People say happiness isn’t found, but I beg to differ.
I want you to be happier
Happiness is a life’s work of reflection and action, knowing what to subtract and add to your life that may bring or take away well-being, meaning, gratitude, authenticity, and health.
People told me you couldn’t find happiness. Happiness isn’t just something you can snap your fingers for and be.
Can you find happiness or not?
Happiness is a paradox. It comes, goes, ebbs, and flows, yet the more I think about it, research, and learn about happiness, the more I begin to understand and implement happiness protocols in my life.
Still, I wake up days super-duper-happy, and other days, I think, “wtf am I doing in life?”
Am I an eternal dopamine searcher looking for that one thing to make me happy — that one job, that one drug, that one car, that one house — will I constantly be searching?
Buddhist monks have pontificated on happiness, suffering, and all the things one can do and think about for a meaningful life, yet thinking about happiness does nothing too.
Learning how to stay happy starts with your approach to how you want to live your life day in and day out.
1. I want you to be happier: When are we holding on too long?
“What we do naturally is we cling, we grasp, we hold on to. We are not functioning freely, not free, because we’re stuck. Buddha observed this tendency and gave it a name. He said when the mind is stuck, you’re in dukkha (usually translated from the Sanskrit as suffering). Dukkha literally means a wheel whose hub doesn’t move. So what kind of a wheel do you have? A useless, dysfunctional wheel. What good is a wheel if it doesn’t move? — Genpo Roshi
Happiness, well-being, and living a fulfilled life take action, rolling with the bumps, potholes and putting air in our inevitable flat tires. Seeking, learning, and figuring out what you constantly need to subtract or add to your life is how you accept your role (roll) in being happier.
2. I want you to be happier: keep acting (rolling) in a positive direction.
Resisting pain or negative events cause more suffering, which then creates more unhappiness. Doing something positive about the negative, miserable experiences or pain— accepting whatever is, breathing through whatever is, knowing good or bad is a mental label we attach to moments — creates a chance at living a more meaningful, happier life.
When negative stimuli happen, make sure you put a positive spin on them when you can.
I’d bet a million dollars that the happiest people in the world constantly find the silver lining in adverse events, not by ignoring the feelings and emotions but by accepting them and moving through them.
3. I want you to be happier: subtraction and addition.
On the third stage of happiness, we must take consistent action in our lives by subtracting the people, businesses, careers, bad habits, mindsets, and things that bring misery into our lives:
In a friendship that has run its course.
In a partnership that drags you down.
In a job that has no meaning.
In a missed opportunity to add positive things like practicing yoga or meditation instead of short-term fixes like cigarettes, comfort fast food, or Netflix.
In a self-limiting mindset that holds you back from expressing your authentic self.
4. I want you to be happier: Know suffering is relative.
Our life’s suffering, pain, and misery should help us point the way to changing ourselves.
Accepting pain is part of the staying happy process.
Pain may inherently feel bad on the surface, but isn’t it a roadmap for personal growth?
Kids die of cancer. Parents pass prematurely of heart attacks. Tragedies happen. But most of us don’t like to think about death or suffering of those around us. Most of us don’t know the depths of human despair; living through poverty, racial injustice in the 1950s, food scarcity, or being in concentration camps in WWII.
Today, if Instagram gets shut down, our life is suddenly upside down in the modern world.
Will we accept our responsibility to accept and embrace human suffering as part of the happiness process?
When we begin to understand pain and suffering as signposts for growth, gratitude, and where to embrace happiness, we take our responsibility seriously.
All roads will have bumps, bruises, and breaks, but getting back on your feet (quickly) and walking your authentic highway with action, courage, optimism, gratitude, and self-awareness will help you be and stay happier.