Actually, Happiness Is Not A Thing

image - Flickr / Matthew Faltz
image – Flickr / Matthew Faltz

Most of us just want to be happy, yet don’t know what will grant us this wish. Most perceive happiness as a singular place in time that can be attained by a specific thing or combination of things. All too often I hear: “If I could just have _______, I would be happy,” “If I had _______ job, I could finally be happy,” or “If so-and-so would just _____, I could be happy.” I disagree with all those statements and implore those who feel that way to adjust their perspective on happiness. Happiness is not a thing.

I do not think happiness comes from having this or that, nor does it come from other people. Happiness, true happiness, comes from within each individual. It is something that arises from the mind. Happiness is subjective, not a solid force in this universe. Happiness is how we perceive the world around us. Happiness emanates from the mind, thus it is crucial to cultivate a mindset that will help you allow yourself to be happy*. Too often we spend time doing things we do not enjoy and do not take the time to recharge ourselves by doing what we do enjoy. If you must do things that do not lift you up, it is essential to also make time for the things that recharge the essence of your being.

(* Biologically, of course, a lack of happiness could be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. If this is the case, please know yourself well enough to seek professional help.)

When we perceive someone else as affecting our happiness, it very well could not that person doing this to us, it us doing it to ourselves. We ascribe value and expectations to other people quite often without realizing it. In doing this we are neglecting that other people are individuals with their own hopes, dreams, wants and needs. As such, they are going to operate in their world accordingly, seeking their definition of happiness. If their pursuit of happiness conflicts with your expectations then you’re likely to perceive this person as hurting you even though this might not be their intent.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I thought this was important to mention because it is something I have struggled with a lot. I get my feelings hurt very easily and I have to remind myself that I do not know other peoples intent. The best way to be true to yourself is to be open about your feelings. By choosing to let people in you are indeed making yourself vulnerable, however, you are also making room for deeper understanding and personal growth.

“Go after what creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.” – Kelly McGonigal

I think life is less stressful when we try to remember that everyone on this planet is struggling with the ebb and flow of their own life joys/sorrows. Thinking this way allows us perspective to remove ourselves from the equation, step back and realize that everything is not always about us. It is a hard task, but an extremely valuable perspective to acquire.

Figuring out what makes one truly happy is hard work. Sometimes it involves small changes, sometimes it involves rearranging your entire life. What is important, however, is being true to yourself and following the little happiness breadcrumbs that cross your path. Below is a favorite quote of mine; I absolutely apply it to happiness.

The path to living a happier life will not be without stress. Change is a guaranteed constant in this life and often it causes us stress. With that in mind, stress doesn’t have to be a negative. In fact, cultivating a peaceful and positive mindset can also be applied to stress. Below is another quote that has helped me in more ways than one. TC mark

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