“Happiness is the most universal desire of all mankind”. I’m no researcher (in fact that word alone makes me cringe) and I didn’t ransack the web for concrete data on that quote, but quite frankly it makes complete sense. Everything we do in this life, in one way or another, is to find happiness. We ride roller coasters, eat candy, watch TV, explore the wilderness, play sports, etc. all in hopes that we will find joy. And, in most cases, these things do bring temporal thrills into our beings. But how do we find true happiness? Happiness that sticks around even when we are in the midst of our roughest trial? How do we develop a disposition to be happy all the time? Far too often it seems as though we are going through the mundane things of life, eagerly awaiting the next big thing to bring us happiness. We subconsciously think that when we get married, graduate college, buy a new house, and the like, we will suddenly find happiness. Perhaps these things do contribute to a happy life, but they don’t innately bring happiness into our lives. Now… I fear this next statement may be borderline “poetic”, but may I suggest that you’re not going to find happiness anywhere, happiness can not be found, but rather… it must be made.
No matter what walk of life we are in, we are always going to want something more. This is why happiness can not be found in events or items. As soon as we get one thing, the excitement and newness will wear off, and we will be on our quest to our next desired thing. Take chocolate for example.This much desired substance,when partook of will give us a high for a moment, then as soon as the delectable sweetness melts away, we immediately crave more. There are so many shortcuts to happiness in this day in age, that we often lose sight of how to obtain true happiness that lasts. If you’ll allow me (or even if you won’t), I will continue by sharing three ways that I make true and lasting happiness in my life.
Perhaps this point sounds cliche, but I can’t express the importance of knowing who you are and what you stand for. Call me old-fashioned, antique, primitive, or what have you, but I think self-reflection is a highly valuable habit that is becoming a lost art in our world today. Make time every day to ponder about your life, establish set morals and standards that you want to live by, then commit to live by them. During this reflection you could include reading uplifting literature (I’m not talking Shakespeare here.. something more like Dale Carnegie, King James, Stephen R. Covey…you know, self-help books or scriptures), or writing in a journal/electronic memento. Happy people are spiritual (this could be of the religious nature or not), have a high self-esteem and are confident in what they stand for.
Get Over Yourself
Irony…I realize that. Find yourself, merely to get over yourself. Well, it works. In order to make your own happiness, you must assist others in making their own happiness. Some of the best advice I ever received was to only think about yourself from the time you wake up in the morning, until you walk out the door. After that it’s all about everyone else around you. This is possibly the greatest paradox of all time, by losing yourself in the service of others you will find more light and joy in yourself.
Oprah Winfrey, Anne Frank, Franklin D. Roosevelt…you’ve heard of them? These are people who experienced ridiculous adversity and yet chose to be happy regardless of their circumstance. There are hundreds of examples in history of people who beat the odds, and decided early on that they would determine how their life would play out. Andy Andrews who is the writer of The Traveler’s Gift said “I know now that happiness is not an emotional phantom floating in and out of my life. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is the end result of certain thoughts and activities, which actually bring about a chemical reaction in my body. This reaction results in a euphoria that, while elusive to some, is totally under my control. ”
I’m not making this stuff up. These three things, when implemented correctly, make me a happier person. Happiness isn’t something that only the rich, attractive and lucky stumble upon. There is one thing in life that everyone has been equally given, and that is the ability to choose for themselves. We are the creators of our own happiness and we ultimately can decide if we want to make a happy life, or waste precious years hoping to one day find happiness.