Reflecting On Happiness
How do we really know what we want and what makes us happy until we experience it? How can we know what we love, what works for us, what we need? We can make lists upon lists of what we like and don’t like, the pros and cons, and so forth.
But on paper or in our imaginations, life can be different to reality and what actually comes to pass.
We can guess what is important, what we want, or think we want (there is a difference), and we can be pleasantly, or unpleasantly, surprised by what turns up.
It is part of the adventure. It is part of life. It’s part of creating.
Something we think we might not enjoy can turn into something we can no longer live without.
Likewise, something we think we will love to do can turn into a nightmare. Been there, done that.
It ought not to stop us from wishing and dreaming, but we need to be aware that at any minute we can reach a turning point, that plans can change. When we ask for something, we need to ensure we also ask for the courage to deal with the consequences of our request.
In the meantime while we take (small) steps towards our dreams, it is important to enjoy the process, the here and now. I often have to remind myself of this, especially when I am experiencing “challenges”.
Why wait to be happy until we have lost weight, got a better job, or are making more money, for example?
What if those things never happen? What if that supposedly ‘better’ job isn’t any better?
It is the ego or mind setting up rules to govern how, when, and where we can and will be happy. It is creating a conditional happiness. “When X happens, I will be happy.” “When I get Y, I will be happy.” The ego is never satisfied, always pursuing more of everything.
If we adhere to these rules, we miss out on other potentials for happiness and joy that we could have experienced along the way. We limit ourselves. Essentially we are building the bars for our own cage to lock ourselves up in. We are the ones putting the shackles around our ankles and wrists.
Happiness does not depend on a set of conditions (think of people in so-called poor countries who self-confess to being happy). If it did depend on having the house, job, car and latest branded gear, then wouldn’t a lot more people be happy than they are?
Happiness can be experienced right here, right now. Just being alive in the first place. And as we feel happy in this moment, then really it does not matter what happens next. The likelihood is that we’ll attract more happiness as we are already happy. Remember the ego loves to create, and live in, drama. The true self does no such thing.
I endeavour to break free from these self-imposed shackles and conditions for happiness and love, and to love myself and my life just as it is. And funnily enough, that’s the moment life starts to change…
…for the better.
Please note I do not advise suppressing emotions and feelings – they are real and need to be felt. They too are part of life. This is more about having the awareness we can choose an inner state of being before taking outer inspired action.
PS If you like a bit of science behind why to focus on happiness first, then I suggest reading the excellent The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.