Unhappy people all share one thing in common: a never-ending, interminable search that always leads to an exhausting state of emptiness. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned about happiness, it is that being happy is something personal. It has nothing to do with anything or anyone else. Searching for it is only going to make your life harder; here are the places you will never find it.
1. In what other people have.
It is difficult to abstain from comparing ourselves to others because we are constantly faced with a swarm of people who seem to have it all figured out. But it is important to realize that ‘appearance’ is exactly that: appearance. It holds no truth. What you see, is not always so. So, instead of deceiving yourself into thinking that someone else has everything you wish you could have, realize that what you see is merely an illusion. Instead of spending all your energy on others, focus on yourself.
2. In a fantasy.
Since we are young, we are asked again and again what we want to be when we are older. While this changes from year to year, our human desire for that pictured life does not. Along with our new desires and goals, come new images of a life we wish we could have. Chasing such aspirations down to every detail will never leave you satisfied. You may never get to have exactly what you pictured, and that is perfectly okay.
3. In a long-gone past.
Searching for happiness does not always mean the search for something foreign and new. It could mean a longing for something you once had that has managed to find a way to slip into your future desires. When writing about this, I recall a quote that has left a mark on my life: don’t look for happiness in the place you lost it.
4. In an ideal world.
What many people tend to forget is that this world we live in will always be far from perfect. People will always do you wrong, people will always hurt you, people will always disagree with you. But what other people do is actually none of your business, and you should not let such matters affect your happiness. If you keep happiness at bay because you want your life to always go smoothly, then you are setting yourself up for disaster.
5. In societal approval.
Many people base their happiness on third party approval. If you’re one of these people then you should stop right now and realize that you will never gain everyone’s approval. Whether you like it or not, those who disapprove of you will always be stacked up in a never ending line. Once you think you’ve finally achieved people’s approval, there will always be more people to impress. Basing happiness on something this volatile and uncertain is foolish. You do not need anyone’s praise, Instagram like, amazed gaze, or flattery, in order to feel good about yourself.
6. In your comfort zone.
Many people want so much out of life, yet they remain in their comfort zones simply because they are lazy. They believe that they will only be happy once they achieve something in particular, yet they never actually strive to do something about it. They laze around, thinking that being ‘good enough,’ or deserving is enough to get them where they want to be. This holds no truth whatsoever. As Neale Donald Walsch said: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
7. In a perfectly controlled life.
Many people feel like they can never be happy if they are not in complete control of everything that happens around them. They attempt to control every area of their lives in order to keep devastation at bay, to the point where it becomes exhausting. But they do not realize that the very act of keeping every little thing together will never allow the peace of mind that comes with contentment.
8. In materialistic possessions.
We live in an age where we are constantly bombarded with images of ‘the perfect life’ through social media. Many people think that they will only be happy once they get a new car, bag, outfit, house, and so on. But everyone who has virtually ‘everything’ can tell you that all these material possessions leave them feeling empty if they haven’t really enriched their souls. Spend your time and effort on enriching your soul, instead of your exterior.
Do not look for happiness. If you truly want to be happy, start here, start now. Happiness is a state of being, nothing more, nothing less. It is being able to get in touch with yourself and getting to a state of mind where you are simply ‘being.’ It is only in this state of mind that you can notice the happiness that comes from a hot sun, drops of rain, and a gasp of air.