There are countless books available that teach you how to be happy in 200 pages or more and many are best sellers! But let’s be honest, most of us want happiness right now, not in 2 weeks when we’ve finally finished reading! We’re desperate for it and can’t wait to obtain it! So, let’s not over-complicate it! Let’s simplify it so that you can discover the secret to happiness today!
The Secret to Happiness
So, without further ado I’m going to tell you right now what the secret is! I mean, why make you wait until you get to the very end of this post! Let’s get right to it.
Here it is… happiness is within you all the time! That’s the big secret to happiness! You already have it!
Wait?!?! What?!?! I know it sounds overly simplistic but it’s true! And, knowing this basically makes me the wizard, you know, of Oz! We all know that the only thing the wizard knew that Dorothy, the Tinman, Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion didn’t is that they already had everything they needed within them! They never even needed to go down that yellow brick road and neither do you! You just need to learn to tap into the happiness within!
Challenges in Happiness Journey
Here’s the thing, most people perceive happiness as a pursuit. They see it as a journey outside themselves and get caught up in chasing it. The truth is, it is a journey, but an internal one! To achieve happiness there are many obstacles and challenges you must face! Just like our fierce foursome of Oz. It wasn’t about the physical journey; it was about the challenges they faced and the self-discovery they experienced! So, let’s take a look at challenges you may face in your happiness journey and what you can do about them!
How many times have you thought “when ________ happens I’ll be happy”? How has that worked for you? So often we get this idea that certain activities or life events will make us happy. The truth is, if you’re not happy where you are you won’t be happy there either. Why? Because you’ll still have the same mindset & you’ll be looking for the next destination.
Happiness is something you’re either tapped into or you’re not! It won’t come with weight loss, getting married, the perfect career or anything else outside of yourself! If you want to be happy, truly happy, stop filling your happiness tank with stuff and goals.
The only goal you need to achieve to be happy is just BE HAPPY. That’s it!
If you fill your mind with misery and trash, you’ll have miserable trashy thoughts and feelings! You don’t plant onions and expect to get roses, now do you? If you want happiness, you’ll need to consume things that bring you joy! That might mean turning off the 24-hour news cycle. It may mean avoiding reality shows or binge-watching certain programs on Netflix. You may even need to unplug from social media all together but at the very least you’ll need to do some cultivating!
Fill your social media feed with things that bring you joy and happiness. Create a never-ending stream of good news, cat videos and baby pictures if it brings a smile to your face. Watch television shows and movies that are heartwarming and leave you feeling good. And read books that you find enriching or enlightening!
Your cup of happiness tea might be different from mine or anyone else’s. That’s ok, you do you! For example, one of my daughters loves horror movies! She gets so excited when a new one comes out and enjoys watching them. That’s not my jam. Horror movies make me feel unsettled and give me creepy dreams. But they make her happy and she shouldn’t stop watching them just because I’ve decided they don’t bring joy.
When consuming media or reading take a moment to think about how you’re feeling. What’s coming up for you? How do you feel at the end of your consumption time? Is this how you want to be feeling right now? If not, make a change! You get to choose what goes into your heart and mind. Take that choice seriously and make necessary adjustments to support your happiness.
You know what they say… comparison is the thief of joy! SO much truth there! That said, the comparison habit is a hard one to break!
Think about how different the whole Oz story would’ve been if the Scarecrow was comparing himself to the others. Would he have stepped up and voiced his amazing ideas that helped them all get through or would he have sat back waiting for someone smarter to? Would he have been overwhelmed with jealousy and unwilling to even go on the journey to begin with. Or would he refuse to go because he felt he had nothing to offer the team since he wasn’t as smart as them? How would he have ever discovered he had brains all along if he had a comparison mentality?
When we compare ourselves to others, we tend to do one of these. We downplay our own amazingness. Because of this we don’t step up to life’s challenges. Instead we sit in the shadows and never see our own greatness. We become overwhelmed with jealousy and decide that we can’t accomplish or have what others do. And often we don’t find happiness because we refuse to go on the internal journey toward it! We simply decide that we don’t deserve it or that it’s not our lot in life.
Let me tell you, happiness is NOT a limited commodity! It’s available to everyone in abundance! It isn’t something that can be run out of. So, stop comparing yourself to others. You deserve to be happy right where you are RIGHT now! If other people have accomplished what you dream of rejoice in the knowledge that you too can acquire that in your life. If those around you are incredibly happy, well loved and living their dream, feel encouraged!
