In today's society, achieving happiness has become a precious goal. But, despite the efforts we put in, it always manages to escape us.
Last update: 24 March, 2022
The pursuit of happiness has recently become a great way to make money. Books, meetings, courses and anything else try to "sell" the ultimate recipe for being happy. In most cases, however, we share a misconception: to situate happiness outside of ourselves. Happiness is a state of mind, yet it is often presented as a dimension that sits atop a mountain, reachable only by following dangerous, steep and winding paths.
Does it make sense to think that there is happiness that is valid for everyone? In short, a definition that is valid for us, our neighbors and the people who are on the other side of the planet.
In reverse, happiness is sensitive to circumstances and, therefore, to individuality. There is only one and it is within us. All the rest, the chatter, the complicated ruminations, only serve to build mirages which, once evaporated, give way to a discomforting feeling of emptiness. Happiness is a state of mind and, therefore, subjective.
Happiness is a state of mind, looking for it outside is a mistake
Everything around us pushes us to seek happiness on the outside. If we buy that new car, we'll be happy. If we have a partner and we get married, we will be even more so. Advertising recites this mantra, as if this noble sensation had a price, a color, a shape, adaptable and usable in the same way, by everyone. Perhaps we are talking about joy and not happiness.
Happiness is a state of mind, a positive emotion, something that if there is, remains, without fading like the bubbles of champagne. An echo that survives other emotions and that, whatever happens, warms and heartens. Perhaps it is that ability to harmoniously unite the various elements of one's life, while learning to feel good.
“Unable to find happiness in ourselves, we desperately look for it in objects, experiences, ways of thinking or behaving in increasingly strange ways. In short: we distance ourselves from happiness, looking for it where it does not exist ”.
The power of thoughts
If happiness is a state of mind, then our thoughts are the main players. A cast that, motivated by emotions or events, does not always play a script favorable to our interests. However, the positive aspect is that we can intervene on the script. You just need to take the trouble to observe them. For this, it may be important to practice meditation.
Identify the large number of automatic thoughts you have in a day that are negative (complaints, judgments, regrets, self-criticisms…). Being aware of this will reveal a lot about yourself. You will discover or rediscover a part of yourself that you have forgotten that you have and which, perhaps, you have never dealt with.
If you see every obstacle as an opportunity, if a layoff becomes a push to change jobs (something you've always wanted to do), then you will take a big step towards that state of happiness. Fostering positive thoughts against negative ones is essential in this regard.
Being well does not mean evading or forgetting negative thoughts, but making the mind an inhospitable environment for them. As pointed out by Matthieu Ricard, the happiest man in the world, to understand how happiness works you have to think about the sea. Although its surface is altered by the wind or a strong wave, calm reigns in its depths.
“By happiness I mean a profound sense of flowering that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a simple pleasant sensation, a fleeting emotion or a state of mind; but an optimal state of being. Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world, because even if it can be difficult to change it, it is always possible to change the way we see it ”.
Many people understand happiness as well-being, others as balance. It is never transient, momentary, but prolonged over time. But for this to be possible, we must find our own definition of happiness, dress it intelligently, with pockets in which our desires can have enough space.
Get away from the stereotype of happiness built and reinforced by advertising that pushes you to surround yourself with objects and goods that are often superfluous and useless for the purpose, which is to be happy and not happy. More than buying or acquiring, it's about disposing and choosing wisely.