I’ve been reading so many posts on Facebook lately by people who seem to be desperately seeking happiness and seem to be failing in their mission. I see people who seem resigned to the fact that happiness is out of their reach because A, B, and C didn’t come together or because Jane Doe/John Smith doesn’t love them or because < insert reason here >. I’ve seen so much of it lately and it’s been weighing on my brain a lot.
Five years ago I got divorced. It was a choice that I made because the situation simply wasn’t right for me. There are other reasons I can pin it on but at the end of the day, my happiness wasn’t there. I’ve spent the last five years ago realizing that my happiness isn’t in anyone else but me. I say it a lot and I get a lot of skeptical comments or glances, as though people think I’m just offering up platitudes. It’s like the people who know me have forgotten that I don’t just say it to say it. I have a history. I have experience. I’ve been through the ringer and have been stretched beyond my limits. I’ve been at my lowest, with no money, a broken home, a bad job and very few options. When I say that happiness is deeply internal, it isn’t just lip service that I read on some website. It’s a tried and true, very tested truth.
Sure, other people can help contribute to your happiness. Sure, good circumstances can make you happy. I don’t deny either of those things. But even in shitty situations, even when you’re not in love and not floating on cloud nine, you can be happy. It’s about finding a peace within yourself and rolling with the punches as they come. Happiness isn’t a situation; it’s a state of mind. Even when I worry about how the next bill is going to get paid, I can still smile and laugh and feel content. I stopped giving so much importance to the things that I can’t control and on that day, my life improved ten fold. Sure, some days I forget my own advice. One those days I let myself dwell and feel sorry for myself but when I get my perspective back and STOP giving those things importance, I immediately feel better. I feel happy. I feel happy because I let myself feel happy. I feel happy because I deserve it. Just like you do.
I found this today and it’s another example of people saying what I’m thinking better than I can, so I’m going to go ahead and shut up and let them do just that.
The Secret of Happiness
We all know it, but we don’t get it. The secret of happiness it that it comes from within us, not from outside us. But we twist this knowledge into something it should not be. We pervert it. We constantly run back to money, people and possessions. “I would truly be happy inside if “I could just get a man/woman.” “If I can just get this job, I will be happy inside”. If I could just possess this one thing, I would be happy inside”. Six months. Six months at the outside is the time that happiness will last if it is solely based on exterior circumstances. Then your brain will say “enough of all this high intensity” and will regulate back to a normal level of satisfaction”.
We have to CHOOSE to be happy. We can CHOOSE to not let circumstances effect our lives. Remember circumstances are neutral. We have the choice as to what value we place on them. We have the choice to see problems or see solutions (even opportunities). We have the choice to play the victim/martyr or the one who is tenacious (hanging on never quitting) or even the hero. We have the choice to be calm and content in all things, or anxious and discontent in all things.
As far as relationships go, this is very important. Until you can love yourself and be happy without a mate, then you will never find happiness in a relationship. You put too much emphasis on the other person to bring you happiness. When they don’t, you will blame them and want to try someone new. Or, you will pressure them to bring you happiness and smother them looking for happiness and will drive them away. Again, until you can be happy and content on your own, you are poison to another and they are poison to you. It will bring you even more heart ache then you already have. I will write more about this at another time.
Happiness is found in the day to day small things. A good cup of coffee. A good conversation. A job well done. A sunny day. A rainy day. Finding the beauty around you by being awake and observant. A comfortable bed. The breeze on your skin. Relizing that everything does not have to be more than it allready is. A lot of things are good just the way they are. We don’t need to add to them to “make them even better”. The list of little things to be happy about in a day is endless. Again as I often discuss, we can train our brains to think differently if we discipline them consistently. If we CHOOSE to look for all the little things that make us happy hour by hour, then we will end up happy at the end of the day. If we do this every day, we will end up happy at the end of the week. Do this every week; you gain a year of happiness. Do this every year; you gain a life time of happiness.
The choice is ours. Me included. I need to follow my own advice as much as anyone.