How to find happiness is a loaded question with a million loaded answers! Some people spend their whole lives trying to find the answer, so how can you figure it out for yourself?
Happiness in the media
The media is built on marketing, which itself is built on making people believe they need something. The universal thing that everyone wants is happiness, so that’s what a lot of ads are built around promising.
Every industry promises it to some extent.
Internet dating promises that a partner will make you happy. Shops promise an item will make you happy.
Everyone promises money will make you happy.
But is that true? Yes and no. Yes, because to some extent any of those things can add happiness to your life. No, because none of those things will singlehandedly make you happy on their own.
Why searching for happiness is not the answer
Sounds counter productive right? Believe it or not, searching for happiness is not necessarily the answer.
That’s a lesson that took me way too long to learn.
I spent years trying to find happiness by burying myself in relationships, jobs and things, and I could never understand why it didn’t work. I was technically ticking all the same boxes that other ‘happy’ people do, so why couldn’t I find it?
Really, I was just setting myself up for failure. When you’re expecting something, or someone to make you happy, you’re putting the pressure of your own happiness on it or them. That’s a massive expectation!
If finding happiness isn’t the answer, what is?
Creating happiness is the answer. It sounds like splitting hairs, but the premise is completely different.
Anything you add to your life, has the possibility of bringing happiness, but only so far as it can amplify what already exists.
For example, money on its own will not create happiness, but we can all agree it’s still a positive to have in your life. A relationship on it’s own can not create happiness, but a partnership between fulfilled people can be life changing.
Happiness can only truly be created, from within yourself.
How to find happiness within yourself
The key to creating happiness, is understanding why you aren’t happy, and this requires some real introspection. It means getting to know yourself. It means really sitting with yourself, unobstructed in the rawest way, with nothing to hide behind. When you are forced to really get to know yourself and stop running. It’s uncomfortable but this is where growth happens.
You need to ask yourself why you aren’t happy. You may not like the answer but it’s a really important question. For me, it was because I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like who I was, what I did or what I stood for, and that was a really uncomfortable realisation.
I had buried myself in so many things to make myself happy that I never really stopped to check in with myself. Chasing happiness from outside influences was a bandaid for not looking inside and I realised I needed a massive change.
So what can you do if you don’t like who you are? You change. The idea of rebuilding yourself from the ground up can be a terrifying prospect, but you are not a fixed object, you are an ever growing canvas that you can fill with whatever you like. If you don’t like what’s on your canvas, find another colour. Define what makes you, you.
Of course it’s not that easy, it requires a real drive for change and some serious time! It is in no way an overnight process, it took me years and I’m still on that journey.
But it is so, so worth it.
The knock on effect
Once you cultivate peace and happiness within yourself, and build your own foundation, everything flows from that. What you’ve built inside begins to reflect on decisions you make, and what you fill your life with.
By creating happiness from within yourself, you’re building something that no one can take away from you. It’s a safety net of knowing that you don’t need anything external to have that base level of happiness.
Take that building block and run with it. Find what will amplify that happiness. Build a fulfilling relationship, chase that dream job, buy those nice things with the empowerment of knowing your happiness does not rely on them.
Once you realise you don’t need those things to be happy, it removes the fear of losing them. That’s when you really start living and appreciating the things around you.