I think the majority of us in this world want to be happy, whether we know it or not. With all that life brings us, however, it can be easier said than done at times, and we can forget how to just be simply happy. They say the goal behind every goal is happiness, and I would tend to agree with that. When we choose to be happy, our life just flows, and that happiness can have a positive effect on everybody that we meet. When we are not happy, however, that affects everybody too.
Esther Hicks, in her book Ask and It Is Given, offers some wonderful insight into happiness:
The greatest gift that you could ever give to another is your own happiness, for when you are in a state of joy, happiness, or appreciation, you are fully connected to the Stream of pure, positive Source Energy that is truly who you are. And when you are in that state of connection, anything or anyone that you are holding as your object of attention benefits from your attention.
Here are some methods I have found useful for helping me to achieve happiness in my life.
1. Stop Comparing
Many of us can compare ourselves, our lives, our possessions, our jobs, our money, etc. to other people around us. We can compare ourselves to what is being portrayed on the media as the perfect life and feel that we are not good enough as a result. We may even compare where our lives are now to where we were at another time.
When somebody has a so-called better house, car, or job, it doesn’t mean that they are happier than you, or happier than they were before they had these things. Some of the happiest people I have met are people who have very little. Happiness doesn’t come from the external things, as we are brainwashed to believe. It is an inside job.
When we compare ourselves to something or somebody outside ourselves, we are essentially not loving or accepting ourselves. We can never know what another person’s journey is. The first step is to start to love and accept yourself exactly as you are and where you are.
2. Be Present
If we are living our lives in the past or in the future, it is practically impossible to be in the here and now, where all happiness exists. When we choose to be present, we allow ourselves to be happy. We all have things that we regret and that we would like to change about the past. Similarly, there are certain things or ways that we would like our future life to be, but the only moment we ever have is now.
We can live our lives attached to the story of our past, or we can choose to be happy now and let go of the past. It’s important to plan for the future but still be present in what you are engaging with right now, knowing that it is moving you in the direction of where you want to be.
The key to being present, in my experience, is to become aware of when I am not present. Engaging in activities that I enjoy has also helped me to become more present.
3. Let Go Of Expectations
If we have expectations of people, jobs, places, etc. to be a certain way for us to be happy then we are allowing our happiness to be dependent on something outside of ourselves. We are attached to something for our happiness.
I can see in my own life that at times I allowed my happiness to be determined by how successful I was in my job or if I had a great relationship with somebody I love. Sometimes when I was not successful in these areas, I experienced unhappiness.
What I have found helpful is to go for what I want, do the best I can, and let go of the expectation for the result to be a certain way. I was in India a couple of years ago and before I went I decided to let go of any expectations of India to be a certain way. I have found this approach very useful in having a happier experience, in any situation.
4. Be True To Yourself
A quote I heard awhile ago is:
“To be yourself in a world that is trying night and day to make you like everybody else, is probably the greatest battle there is to fight.”
At times it can be difficult for us to be ourselves, and we need great courage and strength to be true to ourselves.
I have noticed that when I’m not true to myself, I experience unhappiness. In my last job, for example, I felt that I wasn’t being true to myself and that I was compromising my happiness for the sake of a wage check at the end of the week.
As I mentioned earlier, I went to India some time ago. It had been a longtime dream of mine to travel India and embrace the culture there, and I really did feel that I was being true to myself while I was traveling India.
Be true to yourself and live life based on your own approval and acceptance. Learn to listen to and trust your heart and just go for what you want. Ask yourself, “What makes my heart sing?”
5. Be Grateful
When we are in the mode of blaming and complaining we are not in a place of gratitude. We are essentially focusing on the negative and usually creating more of that in our lives.
When I was in India, I saw people who could have a real reason to complain. Many people were actually sleeping on the streets there, sometimes whole families. Other times I saw people who had lost limbs or suffered through terrible illnesses. India taught me that I have so much to be grateful for.
Being grateful for where we are right now is definitely a key to happiness. We have so much to be grateful for, such as our health, our job, our house, our family, our friends, etc. Being grateful is not just about saying it but about really feeling and believing it.
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