It almost seems if there is an epidemic of unhappy people these days. Far too many people are simply biding their time each and every day thinking there is some magic formula that is going to make them happy. As a result they keep tinkering with their lives by making small and big changes hoping that one day they get it right. Instead of living in the present and making the best of their circumstances, many individuals are either are too nostalgic for the past and “what could have been” or too caught up with the future and “what should be”. In their wake often lies the scattered remains of failed or stalled careers, broken relationships, emotionally scarred children, unnecessary debt burdens, unhealthy lifestyles, the complications of too much medication and therapy, and the inevitable isolation resulting from ever increasing narcissism.
It’s no wonder there is so much unhappiness. Our expectations have been carefully manipulated for years by commercial interests who just want to sell us more “stuff” through locating our pain and unhappiness. They have mastered the art of telling us what’s wrong with our lives. We are bombarded with media and social messaging that tells us to put ourselves first. It’s all about how we look, how much we have, what we do for a living, not settling for the less than perfect partner, where we live, how we feel, how smart and successful our kids are, where they go to school, etc. All of this is a trap and only leads to one place and that is further unhappiness.
Happiness comes from within not from some set of external stimuli. Of course there are examples of people who are in terrible circumstances that obviously need changing, but this the exception not the rule (especially in a country as blessed as the United States). The pathways to true happiness have always been the same throughout the ages:
- find your passion and spend time cultivating that passion;
- find your talent and spend time cultivating that talent;
- strive to build long-term meaningful relationships that are based on mutual emotional support and respect;
- give back to others who are less fortunate than yourself – make a positive difference in someone else’s life;
- live your life in the present tense and make the most of the here and now;
- take responsibility for your actions including learning from your mistakes;
- practice acceptance and forgiveness for yourself and others as often as possible;
- avoid negative self-talk; and
- don’t let fear rule your life, instead accept it, embrace it and move forward anyway.
Life can be a roller coaster at times. There will be highs and there will be lows. The important thing is not to overreact or think that everything has to be perfect all the time. Perspective is important. There is no silver bullet. There is nothing you can buy or pill you can take that will make you happy for any extended period. The joy from acquiring things is ultimately ephemeral. Count your blessings. Look for the good in yourself and others. Commit to your important relationships even when they are tested. Pay attention to what really makes you happy, not what you think or have been told should make you happy. Look inside and be true to yourself and your loved ones – happiness will follow.
- Happiness is just one choice away. (dailyconversationswithdad.com)
- The Real Happiness Lies in Us (socyberty.com)
- Earnestness – The Key to Living a Happy Life (psychologytoday.com)
- Happiness – part one. (drchana.com)
- The Happiness within – Heaven on Earth (one232one.wordpress.com)