Is Your Happiness Conditional? Here’s How to be Happy No Matter What
What makes you happy?
It’s a question I ask myself often (how to be happy and what makes me happy).
And, while I always come to the same conclusion that, for me, it really is the little things that truly make me happy, the things I essentially already have, I continue to grapple with sustaining that “happy” feeling without interruption.
Yes, it’s unrealistic to expect a steady stream of warm fuzzies 24/7, but around the clock happiness is not really what I’m talking about here.
It’s the habit of getting “caught up” in the busyness of life – the challenges, the obstacles, the 99 problems – that I let the little things corrupt my “happiness” for no good particular reason.
And, it all stems from resisting what is.
Because I’ve found that 99% of our dissatisfaction, unhappiness and disappointment comes from wishing things were different to what they currently are.
That the lights were green instead of red, that it was sunny instead of raining, that the project would run on time and not be delayed.
That we were experiencing (insert preferred reality) instead of (reality).
We want the people around us to behave in accordance with our preferences, and often feel personally victimised or offended when instead they act in accordance with their preferences.
Wishing things were different at times is something we can all relate to.
For many, it’s the gnawing sense that life is falling short of what it could or should be. (Or perhaps, we are falling short).
This warped state of being typically stems from the belief:
“I should be further along by now.”
i.e “I’m not good enough.” “This isn’t good enough.”
But, it can also hit us multiple times throughout the day as we resist what happens.
What happens is the resulting medley of these three things:
- Our daily intentions and actions (conscious or otherwise).
- The intentions and actions of those around us.
- Life’s mixed bag of random unplanned moments, encounters and events.
You have some control over no 1., but there will always be an element of surprise, disorder or chaos because of no. 2 and 3.
So, if the stability of your happiness relies on you being in control of what happens at every turn, you’re setting yourself up for a whole lotta shady feelings.
Because if there’s one certainty in life, it’s that it will serve you with a side of FML-inducing circumstances on occasion.
The funny thing is, we think one day it will be different. That we’ll reach a state when things all click into place and from that point on everything is humming.
The result is, living out our day’s in anticipation of our idealised future, because…. this isn’t it.
This car, this house, this body, this relationship, this job…this isn’t it.
There’s a You in the future who has it all together and living out the “successful” life depicted in your vision boards. That’s when everlasting happiness will descend upon you.
With this mindset we are forever trapped in a state of dissatisfaction.
A sufferer of the “I’ll be happy when…” syndrome, with thought patterns founded on the belief that your life as you know it (while probably pretty good) isn’t quite fully formed. That there’s something (or someone) missing.
We impose conditions like, I’ll be happy when…
I lose the muffin top.
I nab that dream job.
I’m earning 6 figures.
I meet “the one”.
I go on holiday.
I have an avocado tree (just me?)
Without realising it, you’re delaying and putting limits on your happiness.
It’s okay to have ambitions for your future but these should not come at the expense of overlooking the sheer beauty of today.
This. Is. It.
So quit delaying your happiness until something happens or letting what happens (the challenges, inconveniences and hiccups) influence your happiness.
In other words, embrace all of life.
Regardless of what is thrown your way, participate in life with enthusiasm, and grit.
It’s your choice to devote your life to happiness at every turn.
But, how does one attain unconditional, sustainable happiness?
It really all boils down to acceptance:
Accept yourself. Accept others. Accept the situation just as it is.
Accept that you can’t control everything and realise that you don’t actually want to.
Because having complete control over everything that happens to us in life would be boring AF. Can you imagine if life was stripped of all it’s adventures, mystery, exploration challenges, and surprises?
Throw away those conditions your thought you needed to be happy and rise to the challenge of extracting happiness in all conditions.
Who’s with me!?!