Happiness Is Where You Want it to Be
The truth is it’s not your situation or what happens to you that determines whether you feel more or less happy. Happiness doesn’t come from any achievement, relationship, or vacation. Being happy comes from having a full value system, focusing on the present, loving ourselves unconditionally, and knowing how to appreciate what we have.
Everything we just listed goes hand-in-hand. So, if we make an effort to change our philosophy of life, which is full of complaining for most of us, and take up this happy way of looking at life, we’ll realize how we can find happiness exactly where we want to.
You Don’t Find Happiness, You Make It
There’s no point looking for happiness because it’s not hiding. That is, it’s not somewhere out there, like we all think.
If this were the case, there’d be two kinds of people. The ones who live an enviable, happy life, and the ones who have nothing and are unhappy. But that’s not the reality. And we’ll go even farther: sometimes the people who have the least are actually the happiest.
Not to over-generalize, but what tends to happen when people get used to living with less, is that they end up needing less too. The result of this is that their attention is more focused on the little pleasures than on temporary gratifications.
They really appreciate things. This makes them feel more pleasure than the people who don’t appreciate what they have.
That’s why psychological fulfillment comes from within. It’s not about believing we’ll get that thing we think we need, and then we’ll be happy. If you’re not happy with what you have, you probably won’t be when you get it.
How Can I Become a Happier Person?
The first step you need to take to feel more happiness is to stop looking for it. When we tell ourselves we should be happy but just can’t, we get frustrated. And frustration isn’t exactly happiness. Plus, obsessing over happiness fills us up with anxiety and desperation, and ends up turning into a battle.
We’ll never be able to be happy if we pressure ourselves to be happy. Happiness is a state of mental fluidity, of acceptance, of living in the moment.
The truth is that we need very few things to be truly well. A bit of food — not too much, or the pleasure will turn to pain — a bit of water, a roof over our heads, physical activity so we don’t get sick, a goal to get out of bed every day — but not worrying about the result — sleep, oxygen, and not much else.
Thinking we have to have something, no matter how the cost, makes us anxious, and if we get it and end up losing it because everything in this life is fleeting, we’ll get depressed.
On the other hand, to be happier, what we need to do is focus on the present. Nothing exists and nothing is real except for what we’re feeling right now with our five senses. The technique of mindfulness can teach us a lot about that.
Change your values. Don’t focus so much on work, finding a partner, money, or success. When you’re on your deathbed you won’t remember any of that. What you will remember are the experiences you had with your friends, time with you family, the mid-afternoon coffee you drank by the sea, or the sound of your dog breathing next to you while you were reading a good book.
Your priority should be love. Towards yourself, life, and everyone else. If you’re able to love the simple things, human things, and the little details, then you’ll be happy. What if we started right now?