If you ever tell yourself, “I will be happy when” or “I will be happy if”, then your happiness is contingent on something occurring. We are taught by society that happiness is some type of final destination. After we learn, grow, achieve goals, make better choices, then and only then we can achieve happiness. We are programmed that once we obtain it, we’ll be forever satisfied in our lives. So then we keep chasing this dream but as we achieve more and more, we realize the dream is elusive. If we get something, then we are happy. If we look a certain way, then we are happy. When we are striving to fulfil our inner happiness solely through focusing on the outside, it can be a never-ending journey. These are all inherently flawed. We think we are setting ourselves up for happiness, but we are actually setting ourselves for unhappiness from the onset. Our ego manipulates our mind to seek happiness from external events. Here is how. We seek external events. Our ego attaches an expected level of happiness to a certain positive outcome, and our ego without us knowing sets an expected level of unhappiness to a particular negative result. When the unfavorable outcome occurs, we become unhappy and we blame others because it is easier than being accountable. Our ego seizes on this manipulation because this way it gets stronger and can remain in control. Rinse and repeat. If we controlled our own happiness, our ego would lose most of its power. It is extremely fearful of this so it will do whatever it can to remain in control, manipulating us mostly from behind the scenes.
Is it the external thing that is bringing us happiness or the feeling associated with the external event? Yes, external situations coming to fruition are important in our lives, but they are meant to add to our happiness and not be the sole source. We can even learn to cultivate that feeling without the actual external event coming to fruition. Think of it as a skill that you can develop. People who depend just on external situations to be happy will likely never know and truly feel underlying joy in their lives.
People associate happiness with the achievement of some type of success-beauty, family, career, house, recognition, etc. It is important to remember that success is typically defined by society and not ourselves. Satisfaction is defined by ourselves. Happiness coincides with satisfaction in that it is something that we decide and choose for ourselves, and a way in which we choose to live our life according to our true underlying being. It is not in accordance to someone else’s rhythm, standards, or expectations. It is merely our own rhythm as the feeling we have within ourselves creates our happiness and how we view the external parts of life. External events are going to happen in our life, and they all start out on a blank piece of paper. Think of them as merely facts that start out as black and white. We decide what meaning we attach to them and we script our own story. Ask yourself, “What thoughts, feelings, emotions, and meanings create the narrative of my life?” This is how the story goes from black and white to color. You decide what color you add. No one else writes your story, and it does not have to influenced by societal programming. The way you write your full story is ultimately your own choosing. How are you going to write your stories?
If we have problems with those close to us (parent, child, spouse, friend, boss, etc.), then it is healthy to constructively raise the issues and seek a solution. However, it is important to remember that they are meant to add to our happiness, not be the sole source. Here is an example of how we tend to set ourselves up from the onset. Are you reliant only (so no one else) on a spouse (ignoring their own current state) doing or saying a certain thing (narrowed down the list to just one) exactly (no wiggle room in the delivery) how you want to make you happy (your happiness is equated to the exact outcome) for that day (no wiggle room on the timing)? If so, then ask yourself, “Am I setting myself up for happiness or unhappiness?” Is it their job to be the sole source of your happiness or to add to your happiness? If they fail to perform to our expectations that particular day, then we tend to blame them for ALL of our unhappiness. We lose sight of the fact that happiness can be cultivated from many different ways and these paths are more within our control than we are led to believe.
Happiness is not a goal or some type of end destination. It is a state of mind that we enact on a continuous basis. It is a state of internal fulfillment. Now this does not mean we have to be happy every moment of every day. This is impossible, and it is also unhealthy to try to live up to these standards. Still, deciding and choosing to be happy has the most staying power. We were born happy beings. We were happy babies, and we are meant to be inherently happy. It is our true underlying nature and is one of the key fundamental aspects of life. Almost everything we do is to bring some type of ultimate happiness to someone, whether ourselves or someone else. We have much more control over our happiness then we are led to believe. Now let’s go seize it back!