What is Happiness? 4.13.16
What is Happiness?
I've been thinking about happiness lately. How easy it is to be happy when nothing has gone wrong. When you have security in life, a relationship, or a job. But what is happiness when that secure career, living situation, or relationship has been disrupted? What then?
We all associate happiness with different things: money, success, security, doing what you love.
What cultivates or affects our happiness can be look different: relationships, work, play, passion, energy, money. I agree with one of those happiness quotes that says "Happiness isn't found, it's made".
Sometimes too feel good, you have to do good. Stop nagging others, tackle a task on your to do list. De-clutter. Go for a walk. Get some sleep. Make something. I've discovered that life doesn't wait for you. Life doesn't wait for you to have energy, have money, have time.
Life just happens. and life will keep happening day by day moment by moment whether you decide to make happiness and be intentional or not.
Does talking or thinking about your happiness mean that your selfish? No! Happy people are generally more kind, more helpful, understanding, more productive at work, forgiving and healthier.
There's a rule of thumb about happiness that's contradictory." One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself. One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy". (The happiness project, Gretchen Rubin).
I write about happiness not to get stuck or self absorbed in my own happiness. But too be mindful of what I'm doing everyday and how my happiness affects others. Namely those that I love. But even beyond that to co-workers, and even perfect strangers.
I recently finished reading The happiness project by Gretchen Rubin. About how one woman spends a year of her life figuring out how to be happier. But unlike other books written in the same vein this woman is easy to relate to. She's married, has two kids, has a job. And while not financially struggling she's not rich and famous either. I learned from reading this book, but mainly i think the way I thought about happiness has changed. Which is why I'm writing this blog post. To hopefully change the way you think about happiness. Or to present you with a different perspective/framework.
I want to encourage you to enjoy now, and choose to be happy today. Choose happiness for yourself and for those you love. We are not promised tomorrow and you never know what tomorrow will bring. We must tackle the "arrival fallacy". The notion that when we "arrive somewhere" we will be happier. Example- When your in high school or college waiting for happiness when you graduate.
Or when your engaged and life won't begin until you get married. I realize that graduation and marriage are two very important life events. That should most certainly be looked forward to. But your life and happiness can't be placed on hold till a certain event takes place. Maybe you relate to being able to move into your own place, or feeling better, or waiting on a promotion at work more so than the other examples.
Whatever your waiting for is important, but so is the season or day that your waiting in. I'm currently waiting to have my own place again. Which I believe when it happens will change things in my life for the better. But there's now, there's today, there is hope and there is happiness. You may have to make it, choose it, cultivate it, but it's there.
The goals we have are necessary as is the process to get there. I guess im accepting this process more. Recovery isn't instantaneous and neither is healing a one time event. It is a process.
In the spirit of this "Happiness is a process not a destination" moment, I would encourage you to make a list. Of happy things or good things however small they may seem. Look at it when you feel tempted to think nothing good has happened. Change your mental tape from "I can't, I won't, I don't" to "I can, I will, I have". You've got this! Enjoy the process- whatever it looks like for you.
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