“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk
Most of us would like to be happier than we are; or to be happier more frequently. We envision how great life would be if we were happy all the time. Happiness is so prized it was even built into the American Declaration of Independence- that we have the right to pursue happiness.
Yet, that statement is misleading. Happiness is not something we find OUTSIDE of ourselves. We cannot pursue or chase after happiness because happiness is already within us.
We think we will find happiness outside of ourselves. We envy people we see on social media at parties or on vacation because surely happiness resides in the Caribbean or in a large group of friends.
We eat decadent desserts because naturally happiness will come from a sweet, creamy treat.
We find ourselves in relationship after relationship because obviously that last guy was a dud but THIS one will make me happy.
But the key thing we overlook time and time again is that happiness is not OUT THERE. Happiness is IN HERE. We just have to learn how to release it.
Michelangelo used to look at a block of marble and see the statue within it. “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
He would not impose a figure onto the marble, rather he would slowly chip away everything that was not the figure.
The way we can find our happiness is to be like Michelangelo and see it within us. We slowly release all that is NOT our happiness and Reveal it within.
I am sure you are thinking, “Uh, what?” “How do we do that?”
It’s not as hard as it sounds. There are 3 things you can do to release your happiness and feel more joyful on a regular basis.
- Understand that happiness is an inside job. Stop chasing after outside people, events, experiences and recognize “you had the power all along my dear” ~ Glinda the Good Witch, Wizard of Oz
- Decide what your principles are and write them down
- Feel gratitude every day for the things in your life that currently fit in with your principles
Let’s talk a little bit more about #s 2 and 3.
What are principles? Principles are the things that matter to you. The definition is:
“A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.”
In other words, what do you stand for? What matters to you? Who do you want to be?
As an example, a few principles that I hold dear are to: have a family, adopt rescue dogs, and be a kind person.
When you decide what your principles are you create a guide for your own life on how to release your happiness.
When you know what your principles are you then need to feel gratitude every day for the current things in your life that fit your principles. It is kind of like saying, “thank you” to yourself for living true to your own self.
This morning I brought my dog Dudley with me to wake my daughter up for school. He jumped up on the bed and snuggled up in between us. I stroked my daughter’s hair, felt Dudley all warm next to my body, and felt such gratitude for that moment in my life. My happiness was flowing out. Released. And all it took was taking a moment to recognize the joy that was right there.
“Happiness is a warm puppy” ~ Charles M Schulz
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ~JRR Tolkien
Mr. Schulz and Mr Tolkien have defined the things that make them happy. I have to agree.
Hopefully they lived true to their principles, because feeling gratitude not only makes you happy, it increases the joy and happiness in the world. You have a responsibility to ALL of us to be happy.
As Peter Pan so wisely knew – “When the first baby laughed for the first time, it’s laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”