Ten Things I Believe About Happiness

And the answer to what you’re missing

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.” 
Mary Oliver

I have always loved Mary Oliver’s poetry. There isn’t a single thing she writes that doesn’t go straight to my heart.

How do you start your day? Like Mary, in happiness and kindness?

Having been an executive coach for twenty years listening to thousands of people’s challenges and problems, wins and delights, hearing despair and hope, what I found was that there were some simple things people were missing that would lead them to happiness. These are short and sweet but worth reflecting on as you go through your day.

10 Things I believe about Happiness

  1. The world needs more happiness, more joy and more peace. And it’s there, but you’re not tapping into it.
  2. You need to learn gratitude. From gratitude comes happiness.
  3. No one will ever give you happiness. Happiness is an internal state of being that is the result of your perspective and how you act on that perspective.
  4. To be empowered is to be happy. Find ways to empower yourself.
  5. Understand that happiness is temporary. One moment you can be happy then shit happens and you’re unhappy. Why? Because you’re attached to the feeling of happiness and you don’t understand impermanence. The source of all unhappiness is your attachment to the illusions of your life, what you want it to be rather than what it is. This causes suffering. So, back to happiness is an internal state. Remember all things pass. Change the way you think and change how you feel too.
  6. Anything that makes you feel “not enough” will stunt your happiness. In all things, remember, you are most certainly “enough” and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Life holds abundance if you look for it. And back to gratitude.
  7. Wanting sabotages happiness. You have so much yet you keep focusing on what you don’t have. Go back to gratitude.
  8. Curiosity generates happiness. Get out and explore. You learn a lot about yourself and about others. Exploring, traveling and being curious always leads to happiness because you discover the goodness in yourself and in others.
  9. The greatest happiness is found in the simplest things. The powdery smell of a baby, the nuzzle from a puppy, the hummingbird at the window, the smell of salty air by the ocean, the hug of a friend, the smile of a stranger…I could go on and on. It’s everywhere. You’re looking but you’re just not seeing.
  10. Keep learning. Yes, that brings happiness too. Don’t just learn stuff for work. Learn to play an instrument, take dance lessons, take a bartending class, go kayaking, learn something way out of your comfort zone. Believe me it’s thrilling to do and it will make you happy.

You can be happy when you most need it without making it a long, drawn out process. One word, one phrase will help you see a new possibility and that will produce peace in your heart and strength in your mind.

Gratitude is the great leveler. Feeling unhappy? Find something to be grateful for.

Pay attention to your life. Reach out, share your love, go do the thing you’re called to do and stop making excuses or blaming others.

Follow your longing and you’ll be happy.

It’s your life. Only you get to decide what you’ll do with it. Be open to receiving love and you’ll find happiness in the simplest things.

And when life hits you with problems, challenges and sorrows, that’s when gratitude has to kick in. The flower blooming in your garden, the dawn breaking, your child’s hug, the smile the barista gives you are all there in the darkest moments.

Remember that you are loved and that even this, whatever it is, will pass and make you stronger and more capable, and grateful, than before.


Alicia is a writer, storyteller and catalyst for personal growth. She works with people who want to intentionally create a life that brings your heart and mind into alignment so you experience greater meaning, joy, peace and purpose in your life. www.aliciamrodriguez.com

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