All of us would like to be happy. We would like to find joy, exhilaration and satisfaction in everything we do and in the life we lead every day. In the crazy, sophisticated world of today, many of us seem to have forgotten how amazingly easy it is to make the constant choice of being happy.
Happiness is something we all want, and even the most cynical among us long to be happy. It is the ultimate reward that life has to offer, but there are many popular misconceptions about what being happy really means.
Here are some truths about the state of happiness.
• Long-lasting happiness isn’t materialistic.
Clothes, mansions, cars and all the material luxuries that money can buy us often only serve as a palliative to numb the desire for true happiness. In all honesty, long lasting happiness is usually got from our experiences and memories, not material things.
To be really happy, we should invest in experiences and build memories doing the things that exhilarate us and with the people with whom we share the greatest love.
• A happy life is different from a meaningful life.
There is quite a lot of overlap between the two states: People who see their lives as meaningful are happier, and vice versa. But there are also differences: Happiness seems to be a transient state whereas meaningfulness is more enduring.
We experience happiness in the present when our needs are satisfied, while meaningfulness involves tying together the past, present, and future in a way that makes sense and reinforces our positive attributes.
For example, having more money may make you somewhat happier, but whether it makes your life more meaningful depends on how you spend it.
• Happiness begins with your thoughts.
Here’s a universal law of happiness and success: What you pay attention to grows! And we often choose to focus on the wrong things – the things that do NOT make us happy.
You need to understand that thoughts are stories we tell ourselves, and you could choose what kind of stories you want to manifest into being your reality.
When you become aware of the power of your thoughts, you’re no longer powered by them. You become wise to how your thoughts dictate your mood.
So, focus on what truly matters, let go of what does not, and feel the genuine, positive power that flows from your decision to rise above all the drama and petty distractions.
• Happiness can be found anywhere, and in anything.
In the totally crazy and absolutely busy world of today we often overlook the simple pleasures our surroundings can offer us. Happiness can be found in slowing down, listening to others and reconnecting with nature (and perhaps with God, if you are a believer).
It could be the fragrance of flowers on the street side, a laughing baby in the neighborhood, deep meditation, travelling or perhaps, prayer.
Some people, find real happiness connecting with nature and some others, find happiness by connecting with God through prayer. We all have different ways of tuning into our inner selves and giving ourselves a break.
Finding what our ‘way’ is and doing it is key to finding our unique happiness.
• Happiness has a lot to do with overcoming the negative.
Being happy and positive does not mean ignoring the negative – being happy and positive means overcoming the negative.
There is a big difference between the two. Truly, the biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome is your mind. If you can overcome that, you can overcome anything.
Being occupied with negative thoughts is the greatest opposition to the present moment. If you worry too much about what might be or what might have been, you will ignore and totally miss what is.
It does nothing but steal your joy and keep you incredibly busy doing absolutely nothing worthwhile at all.
• Happiness is not elusive.
Happiness is not something that can get away from you, and it is not something that is hiding from you. It is always there for everyone to find you just have to turn your attention to the things that make you feel content.
We all have reasons to complain, and whether it seems like it or not, we have an equal number of reasons to smile. What you focus on shapes your environment, and it contributes to how you live your life.
Whenever you feel like happiness is trying to avoid you, you may just be looking in the wrong places.
• Happiness is in letting go.
Old wounds have nothing to do with the present potential for happiness, which is why it is best to just let go. You must remember that letting go isn’t about having the ability to forget the past – it’s about having the wisdom and strength to embrace the present.
You have a choice, to be positive and free or to be imprisoned by your own negativity – to live in the past or to be mindful about the present.
One of the top five regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they hadn’t chosen to be happier, more often. So let yourself be happier. Choose to do what gets you there.