Not there yet? Avoid people and situations that tend to trigger comparison. Again, cultivate your social media, change your consumption! Stop exposing yourself to things that make you feel bad or want to beat yourself up until you’ve gotten the comparison monster under control!
The choice is completely up to you!
There are 2 sides to this coin that we need to talk about. First, the opinions of others have nothing to do with you or your happiness. In fact, they are absolutely none of your business. And second, Other people’s struggles shouldn’t affect your happiness. You aren’t a monster if you maintain your happiness, you’re a beacon of light and hope!
You know what that stands for, right? Yep… other people’s opinions. And as I said above, they are none of your business! That’s why they’re other people’s and not yours! You are only meant to own and concern yourself with what’s yours. Stop taking something on that doesn’t belong to you to begin with! There are 2 ways in which other people’s opinions enter our lives. One is through our ears and eyes and the other is in our own minds. So, let’s address them both!
OPO Through Your Ears & Eyes
I’m pretty sure we all know at least one overly opinionated person who can’t stop judging what everyone else is doing. And worse yet, they make their judgements known. They voice them directly to you or publicly on social media. And sometimes they’re like a dog with a bone and just won’t back off!
Whether they mean well or are just plain mean makes no difference. Other people’s opinions are sure to interfere with your happiness if you let them. But how you address meaning well and just plain mean does differ.
People Who Mean Well
When people who mean well say or do something that throws you off it can be easy to become disheartened or resentful. There are two things you should take into consideration. Are they reliable and are they right?
We all have people who mean well in our lives who are very reliable. People whose opinions we value and respect. If the person who’s giving you feedback that’s making you uncomfortable is reliable you may want to weight it more heavily. If they’re generally just a buttinsky or negative Nancy, you may want to simply disregard their comments.
Remember, often people have opinions about things that make them uncomfortable or feel challenged. If you’re breaking the mold that they’ve confined themselves in they may feel threatened. This isn’t about you and certainly isn’t your responsibility. You don’t have to play small to make other people feel big! But if they have genuine concern about your choices and are reliable you may want to rethink your actions and make an adjustment.
I’m not sure why we’re so concerned about the opinions of mean people, but we are. Sometimes you just can’t help but be thrown off by negative, hurtful comments. You may become filled with self-doubt. You are the only one who can change this! Consider avoiding people who bring negativity into your life. Just because someone is family doesn’t mean they get to rain all over your parade. Consider the source and distance yourself.
The best way to avoid the broadcasted opinions of others throwing you off your happiness game is to minimize your consideration of all opinions. Choose 2 – 3 people in your life whose opinions you value and mute the rest. Whether their feedback is positive or negative, ignore it. It’s most important that you’re true to yourself. If you get caught up in the praise of others, you’re more likely to self-modify to receive it. This will rob you of happiness too! And if you don’t receive that praise you’ve come to rely upon you’re likely to lose your grip on happiness.
OPO In Your Own Mind
Oftentimes it isn’t what anyone openly said or did but it’s how we think they think about us. I phrased it in that cloogy, complicated way because this is a cloogy, complicated trap!
Please take a moment to think about the judgmental nature of this! Don’t assume that you know how someone else feels about you or what you’re doing. You aren’t psychic, are you? NO! So, the only way you can even try to discern what they’re thinking is to judge them. You think you’re being hard on yourself and it’s difficult for you but you’re really being a harsh critic of others. There’s no reason for that! Judging that others are judging you doesn’t make it better it only makes you part of the problem.
Ask yourself “do I KNOW this”? If you do well than that’s an eyes and ears problem. If not, you’re doing this to yourself so knock it off. Remind yourself that other people’s opinions are none of your business. Remind yourself that what you’re doing is wrong, not only to you but to others as well. And take control of your thoughts and internal dialog. Your opinion matters more in your life than anyone else’s. Go do your affirmations, do a project or read something uplifting. Shake off that funk you’ve put yourself in!
The Struggles of Others
A few years ago, I became very painfully aware of the saying “you’re only as happy as your saddest child”. The theory here is that if you have a child who is struggling you can’t be happy. This could be applied to spouses or other’s we’re close to as well. But is it true?
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to sacrifice your happiness because someone else isn’t happy. Remember happiness isn’t a limited commodity. You sacrificing yours won’t give them more or make anything better. Just because misery loves company doesn’t mean you’re required to be miserable.
