Gram’s Wisdom Number 5
“Fix it or Forget it.” Is what Gram told me when I complained of an unhappy day or experience. She told me my happiness was within me and not for others to direct, that I must choose my own path, if I truly wanted to be happy. She said that I should fix things that made me unhappy where possible and forget those things I couldn’t control. Many happy years later we heard “Don’t Worry Be Happy” on the radio. She laughed and said to me that song carried the right message.
So, you might think you know what happiness is but is that necessarily true?
What isn’t being happy?
1. “Stuff” won’t make you happy (for long anyway)
You won’t find happiness in getting everything you want or having 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 larger 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 cloud 9
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’s feeling contented and satisfied with what you have while living a meaningful life.
3. Happiness isn’t the end of the road
Happiness isn’t something you arrive at, or you achieve, and then it’s done. It’s not something you can check off your to-do list. Happiness is more like a habit or method you can learn, a special routine way you have of looking at the world and your relationships and being happy.
Happy people are at peace with the highs and lows of life and find joy and contentment whatever their circumstance.
It’s within you
By the fact that you’re a human being and you can experience feelings, happiness being one of them, you know that true happiness does exist. You can probably write down many days and things that have brought happiness to your life over the years since you were born up until today.
Who is happier?
It’s amazing but while it’s easy to say that people cannot be happy unless they have their basic needs met. You’ll find that there are people all around you who do not have their needs met but who are very happy. That bears out as true when you study rich people and realize they are not happier than poor people overall.
It’s about appreciation
If you look at a list of the happiest countries in the world, you will realize that being happy isn’t about the stuff you have. The happiest people right now happen to live in Denmark. Most people who live there pay high taxes, live in small homes and tend to not be as consumer-driven as people in the USA, for example. But the USA is 17 on the list. That shows that happiness is not about stuff.
It’s about your path
You may believe that happiness is about reaching your goals too. But, it’s not. If you often say things like “I’ll be happy when…” then it’s not likely you will ever be happy. You can be happy today, before reaching your goals, if you enjoy the path taken to those goals. It’s honestly more about the day to day living, not the goal achieving moments.
It’s internal feeling not external circumstance
Now, of course, some things in life can really get you down. However, for happy people, even the worst events will not make them unhappy, at least not permanently. A happy person usually has the skills to navigate negative things about their circumstances. Dr. Gillian Mandich, a happiness expert, states that our circumstances account for only 10 percent of our happiness.
Many people who have struggles in life often pooh-pooh happiness and like to claim that true happiness is not even possible. The truth is there are different levels of happiness that you can experience in your life. A happy person isn’t going to be the same level of happy 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s not a straight line. There are highs and lows that you will experience all throughout life but whether you are happy or not is all about your feelings.
“We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
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 appreciating 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.
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