There are so many books, articles, movies, ideas and concepts of what happiness is and how or where to find it, but somehow we are still looking for it. I know you are, as it has led you to this place here.
What is happiness for you?
Let me start by asking you this: What is happiness for you? Please don’t think too much about it. What comes to mind first when you think about what makes you happy? When are you the most content with your life? What situations or people or places do you associate with a feeling of joy?
Got some ideas and images or even a whole scene played out in your head? Is it something you’ve experienced or something that you hope will manifest itself in the future at some point?
Or maybe you think happiness is what you see in the movies? You know the ones where people have to overcome something terrible in their life and they end up completely and forever changed and in the end find their one true love to top it all off?
Is busyness happiness?
Or is it finding the right job for you? But it’s not just a job, it’s a calling. You have been working towards it your whole life and knew that this was exactly what you wanted to do. But now that you’ve reached your goal, are you happy? Or do you automatically find the next bigger goal and once you’ve reached that, you just know you’ll be happy?
Does happiness revolve around finding your soulmate or a profession you are passionate about? To be really happy, do you need a big house and pool and expensive car or at least a thousand friends on social media?
What is happiness really? What makes us truly happy and content in our lives? Is it something that’s achievable or is it something that we’ll always chase and somehow is always in the future somewhere? Something we’ll hunt forever and we’ll be happy, if only this or if only that?
That seems to be the million dollar question: What is happiness and how do we find it and then keep it for good?
Every single one of us will come up with a different answer when asked what makes us happy. And that is okay.
To me true happiness is something that isn’t in the past or future, it is when I am experiencing a feeling of contentment right in this very moment.
What is left when you take away all of the distractions
Many people seem to think that happiness in life is linked to having achieved certain things, such as having a great job, lots of money, a big house, expensive car, the newest clothes and gadgets, lots of friends and always something fun and new to do. And if that is your aspiration in life, great. Go for it.
I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.
But. Once you take all of those things away, are you still happy? Can you call it true happiness if it is directly linked to having a lot and doing a lot and always needing to do something else to be happy again?
Or is your happiness directly linked to be constantly entertained and busy and what you think happiness might be is just an accumulation of countless times of instant gratification? You know the feeling of wanting something now and then getting it? Great, isn’t it? But unfortunately, it’s not built to last.
How long does that happiness last until you have to buy something new, experience something new, and replace the lost feeling of happiness?
What happens if you strip all of that away, all the entertainment, the social media etc? How do you feel? Are you feeling bored, lost, alone, not connected to the world, restless, unhappy? If you are, then chances are that you weren’t really and truly happy to start with.
It’s not the outside that counts
True happiness doesn’t come from things and outer experiences. It comes from within.
Now you might think that I’m just one of those people who will bore you with the same old platitudes that you’ve heard or read plenty of times before, but never quite understood what people actually mean by it.
So what does it mean that happiness comes from within? It means that you can feel happy without having to do anything special or be anything special or have anything special. It means you can be content where you are right here and right now.
Even in the face of difficult situations it is possible to regain the state of peace and calm that will eventually get you back to feeling content and joyful.
Trust me, I’ve been there. Sure difficult situations can unravel you and make you sad, unhappy, frustrated, angry and lots of other feelings that are perfectly fine to experience for a little while.
The main thing is that you don’t get stuck in a temporary feeling or thought – and everything is just temporary in life – and let it drain you of your deserved feelings of happiness, joy and being content.
The point is that your own happiness is a choice you have to make every day and every minute of your life.
It takes effort and commitment, but it is achievable.
I’ll talk about how to be happy in my next post.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.