“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” ~Lao Tzu
Happiness is a state of being, it is not a one time event. You can’t buy happiness at the store, or search for it online-you can only be happiness. In this moment you can choose to be in a state of happiness or you choose not to be. So simple, yet it’s a concept that seems so complicated to most of us living lives defining our worth by doing a job, being “busy”, and chasing for the next big thing in life.
We want happiness now.
As a society we chase after happiness by going to different countries, different relationships, exercising more to feel better about our achieving our “perfect” body, but happiness doesn’t care about any of this. It doesn’t care where you live, where you work, who you date or marry, or what you eat. All it cares is that you accept this moment for what it is.
Not what you were thinking? Easier…but also more complicated than you thought?
The first key to happiness is to drop the judgement of your thoughts.
Happiness is a muscle that takes practice like anything else. You don’t get a 6 pack of abs over night, right? The first step is learning how to use the muscle and practicing it every day. All that is required for happiness is a heart and a body and training yourself to be present in this very moment, which takes no thought only presence.
When you begin to train yourself to be present for these moments chemicals are actually released in your brain that create happiness, but let me stop you there-you can’t take a pill for happiness. Rather to truly experience happiness you must be with in it’s most natural state. It through practicing gratitude and experiencing joy that empowers you to cultivate happiness.
Joy is directly linked to happiness. Smelling your favorite flowers, taking a walk in the woods, spending time with the people you love. When you experience joy you directly experience happiness.
But you don’t need to experience joy in every moment to experience happiness, you can also experience gratitude. No matter how “good” or “bad” your life is gratitude is always there. You can’t think or do your way into happiness, you can only be happy.
We live our life not in years, but in moments. Moment by moment we make choices that can change the course of our life and we become different people as we make these choices. As our lives continue to unfold in front of us we can choose to either embrace or hide from these moments that are always happening.
Happiness comes from being fully present for the moment, not waiting for it to find you.
To be happy you don’t need any money, you don’t even need to be in good health, all you need to be is grateful for the moments that will continue to unfold. What creates unhappiness is our expectations, but what if you let go trying control the outcome of your life? Rather, you let go of the idea that life “should” be a certain way, and rather enjoyed what is in front of you? It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be authentic.
I didn’t become happy when I found my dream job, or the love of my life (and I’ve found both eventually), I became happy when I dropped my notions of what it means to be happy. I stopped seeking. When I made the choice to stop seeking and rather focus my energy on being present, everything changed.
That’s when I found my calling to be a yoga teacher and I left a career I had spent the last 7 years building in the non-profit world. I became my own social entrepreneur.
That’s when I met the first love of my life in a coffee shop-unexpectedly.
That’s when I found a joy for travel.
That’s when I quit graduate school to become a journalist and started publishing my writing now, rather than waiting for my writing (or job title or education background) to be perfect.
I found the key to happiness is your presence and a sense of grateful for your life story–all of it. We all have a story to share and to continue growing from. When we hide behind shame or guilt of our past, or we only focus on future being better, we are never fully living but we can’t live in the past or the future the only place we can truly live from is the present.
When we take more time to focus our energy on the moments, to be present for all that is, we will find ourselves not clinging to notions of what our life should look like, and find contentment what is in front of us and knowing that we have the power to choose how we react to our life. We can’t always control what happens, but we have power of how we want to react.
We get to choose having happiness in your life or not. Don’t wait for it to come to you, because darling you will be waiting your whole life.
Take a moment to smell the flowers, to stick your head out the car widow and feel the breeze. Light a candle to remember the light you already are and take a moment to just breathe.
Practice gratitude and experience joy. Happiness is right here waiting to embrace you with open arms-are you ready for it?