Finding and Keeping Happiness

The quest for happiness seems to be a major concern of so many people. It's amazing that for all our technology, conveniences and freedom in this day and age, on the whole we're no happier today than we were 50 years ago.

What is it about happiness? Why does it seem so elusive?

Where Happiness is Not

Happiness is not found with other people. It’s a natural instinct to think that if your parents were better, if your husband or wife were nicer, if your kids behaved, if your bosses were more understanding— then, eureka! You’d finally have happiness!

But the truth is that no one can bring you happiness. This is a destructive illusion because we are putting the fate of our own happiness in someone else’s hands instead of going after it ourselves.
Some people assume happiness is found in materialism. You just know you would be happy if you had a bigger house, a nicer car, a better television or more money. Maybe if you were famous you would be happy— people would recognize you and you would be admired.

Happiness is a state of being. The only way to be in that state, is to find the ability to do so inside of yourself.

If this were the case, though, then why are so many wealthy celebrities miserable? Why do they get married and divorced so much, or engage in destructive behaviors like drugs and alcohol? Why does every rich and famous person seem to have a therapist?

No, happiness is not in things, and it’s not in fame. In fact, without happiness, if you did get these things you’d find them very ungratifying.

Where Happiness Is

Happiness is closer than you might think— but it’s not easy to spot. It’s inside you. If you can’t spot it, you’ve buried it deeply and will need to dig it out.

Don’t believe me? That’s because you don’t understand happiness. It’s not something given to you, or something you find. It’s not something anyone can take away, at least not for long.

Happiness is a state of being. The only way to be in that state, is to find the ability to do so inside of yourself.

Fostering a better attitude can help you find that happiness. It may take some trying, but you can remind yourself to use more positive words, to think more positively and to be more appreciative of what you have. You can train yourself to see the beauty in everything and to be grateful for every moment.

Another way to find happiness is to practice mindfulness and meditation. These arts teach you to live in the moment and focus all of your awareness on the now in a detached, non-judgmental way. When you’re able to do this, you stop ruminating and regretting the past; you stop fretting and fussing over the future. When you’re able to do this, you start living your life, you start experiencing the moment and it brings you inner peace—a guaranteed way to find happiness.

Finally, get to truly know and accept yourself. Come to terms with your flaws and turn them around so you can use them as strengths. Treat yourself with the dignity and respect you deserve. When you learn to truly love yourself, you find life is a much happier journey.

Holding On to Happiness

Once you find happiness, it’s easier to hold onto it. You just keep doing whatever it is you were doing that helped you find it in the first place. Think of happiness as a wild bird… the more you try to feed it or trap it, the more likely it is to fly away. But settle down with some bird feed and be still— and it will come and perch on you.