If you want to maintain happiness in your life you need to learn to separate your stuff from anyone else’s. You also need to learn that you can have more than one emotional experience at a time! You can even be happy and sad at the same time. Just because you’re sad about social distancing or a reckless choice your child made doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. Happy about your life in general. Happy about the healthy choices you’re making. Or hopeful about the future.
When something threatens your happiness consider whether or not it’s yours. If not, let it go! You can’t control the behaviors of others or the circumstances of life you can only control your response. Maintaining your happiness encourages and inspires others which is often the best thing you can do.
I remember the first time I saw the Wizard of Oz. I thought, wow, they’ve already gotten to the Emerald City. This movie must be short! But no… it wasn’t. Once they get there, they are sent on a mission to kill the wicked witch and bring back her broom. And in exchange for that broom the wizard basically tells them they already had what they wanted! What a scam, I thought!!! They never needed to go kill the witch. He could’ve told them that the first time! But, hang on… that’s not true at all!
That mission was critical to their self-discovery! They needed to know what they were made of. They needed to find these incredible traits within themselves and they couldn’t without this additional challenge.
We’re like this too. We need to have our thoughts and feelings challenged. We need to take new actions if we want to have new experiences and especially if we want to find happiness!
Your feelings are derived from your thoughts. So, if you can challenge and control your thoughts you can create the feelings you desire. Including happiness!
Challenge your thoughts by asking yourself whether they are true and whether they are serving you. We often have thoughts that aren’t helpful in any way and sometimes aren’t even true! Imagining what might happen a week from now doesn’t make it so. Dwelling on something that happened 5 years ago isn’t helpful, you can’t do anything about it.
Try to catch yourself in thoughts that undermine your happiness and move your thoughts to something more positive.
Keeping a gratitude journal or joy jar are two amazing ways to keep your thoughts positive and change your perspective. Once you get in the habit of focusing on what brings you joy and makes you grateful, you’ll find you instinctively look on the bright side. Maintaining happiness is much simpler when you have an optimistic attitude.
Choose to do things that are good for you and make you feel good! Nourish your body and soul. Eat healthy, dance around your kitchen, enjoy the outdoors, or read an inspirational book!
Your mood will often follow your actions! Activity and nutritious food help to balance your hormone levels and increase endorphins and endocannabinoids. They also help to decrease cortisol.
Junk food that’s high in refined carbohydrates and sugar and inactivity are both enticing when you’re feeling down but they also cause and exacerbate the blues.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to change your attitude is to change your actions.
To maintain a happy healthy mentality be sure to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and veggies. And get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. If you’re struggling to even get out of bed do your best to at least get into the shower and grab a healthy meal. Count all your wins no matter how small! They set a precedent which gives you a firm foundation to build daily healthy action on.
Your emotions are within your control. You can choose happiness even in times of struggle. Remember that you can be a happy person who’s struggling with grief, sorrow or anger. Allow yourself to experience emotions that are often labeled as negative with full awareness that it isn’t permanent. Pushing it down and ignoring it won’t make you happier. It’ll create toxicity, anxiety and pain. It’ll steal your joy. So, if you need to watch a tearjerker and cry it out, do it! Need to hit a punching bag, nothing wrong with that.
Seeking happiness in your life shouldn’t result in you becoming emotionally constipated. Knowing that you are a happy person who is going through a difficult situation is WAY better than being a miserable person going through something good. That slight shift in perception makes all the difference!
Keep a record of all your wins along with your gratitude. Reminding yourself of your many blessings and the facets of your life that make you happy will make it easier to manage your emotions. When you’re struggling to maintain perspective and optimism review your list.
I also highly recommend affirmations. If I’m struggling with negative thoughts and feelings, I’ll write an affirmation that reinforces the opposite. Even using one that simply says “I am happy and have a good life” will work wonders. Say that to yourself in the mirror at least twice a day (the more the better). Within a couple weeks you’ll see a significant change in attitude.
The Secret to Happiness Revealed
Remember our fierce foursome in Oz! They had everything they needed within them all along and so do you! You just have to work to find it! Some may have to work harder than others but there is one thing I’m certain of. EVERYONE has the potential for happiness within. You just need to access it! And that is the BIG secret to happiness!
Having a support system of likeminded people can definitely help when you’re working to improve your self or life. Share this post and enlist a few friends to go on a happiness journey with you!