To keep that happiness that we had as a child is something we would have all wanted to keep or maintain in our current life of today. Somewhere along the way we lost that ideal of what happiness truly is. We somehow decided that external things like our success or wealth had a bigger importance in our actual happiness. When instead, more importance in examining and looking inside ourselves should be where we should be finding long lasting happiness to be.
As we got older we forgot one simple fact that made this possible and effortless when we were a kid seemingly pulling happiness out of anything. We forgot happiness is actually a long-term mental state that we have to spend conscious effort to make come to life. Creating a healthy state of mind if you will.
“The key to leading a happy and fulfilling life is being at peace with the present.”
Our happiness is something I’ve learned can be cultivated and with just a bit of work. I’ve found it’s sort of like choosing to look at the world around us through a different lens. This simple shift can have a major impact on my mental well being. There have been studies that have decided 25% of our potential for happiness is defined by our DNA or genes. That leaves 75% up to us by changing how we interrupt the world. It’s completely manageable.
First step, we have to understand better that happiness starts with you not the outside world we blame for our unhappy states. Wealth and social mechanics can impact our happiness so I don’t want to ignore that. However, it’s really accountable for only about 10-15% of it not the weight we’d really like to put on it.
It’s interesting as a friend of mine who works and lives in the Dominican Republic brings this point into perspective. She states all the time her donors leaning in think that the people their donations they give to provide a better quality of life. They feel sorry for people they are helping. They think they must work so hard all the time and stress about how little they have. That they must be so unhappy with the struggle they face everyday.
It’s actually the opposite she states. They’re far happier with less in their lives. They are much more free from anxiety because they don’t have all the hassles of having so much and the work it takes to maintain it. External outside worldly things mean nothing to them, family and friends – the community they surround themselves are so much more valuable and a well spring from where their happiness comes from. People around them and the love they are connected through are a truer measure of wealth and happiness. Not the material.
“When you have an interior life it certainly doesn’t matter what side of the prison fence you’re on.” – Etty Hillesum
Happiness I have often at times confused with pleasure. If I had not pleasure or indulgence in my life, then I wasn’t going to be happy. And vice versa. I found this to be wrong in many of my relationships where pleasure was missing and I depended to much on that pleasure to determine how happy I would be.
Pleasure is momentary in nature, really only happening under certain circumstances at a certain time. So fleeting. To base my happiness in it, something completely external, I found frustration or anger more than happiness. I soon tried to turn to other things that gave me the same temporary happiness and where external like shopping or buying things. After a while, I had all this crap around me that no longer gave me what I needed.
Our thoughts and our emotions can be our worst enemies in our quest to locate long lasting happiness. We mistakenly apply the sources of pain in our lives to the wrong things. So, we never really get to the point of figuring out how to become truly happy because we attack the wrong thing.
It’s like the feeling you get when everything is going wrong around you. The first thought I would have in that situation is why is the world working against me instead of with me? I was out of sync with reality. My negative thoughts are powerful and they were grounding me in the wrong reason for my overall unhappiness. Dwelling on the negative thoughts only made things worse and the hole got deeper. It was an untreated infection that took over my positive mindset after a bit. Triggers are powerful. When we can become aware of them when they happen, we can cut them off, breath, and reroute ourselves around the negative pot holes ahead.
When we don’t control our emotions, they will control us. This next thought may seem off and opposite of what I stated above, but I challenge you to examine the negative thoughts. Find the true roots of your happiness by opening them up and going deep to understand it. This is different then what I said above. Above, I talked about not dwelling on it for to long. Here, just examine and recognize the negative emotion for what it is, simply an emotion. You can eliminate the negativity this way because you have improved your self-awareness to it before it becomes a problem. Now you can self-treat it and return to a happy state much faster. We don’t have to let ourselves be controlled by our emotions.
This is probably one of my longest posts in a bit. Relative I believe to the holiday ahead where there are a lot of people just not happy and can be even more so during the holiday season of cheer. It’s hard work to create long-lasting happiness. By reconciling with ourselves the negative emotions we have, reorienting the filters which we look at them, and staying true to the actual definition of what happiness is we will find happiness far more often then unhappiness.
Cheers and a festive holiday week ahead to you all. Thank you so much for your views. I hope you find some help in them.