“Happiness” is like a fresh cut lawn – it looks fantastic and everyone wants one, but most people don’t want to do the actual work.
It’s a fascinating topic, because happiness is an individual experience which each of us has to figure out. What one person loves, another shudders at.
I feel like we sometimes overcomplicate it, though. How about narrowing happiness down to three questions?
Do you want to be happy?
What are you doing about it?
Are you doing that every day?
Interestingly, the answer to the first question is a decision, while the next two are actions. It’s easy to SAY you want to be happy, but do you ACT like you do? Projecting your “happiness” is easy and what most people do on social media; it’s when you’re home alone and about to go to bed where the true test lies.
I don’t believe you, if you are one of those people that constantly say ‘If only I had ….” Although admittedly that can be useful if you do, in fact, use the insights on why you feel like that. Did ‘if only’ propel you to make a plan on what you need to do today, tomorrow, the next week, next month to look back in wondrous reflection next time? Great. Otherwise, that statement is a waste of energy. This reflection and positive understanding from good and bad experiences allows you to use that insight to recognise the patterns of future behaviour before you feel one way or another. In my experience, I have felt ‘mistakes’ were only ‘mistakes’ if I didn’t learn from them. For example, dating an emotionally abusive partner over and over.
Stop regretting and start acting on what you want!
I come across so many people who use ‘this happiness thing’ and the fact that they don’t seem to have it as a tool to incite sympathy. “Poor you! You deserve to be happy!” Perhaps people are addicted to attention and being gushed over?
What makes you deserve to be happy? Happiness is another form of currency, it’s earned. But unlike money, it never runs out – it’s infinite. As with most important things in life, we have to learn to value and appreciate it before we start recognising just how much it already is present in our lives. Think about a child that’s just given toys at will versus the poor child with no toys – who works to save his pocket money and buy his favourite. I can guarantee you the latter will recognise and value the joy of his toy far more and for far longer than the former.
I don’t believe you, because you spout forth what’s gone wrong or what isn’t right with your life. But when I ask you what you’re doing about it a blank stare comes over you as if you’re a brussel sprout in the back of the freezer. Saying you deserve happiness is like saying you deserve air. Your body uses air to function and it’s freely available; your body doesn’t think it deserves it. It just gets on with it.
Stop envying others’ success at happiness and proclaiming it as an anomaly or that they ‘landed with their bum in the butter’ or that they’re just luckier than you. Gary Player said that the more he practiced, the luckier he got. Interesting.
This is why I don’t believe you want to be happy, because you think some external influence is dictating your happiness. Au contraire! It’s much closer to home than you think. It lives within you and, just like a sculptor carves layers away to reveal his masterpiece, so too do you have to peel away layer upon layer to discover your true inner happiness. Never stop working at it. Remember, it’s not finite which means there is no end. And this means we are constantly discovering.
Our happiness is ours to build and ours alone. Which means we have a lot more control over it than many think. If your happiness depends on something or someone else, what happens if that thing or that someone is no longer around? Of course, people can enhance our happiness, but they can never create it. Just as 3D glasses didn’t make the movie 3D – they just revealed it to you.
You see why I don’t believe you? Your actions are telling me everything I need to know. So, start working on questions 2 and 3 and watch your life begin to transform. If you aren’t sure where to start then check out my post here on exploring happiness.
The easy part is deciding to be happy. And even though it can take a little time to build your happiness muscle through the next two actions – I can promise, it’s something you will never regret.
So, why not start today?