We seem to live in a world were we are all searching for happiness. Why is it so hard to find? What is the mystery behind it? What if we stopped trying to be happy and worked on being our ideal selves? Keep reading and find out what this is all about...
Happiness like all other emotions, is not something you can get, but is something you possess. It is the long term pursuit of your goals and your ideal self that gives you fulfillment.
Think about when you find yourself feeling angry. You are not self-conscious about your state of anger. You are not thinking “Am I finally angry? Am I doing this right?” You live in the anger. You are angry and then you are not. Happiness does not work in this way.
Just as a confident person does not wonder if they are confident, a happy person does not wonder if they are happy. They simply are.
Happiness is not achieved. It is a side affect of a particular set of on-going life experiences. (Mark Mason, 2013) Happiness just is. It is not achieved by purchasing something or learning something. Happiness is not a goal. Once you get the wanted parts of your life in order - there in lays happiness.
HAPPINESS IS NOT THE SAME AS PLEASURE.
Pleasure is correlated with happiness but does not cause it. Pleasure is good sex, food, a new car, etc.
The pursuit of immediate pleasure rarely results in long term satisfaction. Pleasure is necessary but it just does not cut it. Research shows when you focus on materialistic and superficial pleasures one ends up feeling more anxious, more emotionally unstable and less happy in the long run. Pleasure is the most shallow form of life satisfaction there is. It is also the easiest. It will never lead you to happiness though.
HAPPINESS DOES NOT REQUIRE LOWERING YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
The failure to meet our own expectations is not connected to happiness. The ability to fail and still appreciate the experience is a fundamental building block for happiness. We do need to look at whether our expectations are realistic. Are we looking for perfection? Are we wanting a script to follow? That is not living.
HAPPINESS IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING POSITIVE.
I am sure you know someone who always appears super happy. It does not matter what the situation or the circumstances. It appears that nothing effects them. Being a positive person is great. But, underneath all that happy could just be a person who is putting on a front. They could be denying negative emotions. Ignoring negative emotions will only enforce them and make them bigger and bigger.
GUESS WHAT? SHIT HAPPENS!
That is reality. Things go wrong, people get upsets with us, mistakes are made and negative emotions come on. Negative emotions are totally necessary and healthy for maintaining a stable baseline of happiness in life. So instead of fighting them, roll with them. The trick to dealing with the negative emotions is first to make sure you are expressing them in a social acceptable and healthy manner. And second, express them in a way which line up with your values. (to set up a personal value assessment click here)
It is not the end results which define our ideal self. It is not specifically finishing the marathon that makes us happy - it is achieving a difficult long term goal that does. This is the reason that trying to be happy will inevitably make you unhappy. Trying to be happy implies that you are not already your ideal self. (you are not aligned with the qualities of who you wish to be) If you were acting out your ideal self - you would not feel a need to try to be happy.
We see statements about “finding happiness within” and “know that you are enough”, it is not that happiness itself is not in you. It is that happiness occurs when you decide to PURSUE what is in you. It is the long term pursuit of what you want rather than the happiness prize at the end.
This is why happiness is so fleeting. We all know this feeling that happiness is right around the corner. We can feel it for a moment, in a sigh, a proud moment - it always feels like we need one more thing to fall into place.
ASSIGNMENT: Imagine who you want to be and then step towards it. One step at a time. Dream big and then do something, one thing. The simple act of moving at all will change how you feel about the entire process and serve to inspire you further.
Let go of the imagined result - it is not necessary. The fantasy and the dream are merely tools to get you off your behind.