You might think you know what happiness is. You might even think it’s an odd question to ask – what IS happiness? But there are some misconceptions about happiness that can and do trip people up, and they may even be making you unnecessarily unhappy.
So, what isn’t being happy?
1. Happiness isn’t getting everything you want
You won’t find happiness in getting everything you want or getting things your way. Money doesn’t buy happiness: in fact, getting a raise or a windfall can increase your dissatisfaction as your expectations expand to exceed whatever money you have. That new car or bigger house will soon start to feel like not enough.
You get the same goal displacement when things go your way. It’s human nature to keep pushing the boundaries and asking for more!
2. Happiness isn’t feeling good all the time
People who are happy don’t live in a constant state of ecstasy! Life isn’t like that. Some days you feel great, other days not so much. And everyone has seriously bad times, that’s just the way it goes. Happiness is way more than just feeling good. It means feeling contented and living a meaningful life.
3. Happiness isn’t an endpoint.
Happiness isn’t something you arrive at, or you achieve it, and then it’s done. It’s not something you can check off your list! Happiness is more like a habit you can learn, a way of looking at the world and your relationships, and being happy.
So where does that leave you?
Studies have shown that happiness comes from a combination of factors, from finding deep satisfaction and meaning in your life to looking for the things that are good, not focusing on lack, or what you haven’t achieved.
True, lasting happiness seems to depend on some things such as mindset, expectations, and how you feel day by day.
• If you put more store in relationships and connections with the people you love, you’ll be happier than if you expect possessions to make you happy.
• If you expect things to go your way they often do, and if you notice the things you’re grateful for, you’ll find more of them. If you need things to go your way all the time, then prepare for disappointment.
You might be wondering, how does change tie into this.
When we go through something (like a move, losing your job, starting a new business, change in your relationship status, etc) – whether it’s a voluntary choice or not – we transform. Resisting these life events creates stress and unhappiness. Embracing them allows us to ask key questions that will shift us through our mindset from negative to positive. Decide whether you are growing stronger and happier or breaking yourself against it.
By being mindful and conscious of our thinking we can shape how we handle our feelings and our actions related to the challenges set before us. Embracing change is empowering. Following your own, authentic path helps you build stronger boundaries and communicate more boldly. Truly happy people are at peace with the ups and downs of life and find joy and contentment whatever their circumstances might be.
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