This had been a question of mine for many years… How to be happy?
It can seem to be a fairly logical question. Just do what makes you happy! See that is the common response but every month there is 100,000 to 1 million searches on google for this exact topic ‘How to be happy.’ So even through the logic of the question appears so simple there clearly are many people who are struggling with the reality of it. The catch with that simple answer though is how to be happy when you’re stuck somewhere you don’t want to be? Like a job for example or the dreaded family lunch?
So just doing what makes you happy is only great for that moment, the energy and joy of it will wear off the moment you are somewhere you don’t want to be. I shouldn’t over look the period after a heart-break either, I know I constantly asked myself then how to be happy but it seemed like the furthest possibility.
If you’re curious enough you will eventually find it.
What I found over my journey which became a lot more intense in the years after my ex fiance and I parted ways is that happiness is not an external reality. It is 100% internal and it takes work in order to fuel that place constantly. It’s the ability to be grateful (key word ?) for all that you have in life, namely the basic things in life. This could be the food in your belly, the air in your lungs, the feet that you walk on, the friends around you and so much more.
It’s the acceptance of yourself by yourself, truly understanding that you are amazing. You have gifts to contribute to this world and that your opinion matters. It’s not looking at yourself in the mirror telling yourself that you’re fat and ugly. Finding love and compassion for yourself and love for yourself is the gateway to how to be happy.
Material things can do more harm than good.
What as the last physical thing that you bought? For me it was a $25 shelve from Kmart so that I could put my camera gear, shoes and books on. And I LOVE IT! I am genuinely excited and proud about it. “But hold on Brett its a shelf how can you be so excited by it?”
My journey in my early 20’s was all about buying things for the identity that I had created. This identity had nice clothes, 2 cars (daily driver and weekend toy/race car), lived in a great place but the truth of it is that i was super unhappy also. These material things were momentary additions of joy in my life. The race car was great but it was always needing stuff worked on and like many people you know it’s a love / hate relationship. These material things made me happy on the outer surface but deep inside I was still searching for how to be happy.
Finally I basically lost it all…
My high paying job finished up, my financial position became a real battle to the point I was struggling to put food on my own table. It got to the point on one occasion I was treating myself to eating out and someone else’s order accidentally came to my table and I ate it. Because I was in such a low place. Needless to say the manager had some very strong words with me and I felt absolutely horrible but helpless at the same time. Even just writing that my stomach turns as that is a story I’ve never told anyone… It upsets me now to think I did that. But it puts how far I have come into perspective and for that I’m grateful.
Since 2013 I had set out on a path of self mastery and a big part of this was learning how to be happy. What I found as my power was momentarily taken from me and was forced to get rid of all the material things of value that I didn’t absolutely need, I started to find myself.
What I found!
When you break the attachment to your identity and having specific brand names or a set of items that you ‘must have’ you’re forced to look far and wide for what brings you happiness. because these material things can be less of a happiness item but rather a distraction from your current situation. ‘Retail therapy’ is a great example of this, it’s the instant gratification of the purchase to ‘make’ you feel better. This doesn’t last! I know you don’t need me to tell you that.
What I found is that when you look at the basic elements of life and understand the idea of gratitude you will find a deeper happiness that NOTHING can take away from you! Through gratitude I started to learn to love myself, to be proud of who I am and grateful for all the struggles I have had in life. Understanding that it has made me stronger and after all of that, I’m still here, I still have the ability to create my life. I became grateful for the world that we live in, it’s beauty in the form of the ocean, flowers, clouds and more. Learning how to disconnect from the social media news feeds and reduce how much I compare my journey with other people’s lives on social media.
When you make this connection
When you understand how to be happy in this way, by being grateful and accepting of yourself and the journey. You can be happy in ANY situation. Speaking with my parents last night they were giving me an update on my ex fiance as Mum is still friends with her on Facebook. And I shared with my parents how appreciative and grateful I am of her because she broke me to force myself to rebuild into the strong man I am today.
Or perhaps you’re unhappy in your job? Firstly be grateful you have a job. But also know you are not stuck there, you can absolutely move on to something you’d enjoy more. For now though be grateful for it. Or the family lunch, be grateful that you have family to be able to share a meal with.
It’s these things that allow you to truly learn how to be happy. Sure it’s going to take practice but when you find yourself slipping then just remind yourself of all the things you have to be grateful for?
Lastly how can I be so in love with a $25 shelf? Because I have learnt to be truly grateful for everything in my life. I am grateful that i can buy such an item and appreciate that just because it’s cheap compared to others I could have bought it serves the purpose. Plus I’m super proud of myself for not going out and buying the most expensive one I could like the past Brett would have done.
Leave a comment about your journey to how to be happy?