I spent way too much time pursuing happiness. I think we all do, from time to time.
It’s what we all want, essentially. We feel a tinge of happiness when we buy new things. We feel happiness when we receive praise. We feel happy when we see a smile on the people we care about.
What we don’t often stop to consider is that maybe we spend too much time chasing happiness.
We can’t realistically constantly buy new things.
We won’t always receive praise.
We can’t control the emotions (or any part of) other people.
If we’re always looking for happiness in people and things, then we invariably will one day be left to dry. We’ll be let down. There are many things outside of our control, and seeking happiness in those things then puts happiness, outside of our control.
The moment that we believe that we are in control of our happiness, we can have it. To be happy, is not an emotion. You read that right, but I’ll state it again.
Happiness is not an emotion.
It is a choice. There are events in our lives that will bring us joy. There are others that will bring sadness. Someone will compliment you, another will offend you. You’ll buy a brand spankin’ new OLED TV, and your kid will smash it with the remote.
There are far more things outside of our control than there are within. Yet we will always have a choice. A choice to let our circumstances dictate how we react, how we are able to live. And a choice to live how we wish. When you immediately begin yelling because you are offended, or say something offensive in reaction, you’ve just let that event control how you’ll live. It didn’t take any thought, it just happened. Who is in control then?
Instead, take a moment of pause. What do you want in that situation? If it’s someone you care about, is it then worth it to damage your relationship over something that can be replaced? You don’t have to smile whenever something bad happens, but you are in control of how you react; which will subsequently determine the emotions that can follow. At every opportunity we choose to make room for happiness, or to dwell in negativity. It’s just that we’ve become so conditioned to respond to certain stimuli in a specific way that it seems automatic.
This is what has worked for me. Next time something stressful happens. Take a moment to pause, become aware of how you feel. You might surprise yourself 🙂