The key to happiness – true, lasting happiness – has been the topic of many books, lectures, videos, and many a pilgrimage. It seems like such an easy feel good emotion that it’s hard to believe we easily allow it to go away in favor of sadness, fear and hatred. And while I still have moments where I allow those negative emotions in, I know the key to happiness lies in self acceptance.
Self acceptance of how you look, where you are in life, etc. It’s about making a conscious effort to shift from constantly complaining about where you currently find yourself, to choosing to live in gratitude for what you have now, in the present. It’s about stopping that internal dialogue always going on in our heads trying to convince us that what we are is not enough and we should be striving for better, for more. You should be thinner, younger, fitter, richer, smarter – fill in the blank with whatever your Ego is currently screaming you should be. What we have to understand is that’s merely a fear driven conceptual image our Ego has created for us to live up to. Yes, it is something that is made up and not based on any actual truth or reality.
To keep those thoughts and my Ego at bay, I make it a point to wake up every morning and go to sleep every night grateful for the daily little things life sends my way. Like the miracle that is my body and my overall health, which allow me the opportunity to awake, see the sun, breath, hear and walk unassisted. I know that not everyone has that same opportunity. Much like I know and am grateful for having a roof over my head, a job, transportation, friends, family, my furbabies, the list can go on and on here too.
It’s about finding happiness in the ordinary vs. waiting for the extraordinary. If you really look at it, the ordinary is pretty extraordinary in its own right. It’s filled with so much beauty and unlimited happiness which we unfortunately choose to ignore and take for granted, in search of something outside of our true selves. And when you do that, you’re actively rejecting who you are, which is self sabotaging in every way possible. Why? Because you’re seeking your Ego’s idea of perfection, which is non existent because even if you make it to that goal/image your Ego has laid out for you, it will continue to criticise you and reset the bar higher, and higher and higher each time.
This explains why some still don’t experience lasting happiness even though they’ve gotten the promotion they thought they wanted, got to their ideal weight or won the lottery. Awareness of self and our emotions is the only thing that can help. If we choose to go through life being angry, judgemental, etc. then that is what we will feel about ourselves. If however we choose to let love guide us to see the best in others, then that too will be how we feel about ourselves. It is actually allowing ourselves to soften into love that brings about happiness. Not anything external to us like the person we’re with/wish for, the job/money we have/wish for, or the fun things we were doing/wish we were doing. The happiness felt at those moments was/is tied to the expression of love we’re allowing ourselves to feel in the moment, with those we’re with and/or for what we’re doing.
When we allow ourselves to let go of reacting to events outside of ourselves – like the past or worrying about what the future should be – and take time to live in the moment, appreciating all that is, then we easily fall into love and happiness. It’s that shift that allows us to shift from rejecting ourselves and listening to what our Ego thinks we should be, to allowing happiness and joy in our lives.
So finding true happiness goes beyond whether you consider yourself a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of a person. It’s whether you can find happiness in simply knowing you have a glass.
What brings you happiness in your life?