Most of us think we know what makes us happy, but do we? We chase after money and status, seeking happiness by pandering to the senses. We think these will do the trick, but if we knew what really makes us happy, we would crave little.
Take responsibility for your happiness
We gain a wonderful feeling of freedom when we know that it is not events and circumstances that determine our happiness, but our state of consciousness.
Happiness comes from inside. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. Unless you are happy with yourself, you will not be happy with what you do, where you are, who you’re with, what you achieve or what you have. In fact, you’ll never be happy with life.
Abraham Lincoln famously remarked that, ‘Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’ A happy person sees things which justify their happiness; an unhappy person see things that justify their unhappiness. Bad things happen to everybody, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy. It’s dwelling on the negative that wrecks lives.
Happiness is impossible without the decision to be happy. Start every day as you intend to go on, with a cheerful attitude and cheerful thoughts that boost you in body and spirit. Then keep it up for the rest of the day.
Happiness doesn’t have to be earned
Western culture spreads unhelpful beliefs about happiness. We are taught that it has to be earned, worked and paid for. Otherwise we are expecting something for nothing.
Not so! As spiritual beings, it is right that we should be happy. What is more, it’s our birthright. It’s available to all. Claim it!
This is not a selfish attitude. If you don’t have happiness, how can you share it? And how can you make anyone else happy by being miserable?
Happiness is not an absence of problems
Happiness is not the absence of problems. It is faith in our ability to deal with them.
Problems are part of life, and every problem has something to teach us.
If you’re waiting for all your problems to be solved or hoping for a life without problems to be happy, you’ll wait in vain. Part of happiness is enjoying challenges, overcoming difficulties and learning from the process.
Don’t confuse happiness with fun
Happy people have lots of fun, but happiness and fun are not the same. Happiness is an lasting and stable state of being, while fun is transitory. Fun pastimes bring pleasure for a while, but the effect wears off once the activity ends.
To be happy, we don’t need everything to be fun. It’s necessary to undertake unpleasant tasks and put up with tedium from time to time. I’ve laboured in factories, lifted soaking bags of manure from a leaky barn onto a lorry, done mind-numbing office work and sold cleaning products door to door. All these jobs were unpleasant but tolerable because I knew they were just stepping stones to a brighter future.
Many people are drawn into fun activities that distract them from our problems only to find that they’ve made matters worse. Instead, focus your mind on what brings true happiness and lay down the right causes. This is the way to find happiness that endures.
Happiness is infectious
When you radiate happiness, you attract happy people. Be cheerful even if you’re not feeling 100% inside. Why let your physical or emotional states detract from someone else’s day?
Smile a lot and look for the funny side in every situation. Put your ego to one side and don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh loud and often – laughter has been proved to be an effective medicine just as sadness is at the root of many physical ills.
Stop making comparisons
Commercial interests have a great deal to gain by making us feel dissatisfied with what we have. They know full well that only an unsatisfied need motivates, so they encourage us to compare what we have, what we look like and what we do with others. Advertisers skillfully encourage us to want what others have, hoping this encourages us to buy.
Happiness, though, has nothing to do with one’s appearance, wealth, achievements, possessions and so on, so why compare? What’s the point of weighing one set of delusions against another?
Let happiness come to you
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, ‘Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you sit down quietly, may alight on you.’ Happiness is an attitude or state of consciousness. Have you ever tried chasing an attitude?
When we discover what makes us unhappy, stop doing those things and instead act in harmony with Universal Law, happiness comes and gently sits on our shoulder.
©David Lawrence Preston, 17.11.2016
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston
How to Books, 2010