I, we, hear it all the time, "When I get promoted I'll be happy," "When I'm making more money things will be perfect," I just need a boyfriend and life will be sweet," "If I just lose 10kgs I'll be happy." But will you? Will you really? We live in this world kind of half here and half in the future, and that's probably putting it nicely, as for a lot of people life exists just over there, a week from now, a month, a year, not half the time but all the time. Of course when we get these things our years of built up habits are so well engrained that we can't live any other way and we just continue down the path of merely existing for that next big thing to give us everything we've ever wanted, and then we'll really live right?
It makes me think that maybe we have it all wrong. It's like you're training to run a marathon by only swimming. Yes, you're developing your cardiovascular system but eventually you might want to start running. It's like that when it comes to finding meaning and happiness; we might undertake a course to boost our skills to get promoted and make more money so we can feel happier, we enter into a physical health program to lose weight or look better so we can be happier - these are good things but why do we run the long way around when we can go straight to the source.
Here's the source - happier people get promoted more, have more success in their careers, have more accomplishments, make more money and have better physical health than unhappy people. They enjoy better relationships and even live longer. And here's the thing - we can all train ourselves to be happier. Just like we do a course to make more money, we can do a course to be the best version of ourselves, to be more positive, to be more fulfilled, to be happier - and we can do that right now. We can start truly living now without waiting for the dots to connect or future things to come to fruition. We have more than enough conditions in this very moment to be happy.
Ask yourself - will a new job make you fulfilled or will being truly happy and content make you fulfilled? You can choose the latter and then all the jobs, the girlfriends and boyfriends, money and accomplishments are just great, big bonuses.
Here are 7 reasons why you need to make the shift today.
1. Be The Best Version of Yourself - Flourish
When we have a vision of the person we want to become we can begin on the path to making our dreams become our reality. Each day becomes imbued with meaning and enthusiasm as we work step by step on concrete tasks that allow us to feel that each moment is helping us grow, reach our potential and flourish.
A mind of clarity means we can make decisions and act in ways that better represent our true feelings, rather than acting out of fear or emotions that we cannot really understand. We become less dependent on external sources – friends, partners, sex, and money to make us happy, and this is powerful. Greater freedom means more independence, autonomy and liberation.
One amazing benefit of true happiness is better relationships, which of course are an important component of happiness. When we have explored, know ourselves, have found meaning and can enjoy the present moment, our relationships become so much stronger in every aspect. Our relationships grow out of something real rather than something merely out of boredom, loneliness, fear, societal pressures and expectations.
When we are truly happy we can start to enjoy strong, long-lasting health. By fostering a healthier connection with our minds we develop a stronger relationship with our bodies too. We learn how to simply feel how our body feels, and this gives us a better idea of when something is wrong and when we need to do something about it. This ensures we are less affected by the stresses, worries, fears and anxieties that can cripple us and cause chronic pain and suffering.
When we do things for our own individual and personal satisfaction we become less concerned with doing things for other people – for gratification and recognition. This leaves us with a more authentic fulfilment. When we have experienced more of what life has to offer, through a conscious effort to explore the world outside and inside of us, and have learnt what we want, need and love, we have a better understanding and awareness of the effects of superficial desires. We can see that satisfying our desires and cravings only ever offer short-term relief.
When we have greater control over our emotions, thoughts and feelings, we can limit the amount of negativity that we create. We can understand that by changing our thoughts we can change our entire lives. A better attitude is synonymous with a fresher, more worldly perspective, a stronger character and a more positive frame of mind. These are all absolutely necessary ingredients for us to live happy and healthy lives.
It is inevitable that we will encounter many frustrations, we will make mistakes, losses will occur and we will fall short of our goals. Accepting ourselves, especially when we are struggling, when we feel overwhelmed and life feels too difficult, is not easy. But taking the time to shift out of negativity, to soften around our sharp edges and to connect with a bigger perspective allows acceptance and compassion to become ways of relating to our own life and others.
By Evan Sutter.