closest to emotionally, our days would be filled with stress, angst, and sadness. Having quality relationships protects us from those emotional states.

Other important techniques are forgiveness, self-love and the ability to deal with negative emotions. Forgiveness will allow us to let go and not dwell on the things we can’t change. Self-love is all about having a positive relationship with yourself. To know how to give yourself credit, and to not beat yourself up.

How to Deal With Negative Emotions

“We can all be happy in the happy, but if we can be ok in the unhappy and get back to happy after that – that’s the art of being happy!” – Kristina Mand-Lakhiani

And finally, dealing with negativity. Life will inevitably have its lows, difficult moments that test us. But the important thing is not to ignore or avoid them, but to learn how to find strength from within and use these unfortunate situations as an opportunity for personal growth. Kristina also shares two basic steps to follow when dealing with negative emotions.

  1. Take action only when your emotional reaction has subsided
  2. Accept and name your emotions

The first step is about giving ourselves time to feel what we’re feeling, and allowing our body to return to a more balanced state before we begin the process of accepting and letting go. The second is all about being true to ourselves and being honest about what is happening to us.

When we do not follow through with the second step we make one of three common mistakes. We try to downgrade our emotions by not naming them properly, deny their existence entirely, or we try to move on too quickly from them, without giving ourselves time to heal. These three mistakes are also known as spiritual bypassing, which only leads to unresolved issues. These issues will not leave us, no matter how much we tell ourselves we are happy or joyful. Accepting what is happening to us and giving ourselves time to heal is key in dealing with negative emotions. We need to be prepared to experience life to its fullest, and sometimes that means taking the good along with the bad.

“We are here to let life through us, and not past us.” – Kristina Mand-Lakhiani