I was told a few years ago by one of my teachers happiness is a state of mind. Oh really? So, all my life I am choosing to be miserable?
Determined to prove my teacher wrong, I started looking into what happiness is.
If you are anything like me, and everybody else I coach you have been searching for a little happiness all your life. Is that so bad, to want a little bit of happiness in our lives. Of course not, isn’t that the purpose? You want to be happy, I want to be happy, everybody wants to be happy.
Where is the harm in that?
Surely, we deserve it.
So let’s ask the question ‘What is happiness?’
When I was around seven years old, I would visit my grandparent’s farm most weekends. The front of the bungalow had a large area with banks and slopes perfect for playing. I remember finding an old bike on the farm and pushing it up the side, carefully balancing it on the top of the slope while getting on and then I would free wheel down the slope and try to go as far as I could without falling off.
After days of repeating this same action for hours upon hours, I got to the stage that I could ride the bike around the side of the bungalow by peddling after the bike slowed down before running out of steam.
I remember constantly thinking about what life would be like once I’d mastered ride that bike. When I woke up, eating breakfast and going to bed, there was nothing else on my mind apart from how my life would finally be perfect the moment I could ride a bike.
I don’t think I have ever woke up since that time and thought ‘yes, I am so happy, and my life is brilliant because I can ride a bike.’ Of course, I couldn’t ride a bike now if I tried because of my disability. However, the point is that so often we believe happiness is just around the corner.
I will be happy when I can ride my bike.
…get my pay rise.
…I get a partner that loves me.
…when I run the 100 metres below 11 seconds.
We spend so much time thinking about happiness as something to attain, something to look forward to, or perhaps something we can work on to make happen, one day.
Then, something blindsides us, and it takes away our ability to breathe effectively, walk or provide for our family. And we then change the goalposts on this elusive happiness. Then suddenly, we just want to breathe effectively or get any job to provide for our family. In my case, make my toast, my way.
Happiness is a State of Mind
The bad news.
While you are seeking, hoping and working towards your happiness, it will always be one step away. Over the hill, in someone else’s pocket or around the corner.
The good news. Happiness is right here right now.
But you need to slow down, take a deep breath and take a good look around you. Bring into your awareness what you do have. Perhaps you have kids, parents still alive and a home. Imagine your life without any one of those.
You see, if you stop and take notice of what you do have and feel the gratitude deep inside, you quickly realise it is hard to be unhappy and grateful at the same time.
Desires come and go; there will always be something we want.
Happiness is different. If you are grateful for what you’ve got right now, you will also be happy with everything you get.
If you think winning the lottery is going to make you happy, it won’t. Because it will become the normal again pretty soon.
How can you be happy?
You cannot learn to be happy; you just have to ‘pause’ take a step back, and just ‘be happy.’
Being happy is not hard work, it’s effortless. Just like a rose doesn’t have to work hard to be a rose. It doesn’t matter whether it is next to a motorway, weed or isn’t as tall as the rose next to it.
It’s about inside; who you are. Not them, it, us or anything else. It’s about you deciding that at this moment and any moment, you have everything you need to be happy.
Remember, happiness is always available.
Below the confusion of desires, wants and the grasping you have nothing but this clear serenity and peace of mind. Just by slowing down, taking a deep breath and being grateful you can access your happiness at any time.
Desires come and go; happiness is always present. Happiness is a state of mind!