Have you ever found yourself saying things like:
“Once I get this, I’ll be happy.”
“I’ll be happy as soon as this changes.”
And then, once you get that thing, or that other thing changes, you still find yourself anything but happy? Have you ever wondered why that is?
The thing about happiness is that it’s not something that is achieved. It’s not something that can be found. It’s not something that magically happens once other “things” fall into line the way we desire them to. It’s also not something that happens when we work harder to try to control the things around us. This is a myth that we’ve all been brought up to believe. A lie that we’ve been living. A burden we aren’t meant to have.
Sure, having a nice car, house, loving family, and a fulfilling job is something we all enjoy having. The problem is that these things alone will not bring us happiness. And what happens when we look towards these things for happiness, which inevitably does not happen or is short-lived at best, is that happiness turns into this elusive “thing” we want, but can’t seem to “get.”
Let me fill you in on a little secret.
Happiness is not circumstantial. It is not based on what we have, where we are, or even who we are. The awesome thing about realizing this is that we have now opened up to the possibility of being happy in lieu of the circumstances around us. We don’t have to wait for everything to be “just right” and perfect to be happy. We also don’t have to control what’s outside of ourselves to be happy, either.
Happiness is a state of being. It’s a space that is already within us. A place we can be in at any moment in time. We get into this habit of thinking that happiness is outside of ourselves, which makes it all the harder to experience this beautiful, pure, and joyous state because we’re looking externally for it, when really, it’s always there, waiting for us to realize it.
What this means is that we can choose happiness in this very moment. Right now. Regardless of anything that is happening outside of ourselves.
How much of a game-changer is that?
And the even more amazing thing that happens when we make the choice to be happy now, is that eventually, the things happening around us will begin to mirror this state we find ourselves in. Suddenly, that annoying neighbor will seem not so hard to deal with. Or your angry boss may seem to change his tone seemingly overnight.
So, how can we start being happy right now?
First, we must learn to love ourselves as we are. Looking externally for happiness, validation, or wholeness is not sustainable. Just like with any change, it must start within for anything real to truly happen. When we live in a space of self-love, we are also living in a space of abundance and freedom. Our relationships reflect that love and abundance. Our work is purposeful and fulfilling. And our health shifts as well.
Nothing about us needs to be fixed. Nothing is wrong with us. The important thing to remember is that these are all just stories we tell ourselves. Stories we’ve made up along the way. When we can let go of these limiting and down-right fictional stories, we can experience true freedom, happiness, vitality, and abundance.
Second, we must start to connect with ourselves. We all have so much to do and very little time for stillness, but this is where the magic happens. Even if it’s just for a few moments out of the day, find time to just be quiet with yourself. What happens when we start to do this is we find ourselves less distracted by what’s happening around us, people’s opinions, or our own self-doubting and critical voice that resides in our head. Psst — that voice is not you! One of the best ways to begin doing this is through meditation. There are many forms of meditation out there, including traditional sitting meditation and, my favorite and easiest to incorporate, active meditation. Some activities for active meditations include washing dishes, brushing our teeth, or simply walking to and from our destinations. The intention here is to simply get quiet and be mindful. You can use this time to reflect or listen for that internal voice, the calm and knowing one, to help you gain clarity or guidance surrounding something that has been bothering you. It can also be a time to learn mindfulness and being present in our lives — focusing on every movement and acting with intention. In doing so, we create a stronger connection to ourselves and our inner abundance and wisdom that will always lead us down the right path.
Third, set a happiness intention. We’ve learned that happiness is a choice, and realizing this empowers us in a way that we can truly deal with anything and everything that comes our way. When we choose to look at ourselves, our relationships, and our circumstances in a loving light, we are both strengthening our capacity for happiness, but also opening ourselves up to possibilities and solutions which we could not see prior. You’ll find yourself less judgmental, less worrisome, less fearful, and less confused. Sometimes you’ll struggle, but it will no longer be as troublesome as before. The most powerful way to shift your perception and align with this state of happiness, is by setting an intention every morning when you wake up. This can be as simple as, “I choose happiness.” The important thing when doing this is to be sure that you feel it as you say it, even if it may take a few repetitions. Something I enjoy doing is saying it to myself in the mirror until I feel it flow through me as truth.
Finally, learn to let go. The biggest insight to take away from this is all we can control is ourselves. We cannot control what happens to us or what other people do, we can only control how we respond them. Letting go means letting go of control, and cultivating faith and trust that all is right and all is good. When we make the choice to let go of the things we cannot control, when we make the choice to stop trying to force things to happen, we open space for magic and possibilities and our deepest desires to be made manifest. Whatever it is that we dream of, is happening now, as long as we allow it to unfold in the way it is meant to, not the way we think it’s supposed to. Letting go allows us to step out of the box, and into a world full of opportunities for more joy and happiness than we could possibly imagine.
By loving and connecting with ourselves, being intentional, and letting go of control, we can truly experience a life full of happiness. We find ourselves trusting in the flow of life and all it brings us, knowing that everything we wish for is manifesting in it’s own divine timing and way. All we have to do is get out of our own way, and simply be.
Originally published at essencentral.wordpress.com on February 4, 2017.