‘Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.’ — Henry David Thoreau
So often, individuals seek external of themselves to find happiness.
They cling to that next person, that next relationship, that next job, that next friend, that next purchase … In reality, we know these are very surface-based, short-lived and not a real source of lasting happiness.
Would you like to know the secret to true happiness?
It is somewhere that you are least likely to look for it. Happiness is embedded in the deep layers of your consciousness.
Yes. It is inside of you.
You see, the problem is that most people are searching for a sense of fulfillment and joy in all the wrong places.
Our authentic happiness is rooted within each and every one of us.
Spend more time with yourself
The most important conversation you will ever have is the one you have with yourself.
Think about it. You are going to invest more time with you than anyone else in your entire life.
So, you may as well make sure that your internal dialogue is one of listening and understanding with compassion, and not fighting who you are.
With our current situation, this is the perfect opportunity to practice spending time on our own. Switch off from the world. No TV. No mobile phones. No technical interruptions, such as email.
Sitting alone and enjoying your own company will take some getting used to if you have never done it before. If an activity will help you get things started, write down six things that you appreciate about you and why. Maybe six things that you are most proud of or 6 things you love about your body or your mind.
With self-reflection, gratitude and patience, you will be able to know, accept and love who you truly are.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom
Swami Vivekananda knew what he was saying. ‘Talk to yourself at least once in a day, otherwise you may miss a meeting with an excellent person in this world.’
The power of investing uninterrupted time in you, your own thoughts, your own feelings, your own reflections is the only way to pursue true happiness. It’s only in silence that we can start to really hear ourselves.
If you are an extravert and you need to be out and about, you can go for a walk or swim on your own, or you can just be and ponder.
There was a time where I couldn’t be on my own. I had to surround myself with people all of the time. I was afraid to be on my own, in case the very thing I was running away from was going to rear its ugly head.
However, these days and for the last seven years, I crave my own time. I cherish the time I have with myself. There is this sense of freedom when you invest time with you.
Stay focused and positive
Your reticular activating system operates like a heat-seeking missile, on the hunt for all the things outside of you. It targets whatever you are focusing on, hence the power and importance of positive thinking.
What is a current problem or challenge you are facing right now?
Bring this problem forward. Now, find three positive things about this problem. Let me bring it to life with an example.
Let’s say you are finding a certain individual difficult and you are feeling stuck, frustrated and at your wits’ end with this person. The more specific the problem, the easier it is to work with. Now, put pen to paper and find three positives about the challenge that you are facing regarding this individual.
For example, what is the common ground between you and this person? Well, perhaps they love cooking. So, focus on food and maybe invite a conversation about cuisine. Now, focus on a few more positives about them. It can be as simple as they present well, they are funny or they work hard.
Slowly but surely, you will come to see even the most challenging situation as an opportunity for gratitude and personal growth.
Bliss is a natural phenomenon
You can try this out in your personal relationships. We all know too well how we can get stuck on the negatives with our partners, to the point that is all we see.
If we want to see change in our world, it starts with us.
Instead of honing in on the very thing that annoys you about your partner, I invite you to identify three positives about them, whether it’s their kindness, humour or unconditional support.
Besides, the sooner you realise that nobody can make you feel anything unless you allow them to, the quicker your happiness-driven mindset shift will be.
Happiness is not dished out on a platter for you. It’s not ready-made and it’s not something that someone or something else can provide for you.
It comes from within. From the way you think, feel and your actions.
When you accept who you are, then the world will accept who you are.