I regularly ask people if they are happy and what makes them happy. At first they are stumped. Then they reply “that the question is much harder than they thought” and then, “it is a very hard question” accompanied by a blank and confused look.
After thinking a few moments, usually people project into the future. They say, “I will be happy when ….my daughter graduates and gets a job; my kids are happy; I retire; my husband/wife gets a job”, etc.
It seems that happiness is conditional on either someone else’s happiness or some future event taking place.
The truth is that you are 100% responsible for your own happiness. You are in charge of your own happiness. Your happiness cannot be attached to someone else’s happiness. By doing this you are making someone else responsible for your happiness. Ultimately you have no control of how someone else experiences happiness or achieves goals that you think they should achieve for you to experience happiness. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy for someone else’s success. It means that there is room for your happiness as well.
The key to success is to find your happiness in the present moment and live from that place in your life. By doing this you lead from example and empower other people to do the same.
- Bring yourself into the present moment. Get out of the future and out of the past. How are you feeling in this moment? Take inventory of yourself. What are you happy about? Perhaps you have shelter, food, beautiful children, and music you love is playing. Find at least one thing that you are happy about. It is a great start. Do this every day and if possible, several times a day.
- Be just a little bit happier each day. If it is too difficult to even imagine ever being happy, create a goal to be just a little bit happier.
- Be grateful for what brings you happiness. Say thank you. Appreciate what brings happiness to your life.
- Have tools with you that you can get to quickly to bring you into happiness quickly. This may be music that you enjoy or photos that are stored on your cell phone that you enjoy looking at.
- Be as happy for someone else’s happiness as though it were your own. This will help you foster your own happiness.
- Start a happiness journal. Keep an ongoing list of what you discover brings a smile to your heart and visit your journal often.
- Create a vision board of things that make you happy. As you discover things and feelings that bring you happiness, gather pictures that will remind you of them.
Remember to nurture and value your own happiness. The more you focus on your own happiness, the happier you will be and the happier people around you will be. Happiness is contagious.