Over a year ago, I had it all. The job, the friends, the bank account, a loving family. I ended my relationship but was happy as can be in being alone. All the ingredients you’d think someone needs to be happy. But I wasn’t. Having everything, wasn’t enough for me, it wasn’t my key to happiness. I thought about moving to Africa or finding ‘my path’ in the calm mountains of Tibet. Become a monk for a year or so and don’t go back home until I’ve figured it all out. Some how, it never happened. I didn’t knit dolls for children in Africa and I didn’t become a monk. Life just continued the way it did and all I could do was figure out my key to happiness without extreme measures.
Researches defined happiness as a “subjective well-being,” which they measure by simply asking people to report how satisfied they feel with their own lives and how much positive and negative emotion they’re experiencing. But is that all there is to happiness? When you’re simply satisfied and there’s not too much shit going on? I mean, I’ve been there. Yes I felt satisfied. But happy..?
Happiness can come from many things and in many forms. You can be happy in a relationship, happy in a job or happy within a social circle. But knowing what truly makes you happy isn’t that easy. Of course you’ve experienced moments of happiness. Coming home after a long day of work and seeing your dog running at you as if he hasn’t seen you for years. The moments over dinner when the whole family is together for Christmas. Holding hands with your loved one while you’re watching the fireworks on New Years Eve. Probably even that big fat paycheck that will help you get you on that plane to Bali.
But what is true happiness to you? When can you say that you feel content and happy with everything in your life. When do you feel happy as a general mood, a general state of mind no matter if shit hits the fan? Is it that one true love? Is it a life purpose? Is it other people that provide you that happiness? To discover your key to happiness you need to search from within.
My journey to true happiness started with loving myself. Only when I started loving myself I was able to find a relationship with someone who could love me for who I am. As I wouldn’t settle for less; I didn’t need a man. A relationship like that, makes me happy. My friends, family, animals and social circle make me happy. But my true happiness comes from making other people happy. To be of help in whatever issue it is they’re struggling with. To care, to support. To be able to mean something, to be of use in this life instead of living it just for myself. To share my enthusiasm for life and my experiences. To share wisdom, joy, love. That’s my key to happiness.
Now what is yours? What gives you that constant ‘happy’ state of mind? Answer these 4 questions below to gain some helpful insights for your pursuit of happiness.
- Think about all the good things in your life, all the things that give you that feeling of happiness. Do they all come from others or do they come from you? What do they all have in common?
- What’s your biggest (impossible) dream and with whom would you want to live it? What’s the core of that dream? What feeling or which goal does it represent?
- Imagine your life going exactly the way you want it. Imagine it going as well as it possibly could. What is this best possible future to you and does it bring you happiness?
- Imagine being all alone on a newly discovered planet where everything you imagine becomes reality. You meet another person. If there’s anything you could do to make the two of you smile, what would you do?
Did you learn something you didn’t realise yet? Did you get a step closer in your pursuit of happiness?