”Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it.” –Unknown
So what’s making you happy these days? A new job, a great relationship or perhaps just being where you want to be in life? All of these are legitimate reasons to feel good or be in a state of contentment, but are they alone, enough to keep you in a blissful place?
Personally, I use to believe happiness was overrated. I struggled with its real connection to my life and how I lived. I suppose I was influenced by specific beliefs I carried as a child, but today I am learning that my happiness is a real thing. A thing that has relevance to my life, how I live, love and look to my future.
A recent book I’ve read, “ The Happiness Advantage”, by Shawn Achor has helped me to think differently about happiness and its place in our lives. Achor states happiness is defined as – the joy you feel while striving towards your potential. Think about that for a minute.
Most of us have been convinced that happiness is realized once we receive a thing or arrive at a place. It’s something we have desired and finally get, but if we’re honest with ourselves that feeling is usually short lived. So when I consider Achor’s definition, it not only makes sense, but I can admit I have experienced life in this way.
As I have set my mind to pursue a goal, reach a new milestone or strive to improve in any capacity, the journey of getting there has kept me focused, deterred me from being bombarded by present negative circumstances and inevitably brought me joy. Simple yet profound. And equally once I’ve arrived at a desired place, if I wait and enjoy the moment too long, it eventually loses its fervor.
The arrival at a place is not the definition of happiness, contrary to popular belief. It may seem like the most important thing in the world, until we get there. And most of us should be able to attest to this fact, yet we still may consider the arrival as the most important aspect because of our mindsets and conditioning.
So how can we start to embrace this new frame of mind? One of the things I have done unknowingly is to always consider life as a journey. It’s not about getting to a specific destination, but what we learn, see and experience along the way.
This is where the true beauty lives if we dare to pause and recognize it. Do remember how you felt the last time you pursued something important? It gives us energy, passion and a devotion like nothing else does, and yes even joy.
So the next time you’re feeling down or unhappy, consider what’s happening in your life. Are you stuck or stagnant? Are you moving towards something larger than yourself? Is there a mission you have yet to embark on? Maybe it’s time. Perhaps your happiness depends on it.