The answer? Stop making happiness a goal that you are trying to achieve. Because you will never achieve it, at least not on a sustainable level. Happiness is a feeling that we feel when life is going the way we want it to go. The reality of life and the journey that we experience in our lifetimes is that its full of its ups and downs. We get experiences that we love and experiences that we feel terrible about.
If you have the goal of trying to be happy all the time, then everytime somethings goes 'wrong' and you feel unhappy, you start to think that you are a failure in your life. You start to see more of the 'unhappy' things in your life and you being to feel further and further away from your goal to be happy.
It's not your fault, we have been conditioned to believe that we need to find happiness. It is everywhere. Just switch on the TV or radio and you will be inundated with ways that are supposedly going to make you happy. Our parents say to us - I just want you to be happy, our teachers talk about careers that will make us happy, the self help industry is loaded with ways to make you happy. Even I am luring you in with talk about how to be happy. Its crazy. We then define our life's value on how happy we can make ourselves be. Possibly you are teaching your children this exact same indoctrination.
Instead of trying to be happy, it is much better to shift your focus to
finding the value in every single experience that you have.
Develop the understanding that everytime you have an experience there is always something that you learn from it, or receive from it. For example, think back to the difficult times when you first had your child and look at all that you have learnt about being a mother, see the character these challenges have built in you and feel that feeling of satisfaction that you got from getting through that period of time and the comfort in knowing how to handle that situation if it arose in the future.
When you learn to see the value in every single experience and begin to understand that life is about learning about yourself & life, you will find yourself becoming happier, as you stop thinking that life has to go your way in order for you to be happy. Some of the most beneficial lessons you have learnt have come from your most unenjoyable experiences. Why would you want these unenjoyable experiences to stop, when you get such incredible insights about yourself and life.
I know that in the moment it might suck, but if you learn to try and find the value in these experiences in the moment, you often detach yourself from the situation and not get so consumed by it.
Think about this - if you went to see a movie where a baby was born to the perfect parents, who loved each other dearly, never had fights with each other, only ever spoke to the baby with love and affection, the baby grew up to be the perfect child with perfect school grades, had the best of friends, had only one boyfriend who loved her forever, grew up to have the perfect job with lots of money and never wanted for anything and their life was one big happy bubble that never went wrong. You would come out of that movie thinking you had seriously wasted you money - it was dead boring!
The truth is we love to see the trials and tribulations of other people's lives and we often learn from seeing these events and often see the value in our own lives because of it. Part of the enjoyment of life is to have value come out of unenjoyable moments, or experiencing something that adds meaning and purpose to our lives. But don't get me wrong, its not that you don't want to set goals that you want to achieve that will make you feel better, that's fine.
It's when you pin your self worth or you life's value on achieving this happy feeling,
is when the danger comes from making you feel absolutely miserable.
Sometimes we don't always get what we want and if we see the learning that we got from that experience and understand that because of that learning your life's value hasn't changed, then you won't feel so miserable about not getting what you wanted.
So at the end of the day, the way to be happy without trying to be happy, is to stop trying to achieve that elusive feeling of happiness all of the time and instead find the merit in every situation, good and bad. When you shift your attention to this line of thinking, you will find that it generates a more consistent feeling inside of yourself and you will end up describing yourself as 'happier'. It's an interesting paradox. Give it a go and see what happens.
Do you have any issues at the moment that you are struggling to find value in? Let me know and I will try and help you seek the value and shift your attention?
Want to know more ways to think about parenting, always feel like a 'good' mum and be able to teach your kids how to have self worth and handle all life's ups and downs?
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