6 Tips for Finding HappinessHappiness is really a deep harmonious inner satisfaction and approval. ~Francis Wilshire
As humans, interconnected in more ways than we realize, we place a great deal of pressure on each other to act in a certain way. The belief is that if other people act in a way that better suits us and our needs, it’ll be easier to find peace and happiness.
When I was in high school and entirely consumed by my relationships with my peers, any type of conflict — especially the kind that made me believe someone else was in control — shook me to my core.
So when a ten-year friendship hit rocky ground over a difference in opinion about my boyfriend (something I can’t help but laugh about now), I was devastated. I always wanted others to agree with my actions and decisions, and when they didn’t, I searched for ways to convince them that I was right.
I remember brooding over this particular fight for hours, recounting the details to anyone willing to listen, and impatiently waiting for the apology phone call. I thought, If she just calls and admits she was wrong, I can stop thinking about this and move on. But if she doesn’t, our friendship won’t recover.
The outcome wasn’t the one I was banking on, and subsequently, it took quite awhile for me to feel better about the situation and life in general.
Peace in Someone Else’s Hands
Instead, I continued participating in the same cycle of placing my peace in someone else’s hands.
A few weeks ago, after months of searching for new opportunities in all areas of my life, I told my family that I was OK with not finding what I was looking for. I was more consumed with my significant other finding the job he was looking for.
In my eyes, if that search ended up being fruitful, I would have more stability and security in my life. So I became entangled in his search — telling him who I thought he should call and what jobs he should be applying to on a daily basis.
And we fought. Daily.
In working through my need to control and manipulate the situation, this is what I am learning:
Happiness doesn’t appear because of an “if, then” turn of events
— e.g. “If he calls, then I’ll be happy.”
It’s not reliant upon an event at all;
it’s a state of mind completely independent of outside circumstances.
That’s the tricky part — as humans we are inexplicably interconnected, yet true and lasting peace and happiness must happen independent of each other.
1. Happiness Outside Yourself is Undependable
Satisfaction with the actions of others is short-lived and never a dependable source of happiness.
From a strictly logical standpoint, if your state of mind is reliant upon others acting in a certain way, chances are you will be disappointed the vast majority of the time. People think and act in a way that is conducive to them and their experience — there are too many contributing factors for you to know what is best for them and for them to know what is best for you.
The only way to be empowered in your search for happiness is to find it within yourself. The only way to find a sense of peace and happiness that lasts is to get back to basics. It depends entirely on your ability to operate outside of your current circumstances in order to find a place of acceptance and gratitude.
3. Remember Control is Almost Always an Illusion
You may think that you’ve managed to control a situation in the past — and maybe you have — but it likely had negative external or internal consequences. Control is something many of us seek to obtain, but it eludes us — for a reason.
We may not have all the facts or be able to see the big picture, so while we push for one outcome, another might be better suited for everyone involved. Accept that gaining control is out of your control and move on.
4. Understand Your Fears
Fear is what convinces us that our happiness lies in the actions of others.
I know that my preoccupation with my partner’s job hunt is based on some very deep seated fears — fear that the money will run out, fear that I won’t be taken care of, fear that our relationship will suffer as a result, fear that things just simply won’t work out in the end.
If you know that fear is the origin, second-guess where your attention is being placed. Don’t concentrate on the actions of others when the issue lies within your own thoughts and beliefs.
5. Search for the Lesson
One of the greatest rewards of being a member of the human race is the lessons we learn from each other.
If what someone is or isn’t doing really rubs you the wrong way, find out what it’s triggering in you and why. Or use it as a chance to move outside yourself in order to see where someone else is coming from.
If there is struggle, there is always a lesson — you might just have to do some digging to find it.
6. Know Your Own Power
Relying on others for happiness is a drain on your personal power.
Anytime we search outside of ourselves for happiness, we are essentially saying that we aren’t enough, that we aren’t whole on our own. This way of being completely discounts the power we already have to create the life we want.
In looking back over my past experiences, I can remember the overwhelming relief I’ve felt when I’ve been able to release my preoccupation with what others are doing or what they’ve done. I view this as a kind of reuniting with my personal power.
I’ve never had that same type of satisfaction when I banked on someone doing something and I received the outcome I had been hoping for.
I now feel like I’m in the process of reclaiming my right to be happy no matter what happens around me.
Are you ready to do the same?