Finding happiness within ourselves is the key to long-lasting happiness.
If you’ve researched enough on how to be happy, this is no big news to you I’m sure.
But exactly how do we find the happiness which everyone is referring to… this happiness that’s supposedly already inside us?
One way is by taking out the trash. In the book and movie The Way of The Peaceful Warrior, the master tells his student to “take out the trash.” The trash is all the crap inside our heads that gets in the way of us realizing the potential and significance of each and every moment. Sometimes we forget that we have the ability to choose peace and happiness for ourselves. We get so caught up in the process of being right or understood; we forget that we have the ability to choose happiness and that in fact, the key to how to be happy lies within us already!
Likewise, we also have the ability to choose peace. In a moment when you feel your insides start to tighten, or someone is pushing all the right buttons, remind yourself that you are choosing peace. No one really—when you think about it—has the ability to cause you unhappiness. Happiness truly is an inside job and when you let someone cause you unhappiness, you’re taking away your own control and giving it to them. Have you ever heard the term “giving someone rent free space in your head?”
Allowing others to affect your happiness is like giving them the power to re-write your own past and future. It’s just not necessary. Think about the last time someone really got on your nerves. Maybe you stayed up half the night worrying about what they did or furious about something they said. Next time that happens, get in your car and drive past their house; chances are they’re sound asleep. You see, many times what people say or do is over dramatized or inflated inside our minds.
Another way of taking out the trash is paying attention to the committee inside our own minds. The committee is that voice telling us we’re going to fail or aren’t good enough. Learn to listen to that voice in your own mind and what it’s telling you. Think about how you would talk to or encourage a good friend, is that the voice you hear in your own head? You need to start getting rid of the trash talk going on in your own mind!
A wise person once said, “I’d rather be happy than right.” Think about that for a moment… how many times does your ego insist that you must be right about something? However, think about how happy you’d really be if you were right all the time. You might be thinking right now… “Well, I’d be pretty happy.” The idea that you have to be right is just your ego feeding itself; trying to prop you up higher than others. Anytime you’re feeling the need to be better than anyone else, you’re still comparing yourself to others. Moreover, as long as you’re still comparing yourself to others, happiness is going to be difficult to find and hold onto.
Francine Ward has a great saying, “You get self-esteem by doing esteemable acts.”
“You get self-esteem by doing esteemable acts.” – Francine Ward Click to Tweet
Doing things for others without any expectation of something in return is a great way to build self-esteem. Here are a few ideas for building self-esteem:
- Send $10 to someone anonymously whom you know could use the extra money
- Rake your neighbors leaves one day while they’re gone at work – anonymously!
- Find someplace in your community that you can volunteer to help those less fortunate
- (Here’s something I used to do and should start doing again!) When jogging or walking around my neighborhood, I take a small trash bag and stop to pick up trash
- Call an old friend
- Write a letter (yes a letter) to a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Sending a nice funny card is always fun also!
- Tell someone you love how much they mean to you. Really take some time to think about what you appreciate about them and tell them about it
Finding happiness within yourself begins with knowing what you need to be happy. Like I’ve said many times before, it’s like buying a gift for someone you don’t know very well; it’s hard!
I can’t emphasis enough how helpful it can be to have someone help you with finding out what you truly need to be happy. Many times, its simple fears that are getting in the way. Fear of not being accepted, loved, fear of failure, etc. Having someone help you determine what those fears are is the first step in deciding whether or not they’re valid. Then you can do something about them!
I used a therapist years ago to help me get over a fear of commitment. I knew I loved the person (my wife now) but was scared to move forward and felt that old urge to run away again like I always had before. But I realized that I would be continuing along a path already traveled; that as long as I kept doing the same things, I was going to keep getting the same results. That’s insanity! The therapist helped me realize many things and get over my fear. I learned that my fear was mostly rooted in the fear of not being totally accepted, among other things. As I continued to work towards my happy life, I realized that I was capable of being loved completely for who I was. I can honestly say today that my life is filled with more happiness than I could have ever imagined. You see, I tried something different and chose happiness for myself! I learned how to find happiness by looking inside myself.
If you struggle with finding happiness within yourself, first take a look at your fears and get help in determining what they are and how to deal with them. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting!