Here is the simple truth about happiness: there is no universal or absolute method on how to be happy. However, there are a few truths about the process of becoming happier.
Happiness is being in balance with yourself and your environment
In order to be happy, you need to know yourself. This sounds obvious. Yet because of lack of self-awareness, many people look for answers in all the wrong places. They can spend their whole lives being unhappy. Then, there is the direct life environment. Who are your friends, your relatives, your colleagues, your neighbors? Do you really want them in your world? Are they bringing you what you are looking for? Are you in the right place or do you need to consider a change? Is the necessary change about your environment or about you?
You must incrementally meet your needs and your values through action and objectives
People have their very own and very specific cocktails of values, needs, desires, goals and dreams. It depends on their personality, their upbringing, their education, and their social circles. This is why what makes one person happy does not necessarily bring any satisfaction to someone else. The first step to increase your level of happiness is to identify the ingredients of your own cocktail. The following steps are about setting targets on how to meet increasingly these values and needs in the future. Trying to satisfy needs that you do not really have will not work on the long-term. Just look at a child at Christmas: the new toys are exciting the first day, a bit less the next day and soon they become boring. The toys meet a short-term desire, in most cases inspired by outsiders, especially marketers, but they did not answer the child’s true deep wish. There are many similar examples of quick fixes meeting the wrong needs. They might bring short-term satisfaction, because a nice surprise is always nice, but the feeling will not last because it is not the right answer. Having objectives, wishes, desires, dreams, is of utmost importance to be happy. It gives a feeling of purpose to your life, and therefore to you! Objectives are powerful drivers to grow and gain wisdom. If you doubt this, just try to imagine having to spend the rest of your life with no goal at all. How does that idea would make you feel?
This is not a passive process; you must have a plan, practice and train regularly
To do the above, nothing beats making a plan. It has to be a plan shaped around your values, in which you will determine your needs and set up a number of steps as well as set timelines to achieve them. Happiness will not fall upon you per accident. If you want to be happy, you need to want to be happy. Nothing nice will happen to you unless you initiate the process and keep its momentum going.
Happiness will not stay with you, unless you nurture it. You have to work on being happy on an ongoing basis. If you stop your efforts, you will see your level of fulfillment drop over time. Being happy is an active process. Just like sport, your performance will decrease if you become complacent. It takes discipline and persistence. This is where so many people fail at happiness.
Happiness is not about being in a state of permanent bliss. It has its ups and downs. Being happy does not mean that you never experience negative feelings such as disappointment or frustration. This happens, and it happens to everyone. The difference with truly happy people is that they know how to find the resources to overcome such negative feelings. They have the ability to refocus on what will make them feel good. They take the proper action to correct that temporary setback.
There is little need to try to bring any explanation that involves money, religion, spiritualism, love, friendship, meditation, science or any of the so many terms that usually are used when talking about happiness. That is simply because they are all valid, but they are not all valid for all of us. Everyone must choose what works for him/her!
Copyright 2009 – The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.