What does it mean to be happy?
We throw around this term quite often without really thinking what it means to us. When I ask people in general “What do you want from your life, what is your goal, what is your purpose?” I get the same response: “I just want to be Happy” Just? That’s quite a tall task and we shouldn’t belittle it to just. The biggest blockage to achieving a life filled with happiness in my opinion is:
- We place it outside our own control Eg:
- If only I had this or if only he/she did this.
- We don’t know what would really make us happy.
- We are conditioned to make other people happy before we make ourselves happy
- We suppress the urges and actions that would make us happy out of fear of what other people might think or what society deems as expectable.
- We live in the future and past
My two cents about this
- Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear are that we are powerful beyond measures. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. “ Marianne Williamson” . We fear what will happen when we take responsibility for our own happiness and live to our fullest potential, because we fear it we look for reasons to blame our lack of happiness outside of ourselves such as our romantic partners, the country we live in, the government, our work, our bosses and so on. By placing it outside of ourselves we give ourselves the excuse we need to say it’s ok. Most people perceive this laziness or negativity when it’s actually fear. Remember that courage is not to the lack of fear but the ability to move forward in spite of fear.
- What would really make you happy? When I ask people this is the answer is usually freedom. Freedom from what? ( See my post on the meaning of freedom). Most people want to travel because that’s what they see on the movies. I have traveled extensively and I can guarantee you this alone won’t make you happy, see the exercises at the end to discover what will make you happy.
- We are so conditioned from a young age to consider other people’s feelings before our own. What examples can you think of that you were taught in school and by your own parents? Example: “Go play with that kid.” “No he makes me unhappy and treats me bad.” “I don’t care just go.” We are taught to put the happiness of others before our own. I’m not saying you will always only have things to do that make you happy or to be inconsiderate, I’m saying be conscious not to act how everyone expects you to act because that’s how you think you need to act to make them happy. Someone said “I am not who I think I am, I am not who you think I am, I am who I think you think I am what?” Most people don’t even know what they think themselves, do you really they care about you?
- Take 5 minutes and think about this: When did you want to do something but didn’t because you were unsure what other people will think? How often do we stay in situations that makes us unhappy because that’s what we think is expected of us? Why do we do that? I struggle with this myself. Ultimately we want to be liked and do what we think will make other people like us. This problem is how do we know what goes on in someone else’s mind. People will always judge us regardless s do what will make you happy.
- I will write a blog on this later as this is a deep subject. Sadness comes from living in the past and anxiety comes from living in the future so to have peace we must train our mind to live in the present moment and take all we can from what’s happening now. This is extremely difficult to be in the moment means to let go of what we think this moment (a first date for example) can be and enjoy it for what it is. Find joy in the small things in life such as feeling the warmth of the on your face or holding your partner’s hand and look them in the eyes when they talk to you. Put your phone in your pocket.
Actions / Exercises
- Remind yourself that you and you alone have the power to make you happy.
- Imagine that for some reason you only had 3 months left to live. What are 5 things you would do:
- In your professional life.
- With your family.
- With your friends.
- By yourself
- What type of people do you want in your life? Who do you currently have in your life and how do they affect your happiness- good and bad.
- On an airplane they say put the mask on yourself before you help someone else. What are 2 examples that you recently put the oxygen mask on someone else and in turn it made you struggle for oxygen
- What are 3 occasions when you wanted to do something but didn’t because you were scared of what people might think? This can range from something as small as going to the Opera or as big as taking a year off to travel the world regardless of your circumstances.
- The next time your partner comes home from work take their hand, sit crossed legged on the couch facing each other and spend 30 minutes being completely present with each other’s company. If you don’t have a partner do it with a friend or colleague or even a stranger. Be present and watch their face light up.
Take your action list and be completely honest with yourself as to why you aren’t doing this today.
If you took the time to do this and found it was helpful please help others to I do the same. Imagine a world where everyone lived according to their own truths and values. A world where people were happy and smiled at each other when they passed on the street and where we help strangers because we are living life to its fullest and want to let our light shine.
Please share this with me by email at Eugene@mycoach.co.za and let’s have a conversation.
Happiness is not an event or an object but a choice every morning you wake up.