Secrets to finding happiness
Updated: Aug 29, 2018
I bet you want to know this!
'The Dummies Guide to Happiness' - unlock the basic steps to making your way through a happy life.
Pretty much like anything that truly works, anything that's not a quick fix, a fad or a trending idea, the true path to happiness lies with basic, simple and consistent approaches to life.
There are no 'secrets', there is just a desire to acknowledge where you are at, and a desire to make changes. In particular, the key lies with a lack of attention to external influences, opinions and expectations.
There are however a number of successful and happy people who will advocate several proven methods to live a happy life. Sometimes these 'experts' are espousing a quality of life and happiness based exclusively on financial success. However, I don't really believe in a one size fits all approach to achieving an end result. And if your definition of success is based upon achieving financial abundance, then there are a number of wealth creation models that will support your education and process.
There are most likely at least a dozen steps to forging towards happiness, but what usually works is creating mindfulness around a basic number of changes, attitude shifts or approaches to our daily life.
In my opinion, it doesn't matter what we 'do' with our life - whether we choose to be a brain surgeon, a garbage collector, travel the world endlessly, have a tribe of children or be a devoted husband/wife - happiness comes primarily from a sense of pride, purpose and fulfillment from what we choose to do regularly. How we choose to spend the currency of our day to day lives. The time we have here is what's truly valuable, not the bank balance or investment portfolio we can acquire.
My secret to happiness is not caring what anybody else thinks. Your opinion of me has absolutely no bearing on my opinion of me.
In my experience, the basic steps to your happy place, despite your current circumstances include:
1. Refuse to allow anyone else to dictate your happiness:
Do not give time, attention or brain space to anyone else's perspective or opinion of who you are or how you choose to live your life. We are all individuals, with unique personalities, unique talents and vastly different ways of operating in this world. If you feel the need to defend your choices, your actions or your preferences then they must not truly be aligned with your authentic life. Trust me, when it feels good and it feels right - we don't need to publicise it, seek praise for it or seek permission to do it. We do not need to create a happy Facebook highlights reel!
2. Do not allow a lifetime of family issues to continue or negative patterns to perpetuate:
Even though we may have been born in to a pre-determined family, a group of people related by blood, that does not mean we have any obligation to work towards a 'happy family' if that dynamic does not exist.
The most pain and disappointment in life I have witnessed relates to people consistently being hurt, disrespected and ill treated from members of their own families. These are behaviours that we would never accept from friends, from work colleagues or from acquaintances. Emerging from the same gene pool does not hold us to a legacy of pain, hurt or abuse - we individually have the right to sever ties with others who have an impact on our quality of life.
3. Practice the art of forgiveness (and it does take practice!)
It is really, really tough to maintain a balance in our happiness when we foster anger, resentment or at worst, hatred towards others. Quite simply, they are opposite ends of the spectrum and the stronger leverage that these intense emotions have, will derail your happiness at different intervals.
People that I know that cannot forgive someone, for whatever reason (and some reasons do appear completely justified), I have observed as ultimately being the one that suffers continually or intermittently.
Anger, hate, resentment, frustration and disappointment do not marry easily with happy. Don't get me wrong, they can certainly co-exist, but without forgiveness, happy cannot put down roots.
I'm sure you've heard all the platitudes - you can forgive, but not forget; forgiveness is a gift to ourselves. It seems at first, unjust to forgive someone for causing us pain and heartache, but the reality actually is - when we harbour those intense ill feelings, we truly only hurt ourselves. The other party continues on with their life, oblivious to the depth and frequency of these feelings you have. Their life is not lessened by the fact, only yours is.
Its a toughie - I myself am so stubborn, I like to hold on to the desire to be unforgiving - for a looong time. But over time, with age and wisdom, I've come to see the true gift of peace that forgiveness brings.
4. Find something, find anything that makes you feel good! That thing that lights you up, that makes you feel like you ...
Every single person inhabiting this planet has a unique and special identity, fingerprint and reason to be here. We all have talents, skills, quirks, likes and dislikes, opinions and identifying characteristics that make us truly one of a kind. We should be proud of these individual diversities, we should exalt in what makes us unique.
The joy of being here day after day is in embracing that which makes you different from everybody else. You will have things that you like to do or have or make or ways that you spend your time that make you feel damn good. And I'm not talking about external sources and stimulants, drugs and alcohol and risky behaviour.
This may be a 'doing'- painting, cooking, gardening, fixing cars, caring for children, singing, travelling; or it may be a 'being' - meditating, being of service to others, showing compassion, philanthropic endeavours. What makes you 'come alive' is the something that you should embrace, nurture and do regularly. It doesn't have to be your career or profession, but should be valued and actively pursued in your life.
If you cannot think of something that makes you feel this way, think back to your childhood, what you loved to do, how you spent your time, what you dreamed you may do, or be or achieve some day.