achieve: to bring to a successful end; carry through; accomplish
This is the most common mistake when people set out to find happiness in their lives, they set out under the allusion that they can accomplish it like finishing a novel or building a shed. It’s not quite that easy yet it can still be found through hard work. Achieving happiness is done through looking within ourselves and finding what truly brings us joy in our lives.
Sit back and think about times in your life when you were truly happy. Chances are you haven’t thought of them much lately if you’re here, searching for information on achieving happiness. Learning how to achieve happiness starts with the willingness to really know yourself. Much like trying to purchase a Christmas gift for a friend you don’t know all that well, it’s hard! The same can be applied to yourself. How well do you really know yourself and what can you achieve that will bring you happiness?
The majority of things we seek to make us happy are not what we truly need for long-lasting peace of mind and happiness. When you really look at it, we all want pretty much the same things… which has nothing to do with “things.” We want to be loved and accepted. So why then do we constantly try to achieve happiness through material things? For one reason, it’s a hell of a lot easier! After all, who wants to get to know themselves intimately and truly unlocking fears, regrets, and resentments? Most wouldn’t think that sounds like achieving happiness at all but more of creating misery by digging up skeletons. Yet it’s the very skeletons that continue to keep coming up and reaching in our pockets for the next big thing; the next thing to make us happy.
As long as we’re not happy with ourselves, we’re never really going to achieve happiness. I refer to this concept all the time here at How To Find Happiness; happiness is a by-product of right living. Sure right living can be subjective, but deep inside us all (unless we suffer some mental illness) we have a moral compass that nudges us towards right living. Even with that moral compass, we do a grand job of squashing it’s influence or silencing it with denial, material things, addictions, and unhealthy behavior.
The How of achieving happiness is self-love and acceptance. As we learn to accept the consequences of being ourselves, we’re effected less by outside sources. Achieving happiness is not the goal so much as self-acceptance and realizing that everything we need to be happy is already within us. Think about it, if we’re not relying on outside sources anymore for happiness, wouldn’t it be possible to create our happy life no matter what our circumstances are?
Early in my life I reached a childhood dream of becoming a zookeeper (more specifically a primate keeper). Yes, many of you may have read this about me already… but the fact is, I was really happy for several years. Why wouldn’t I be happy getting to take care of chimpanzee’s, spider monkey’s and all types of primates every day? I just knew this was going to be what I did for the rest of my life; so sure, I wrote an article that was featured in a zoo-keeping magazine. I still have several copies saved at home in a box somewhere. However, a few years into that job and I got bored, I just woke up one day and was extremely unsatisfied with my life. This feeling hit me hard as I realized my entire life was going to be this way, chasing after things providing only temporary happiness. This was about the time that I started associating having fun with achieving happiness.
Having fun and continued happiness are not necessarily the same thing. Fun is temporary while true happiness comes from peace of mind and inner-peace. As the result of severe emotional and spiritual pain and suffering, I was forced out of desperation to re-define my life and what happiness meant. That was when I set out to find what achieving happiness really meant. The first step was admitting I didn’t know crappola about true happiness and finding some people that did.
I discovered through a long spiritual and emotional healing and self-discovery process, that I wasn’t really happy or accepting of myself. I went back over my life and all the things I had ever done to myself and others and really took inventory of what my life had been. I learned that in order to know where I was going and to achieve happiness, I had to know where I’d been. What I realized is that I had some really good qualities and character traits that could assist me in finding happiness in my life. It’s sort of like taking inventory of products in a store, you need to know what is selling and to keep and what things are just taking up shelf space. We all have some really good traits and qualities that can assist us in achieving happiness, we just need to be able to see them as assets and not liabilities. It takes practice, help, and getting to know oneself in order to turn liabilities into assets, but it can be done.
Many people believe that life is something to be endured and not enjoyed; that happiness is fleeting and an illusion. I can relate to how these people feel as I once felt that way myself. There are still times in my life when I feel not as happy as usual; but I also know that I’ve worked towards a happy life and from experience I know that “this too shall pass.” For instance when my father passed away suddenly a few months ago. I had never been through something like that before so there were emotions I had never quite felt or dealt with. I knew deep inside everything was/is fundamentally OK, but there are these moments I feel fear or sadness. One thing that helps me in these times is to focus on gratitude. I change my perspective from sadness to gratitude for all the wonderful years I had with my father; especially the last few years as I grew spiritually and learned to accept the reality of our relationship with each other. Since March 12th of 2006 when I was at a bottom emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I’ve dedicated my life to finding the ingredients to achieving happiness. Almost all of the techniques I’ve learned to help me find happiness in everyday living came from spiritual coaching and the simple act of asking for help. The concept is easy really, find someone who seems to have achieved the happiness you want and emulate them.
Years ago when I was struggling with depression and destructive behavior, I had a psychiatrist suggest to me, “Jared, you just need to find someone you admire and respect and simply emulate what they do.” I remember thinking “lady you’re crazy, I’m my own person and there just isn’t anyone out there as unique and great as me.” Yeah, pretty stupid, me calling the shrink crazy. The truth is, she was right! It really is that easy, finding someone who has something you want (spiritually, emotionally, even financially) and simply ask them to show you how they got there. Sure they may say no, but they sure can’t deny you the right to observe or at least (in a non-stalker sort of way) research how they’ve become successful or happy. Chances are, if achieving happiness is your goal, and you find someone who is happy, they’ll be delighted to share with you how they became that way. I know I sure enjoy sharing how I achieved happiness, which is pretty evident by the length of this article apparently.
Just like building a house or digging a hole, happiness is something you can achieve if you set your mind to it. However, it is not done the way most of us have been trying for years. Happiness is achieved through self-acceptance, love, and building healthy relationships. Happiness is finding love, purpose, and gratitude in every moment possible each and every day. If you’re into studies and statistics, I suggest you check out the article What Makes Us Happy?
If you’re still reading this, I commend you for hanging in there, I know this is a really long article; but hey, achieving happiness is no simple task!
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