The quest of finding happiness is possibly the only goal shared among all human beings – past, present or future. Who doesn’t want to find happiness in his or her life? It’s a silent goal nonetheless. We don’t mutter much about it and most of the time it lurks in the deep inner workings of our minds. Curious isn’t it?
I have written before about the odd fact that in the West we spend billions of research dollars & euros into treating mental illnesses with drugs but not much effort goes into understanding the science of happiness or mental well being. This fact alone compels me to write about the subject.
The title of this article is in itself revealing – “how to find happiness within yourself” suggests from the outset that you should look for happiness within yourself and that happiness is generally to be found within. This is also a very curious thing to me. Why are we always trying to find happiness in all kinds of places but hardly ever attempt to find happiness within?
Harry is 67. He lost his wife to cancer almost three years ago now. He saw his daughter pass through a marriage breakdown and divorce. He hardly gets to see his grandchildren because his daughter moved to another city after her divorce. He misses the fishing trips with his brother Joe who also passed away recently. He is relating less and less to a changing hostile world where he is constantly reminded he is an unwanted burden.
Yet there is one major twist to the story. Harry is happy…radiantly happy. How can this happen? I mean if there are people who have passed through all sorts of heartbreaking episodes and hardships but are happy…what’s their story? Conversely if there are people (and lots of them) who have acquired all sorts of merit, possessions and good fortune yet are deeply unhappy…what does this say about finding happiness?
Some mental models to take note of and Rid Yourself of:
- Happiness is pleasure: No. Pleasure is instant gratification – physical or mental. Happiness is knowing that you are where you should be or accepting that you are not and doing your best while you’re there.
- Happiness is comfort or security: We live most of our lives in constant security threats – our jobs, our children out at night, our health, etc. The truth is that security or lack of it is based on perception. Happiness is living well in a very unstable world.
- I don’t deserve happiness: yeah says who? Another human quirk – self-inflicted limitation. Happiness is for everyone, wherever you come from, whatever you did and no matter what’s your idea. Happiness is open-source.
- It’s impossible to find happiness in this world: another example of self-limiting beliefs. Wrong. Happiness is as possible to find as unhappiness.
- People who reached their goals are invariably happy: again..says who? People who reached their goals are not happy because they reached their goals. On the contrary some are eternally dissatisfied and keep on seeking other goals in life – a real source of unhappiness. But yes some people found happiness while reaching those goals since they were living their true purpose and enjoying every moment of it. Their eyes was on the doing and not on the reaching.