Everyone strives for happiness, but how many of us actually experience and deeply feel happiness daily? Are you simply drifting through life, or thriving on happiness? A common answer to “where do you want to be in 5 years?” is “to be happy”. With this mindset, we tell ourselves a false story that happiness is found in the future, not today. Let me tell you, happiness is not a destination. It is a journey, a long term commitment, and process consisting of thoughtful daily habits.
People are romantic. People fantasize happiness, as if it’s some golden light that you can only reach and obtain if you’re rich, travel to gorgeous locations, have a stunning closet filled with clothes only worn once, and live the perfect life society pushes on us. It’s hard to break this routine, because it is in front of our eyes and ears daily. People convince others they are happy, but fail to convey why they are happy. I seriously question people who fall into this category of possible ‘fake’ happiness. On social media, in school, at work, society has altered individual’s understanding of happiness, making it extremely hard to navigate how we actually can feel daily happiness. You feel me? Cool, let’s get real.
I cannot tell you exactly what to do to be happy. Although, I can offer vessels, or vehicles, of thought needed to unveil your personal happiness. Every person has different versions, perspectives, and things that make them happy. We have to explore this on our own. For instance, snowboarding makes me rediculously happy, but I’m not going to tell you to go snowboarding and promise it will make you happy. That wouldn’t make sense, right? So, here is how I’ve created my own happiness daily. I’m going to ask you some serious questions and thoughts. You ready?
Language We Tell Ourselves
Many of us resort to the phrase “I want to be happy” when pondering happiness instead of cutting right to the feeling. The issue with this term lies in the word “want”. Feeding yourself this language tricks your brain into believing happiness is in the future, not happening right now in this present moment. If we rephrase our wording to “I am happy”, we are training our brain to currently feel happiness. Feed your brain positive energy and happy thoughts, it will translate into long term happiness.
Opinions or Judgement from Others?
It Doesn't Matter.
The concept many unhappy people fail to recognize, is that they are living for other people, not living their own truths. The main reason, the ultimate secret to my personal happiness for years has been not thinking for a moment what others could judge me for. Don’t worry what people think, how many followers you have, how many friends you have. Don’t worry, don’t care. I’ve only ever done what I know makes me happy, feel fulfilled, and done things that express my true self. The rewards and happiness will reveal themselves, if you choose to speak and act your truth. I don’t think I’ve ever wondered “is this outfit good enough for this party?” or “I’m buying this expensive jacket just because people will respect me while I wear it”.
Since middle school, the prime time kids struggle to be like everyone else, start being interested in dating, and copying one another, I opted out. I didn’t care if my body shape didn’t look like the other girls. I was made fun of in 8th grade because my body didn’t develop like most girls’ did. I zoned out, didn’t care what “they” thought. I knew I was good enough for myself and had other assets that would outweigh body image in the long term. No need for sympathy, because it never emotionally affected me. Didn’t care if I had a “boyfriend” at age 14, I knew it was a waste of my time and energy. Instead, I snowboarded with my friends, dreamed of owning my own business, went camping with my family, and hung around with a group of nice girls who also didn’t care to be accepted by others, who I still call my absolute best friends today. I created my own happiness in my life by finding what does make me feel happy, and I still practice this. The mentality to act on what makes your soul happy and not care about what others think, will become easier and easier the more you practice and embrace it. Do this, and you will hit a point where it is automatic. It doesn’t matter your age, start now. Stop caring, take action on happiness. It will crumble your overall happiness if you waste mental energy on wondering what others think.
Appreciate what you already have. Appreciation and happiness are intertwined. I assume if you have a phone, laptop, and an Instagram account, you have food, shelter, and clothes on your back. It’s easy to appreciate the bigger things in life; having a supportive family or a nice car. Raw appreciation that leads to happiness is hidden in the small, daily happenings. Begin to appreciate the simplicities denied to many others in this world. So, how do we practice appreciation? I suggest an exercise to do every single day, until your brain is trained to automatically appreciate what you have. You'll notice your thoughts automatically being positive, like saying "it is such a beautiful day to be outside with good people, this makes me happy" without having to think about it before, well, thinking about it. It becomes natural. I executed this exercise years ago, inspired by listening to a talk regarding abundance and happiness. I watched it twice, because appreciation is a key ingredient to feeling daily happiness.
Every morning, go to your fridge. Open it. Pick one or two items in there, like strawberries or eggs. Say “thank you” in your mind. This contributes to thankfulness, gratefulness, and appreciation all at once. Think about how this food appeared in your fridge. Thank the farmer who spent time, energy, and effort into growing these strawberries. Thank mother nature for having chickens to lay eggs. Thank you to the person who physically drove the strawberries and eggs from the farm to the grocery store, where you took 20 minutes out of your day, to go buy them, to enjoy for 5 minutes. Perspective. You see? Appreciate time and energy in the small things in our lives we often take for granted, and this habit will translate into your life on a macro level.
Along with anything in this life, feed your happiness habits with time, energy, and patience. This is just the beginning, not the full story. Many elements follow and connect to these practices. I strongly believe happiness could be spoken about for thousands of years and never become dull because everyone feels happiness through different outlets in their lives. Yet, there are common practices that can be shared among us to bring light into each other’s inner worlds. Get real with yourself, this life isn’t a joke and we don’t want to wait until we are 65, 70, 80 years old to finally understand what pure happiness on the daily feels like. Look so far into yourself, get so uncomfortable, and so in line with your happiness, that it’s unbreakable over the period of your entire life.