Being happy is so much easier than we think. The barriers or the silly beliefs that sabotage your happiness and keep happiness at bay are less to do with our circumstances and more to do with the misconceptions we have about how to ‘get’ it.
The key is to see beyond these damaging and limiting beliefs, you just have to know what they are first.
1. We don’t realize that happiness is a choice
The biggest lie we’ve convinced ourselves of is that happiness is not ours to choose. Instead, we see it as something outside of us.
It is a state we can get to when we’ve ticked all the necessary boxes and achieved X, Y, and Z.
Then we’ll be happy.
In viewing happiness as a destination, we separate ourselves off from our capacity to be it and to choose it, at any given moment.
Life is a series of choices.
There is nothing in your life that you didn’t choose — the good, bad, and ugly. As challenging as that may be to acknowledge, it’s one of the most empowering realizations you can have.
What do you love doing? What if you chose to do more of it?
Could it be that easy? What if it is?
2. We have fixed ideas about what happiness is
From an early age, we formulate ideas about what happiness looks like based on what we absorb from our parents, our friends, and wider influences like TV, films, and magazines.
The more we solidify what we think happiness is, the more rigid we get about what we’ll have to do in order to achieve it. This is how the darker side or happiness gets even darker!
We strive to make the ‘right choices’ or follow the ‘right path’, without ever asking, ‘is this version of happiness right for me?’ It might be, and it might not be, but you won’t know until you start looking beyond those fixed points of view.
What if you allowed yourself to be happy today, even if whatever you decided you require to be happy isn’t in your reality? What would be possible then?
3. We make happiness conditional
We have a tendency to put happiness on hold until certain conditions are met. If you’re waiting to lose ten pounds, or find your dream home, or go on vacation before you can be happy — you’re buying into the idea that happiness is external to you and separate from you.
You’re cutting yourself off from being happy now.
How many times have you decided you need a certain thing to be happy — only to get that thing… and still not be happy? We do it all the time. Shall we stop?
These are nothing but silly beliefs that sabotage your happiness.
4. We put struggle on a pedestal
One of the biggest lies about happiness, and life, in general, is that it has to be hard.
We even place value on it being hard. Why? So that when we overcome an obstacle, we can feel happy because we earned it. And if we don’t, we have an excuse — because life is hard, right?
That’s not my point of view, and it doesn’t have to be yours. When you stop making the struggle more valuable to you than happiness, you can actually start choosing to be happy.
5. We view happy people as selfish or even weird
How often have you experienced intense joy and shared it with others, only for them to react in a suspicious or condescending way?
So, you tone your joy down or even put a lid on it all together, and then you turn the dial up on struggle again.
When you see this for what it is, you get clear on how often we make being happy wrong. Similarly, you might have experienced a feeling of guilt around being happy — especially if those you care about aren’t.
If that feels familiar to you, consider this – ‘Can I contribute more to other people’s lives when I’m happy, or when I’m unhappy?’
Wondering about the dark side of happiness? Well! This point highlights the very fact here.
Also watch: How to Find Happiness in Your Marriage
6. We’d rather be right than be happy
This is such a big one.
Too many of us spend too much timein conflict with others, even with strangers. If you’re getting frustrated about the behavior or point of view of someone else — whether it’s your husband, a politician, a journalist, or your mom — ask yourself, ‘do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?’
When being happy is more important to you than being right, happiness becomes your reality.
The more you acknowledge that everyone has a different point of view, the less you need to convince anyone they’re wrong and you’re right. You stop looking to score points and you choose happiness instead.
That’s freedom, and if you’re seeking to create change (in your family or the world), that’s the place you create it from.
Life is a series of choices, a continuous creation.
You’re the creator. Enjoy that! Have fun. Get the sense of freedom and potency at your fingertips. You don’t have to know exactly where your choices will take you, but the more you choose happiness, the more happiness will come into your life, and the greater your future will be.
Food for thought
What if your purpose in life is to be happy? And if it is, what could you choose to do right now?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Gary Douglas is an internationally-recognized thought leader, bestselling author, business innovator and founder of Access Consciousness®, a set of simple-yet-profound tools currently transforming lives in 173 countries. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, including the Barnes and Noble #1 bestselling novel, The Place. An avid investor and entrepreneur, Gary is a vocal advocate of Benevolent Capitalism and conscious leadership. He co-hosts a weekly radio on Voice America and has featured in TV shows, print media and online publications around the world. He is renowned for his unique insights on love, relationships, money, business, aging, leadership, and emotional freedom. Follow Gary.