Finding Happiness

Finding happiness is somewhat of a paradox.

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase, if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”
-C. P. Snow

It would seem that finding happiness is somewhat like finding love, or the wind. We can feel it and even see it, but how do we actually go about finding it? Happiness is an emotion or state of being in that it is manifested within ourselves as a result of our experiences. Many times we may associate happiness with an external stimuli or interaction with someone or something. When in reality, happiness actually comes from within us as an emotional state of being. So how do we go about finding happiness within ourselves?

In order to have inner happiness, we must first be at peace with who we are and our place in the world. This peace comes with living up to the highest ideals we have for ourselves. Often, when we fall short of this ideal self, we experience unhappiness in the form of depression or low self-esteem. Therefore, getting to a place of self-acceptance is an important step to finding happiness.

Self-acceptance can be a hard journey to undertake. Especially with the fear of what we may find looming over our heads. However, if we’re serious about finding inner happiness we must travel this road and work at accepting ourselves as best we can.

I heard someone say once that serenity comes when we learn to accept the consequences of being ourselves. The fact is, we’re “human” as they say, and as such we’re fallible and prone to make mistakes and miss our ideal self. If we’re to find happiness, we must at least try to do the best we can and learn to be content with our best. Even when we fall short, we must remind ourselves about the difficulty of the task and avoid constant self-discouragement.

Start listening to the inner-voice that is constantly telling you whether you can or cannot do something. Does the voice sound like it could come from your best friend? Think about how you would encourage a close friend to keep trying and doing their best. Is that the voice you hear talking to you when you fall short? If not, trying reminding yourself that you ARE doing your best, and if you’re not, step it up a little and start out small. Avoid trying to change your entire life in a few short days or weeks. Remember, it took years to form the person you are today, finding inner happiness cannot happen over night.

Finding happiness in yourself comes with practice and hard work. Always remember to be your own best friend and biggest fan! The world is tough enough on many of us so don’t add to the negativity by constantly berating yourself.

I often find myself talking down to me when I do something stupid or “think” is stupid. Luckily for me, my wife is also my biggest fan. When she over hears me talking to myself in a negative manner, she’ll often say, “hey, don’t talk to my friend that way.” It’s a good reminder of how I see myself. And just think, for all the times we don’t verbally talk down to ourselves our mind is constantly talking to us.

Instead of thinking about finding happiness, turn your thoughts to finding self-acceptance. Self-acceptance comes through learning what you are actually capable of doing and keeping the expectations of yourself realistic. I’m guilty of often placing too high expectations of myself and often those around me. I’ve gotten much better at this through the years however, and consequently, my happiness level has increased dramatically.

An example of expectations I set for myself was when I recently finished my MBA. I hadn’t really thought a whole lot about my grades, but knew I had gotten a lot of A’s. Towards the end I actually realized the possibility of finishing with a perfect 4.0. I started to panic and putting way too much pressure on myself. I was looking farther ahead then I had been to get to that point. In the past, looking too far ahead often got me into trouble, in that the tasks at hand seemed overwhelming and often caused me to quit or fail before I even gave myself a chance. In the end, I got back to the process that had gotten me to that point and did finish with a perfect grade. For me, that means breaking my tasks down to manageable portions. Specifically with school, I seldom looked farther than one week in advance; concentrating on just the things I need to do for that week and using an online task list to keep track. By breaking the tasks down to things I knew I could manage, I got a weekly feeling of inner happiness; a little victory each and every week.

In getting back to finding inner happiness, try breaking down some of the ideal traits and goals you have for yourself to a weekly or daily list. This can help you have a daily success story and find happiness in what you’ve accomplished each and every day. Remember, however, to keep the tasks manageable and avoid being too hard on yourself if you fall short. If you find you’re constantly falling short, maybe you need to break your goals down to smaller pieces; putting pieces in the right order that may be dependent on one or the other.

Instead of striving toward finding happiness, strive for self-acceptance and building a healthy, loving, personal relationship with you. You’ll soon find happiness will find you!

Comments

  1. trina says

    i tryin hard to find happiness within myself, but its hard if everything around you keep failing. I try to push myself but i seem to fll short and get angry eith myself and everyoneelse. Please help me with just little more insights.

    • Jared says

      Trina,
      Thanks for leaving a comment. One saying that helps me often in this type of thinking is “things happen around me and not to me.” Meaning that life happens and that it’s not happening to me (as a victim) but just around me. It does take practice to try and develop a different type of thinking, one that allows events in our lives to take us to where we’re supposed to be and not just where we’ve ended up. Taking charge of our own happiness is key. Try putting into practice some of the practical tips I mentioned in my report.

  2. Gary says

    Hi Jared,

    just stumbled across your finding inner happyness page. i have always believed you need to love yourself first to be able to love others. however my self esteem, inner confidence and postitive optimism is very faint. At this time any sort of long or short term planning fails, however small the goal is. my question is how do you find inner happyness when the reality of life is depressive and destructive? or do you raise above this, to say yes awful things happen to good people, but i am happy for each day that life gives me.
    Thanks, Gary

    • jared says

      Hey Gary,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’ve also heard that self-love is more about emotional connectedness with self. Which makes sense to me. As I’m more emotionally connected, I’m better able to identify those things which 1) bring me happiness or 2) are making me unhappy.

      I can certainly relate to long-term planing being difficult. I struggle with that also at times. As I mentioned in the article, I have to break things down into manageable chunks. Even for big long term goals. For example, I have a goal of finishing a book I’ve been working on for… well, about 3 years. I often get caught up in what the cover will look like or how will I distribute it. What I should be doing is writing. :-) I guess it comes down to time management. Or rather the realization that if I want to have a book done, I need to write.

      Like if I want to find happiness, I need to find out what’s causing me to be unhappy. Like you mentioned, self-esteem, inner confidence, etc. are vary faint. So I look to see why I’m feeling that way. Of course “I” can’t fix a broken thought process with the same mind that got into this mess, so I need help. That’s why I use friends, coaches, and therapists.

      And to answer your question, “how do you find inner happiness when the reality of life is depressive and destructive?”

      Yes there is a destructive reality to life, but there’s also the beautiful reality. For me it’s been a change of perspective. Yes, life can seem depressive and destructive. All I have to do is watch the local evening news. It’s disgusting and extremely depressive. All that does is remind me of the horrific things people are doing to each other. So I don’t watch the news. I surround myself with positive and loving people. I make a choice to see the beauty in things, even death.

      And most importantly, I can be loving, kind, and do good things. In the end, all we can really do is not add to the destruction; be part of the solution and not the problem. But first I had to realize “the problem” was me; as in my inner-peace and happiness. Once I realized I was the problem, I am also the solution!

      Good luck to you Gary and thanks again for the great comments.

  3. belinda says

    today i start a journey to find out who i am and seeking happines. could it be possoble fpr me. i have many layer to peel off. today i really dont know me or what i love. i will start today with learning self acceptance

    • jared says

      Good luck on your journey Belinda. I wish you all the best. Peeling one layer at a time is a good start, it certainly was for me.

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