Do you believe that happiness is something you experience as a direct result of some outside influence? (when I say “outside influences” I mean things that are outside ourselves) Honestly, take a moment to reflect on the question.
Most of you will answer “yes” to the question and that is because society has taught us to associate happiness with outside influences. We feel happy after going out and having fun, after seeing family or friends, after a compliment or a great achievement. It is normal and very common to experience happiness that results from outside influences.
Have you ever noticed that some people who seems to have everything they could ever need (comfort, financial stability, friends, love etc) aren’t happy? We can all think of at least one celebrity that fits this description.
My point is that happiness cannot be solely derived from external sources. We cannot rely entirely on those outside influences to make or break our moods. This is a problem I have experienced first hand.
Life is in many ways a rollercoaster, with it’s many ups and downs. Sometimes outside sources of happiness will be abundant and we will find ourselves on cloud 9. However there are other times when life throws us those curve balls. It seems that these hard times seem to last for extended periods of time and it is then that we find ourselves unhappy.
In trying times it is essential that we find ways to make our own happiness but this means we must change our perceptions of what happiness is and where it actually comes from.
Does money equals happiness? We have all heard the stories of the celebrities who have all the material things they could ever need but are still unhappy. This directly relates to deriving happiness from outside influences..
You simply cannot expect situations and people to give you happiness. Sure, at times they will but what happens in the meantime?
Your perception makes your reality. If you want to be happy you must be accepting of yourself first. Then you must find ways to perceive things differently. Is the glass half full or half empty? Optimistic thoughts make you feel happier so you have to find was to see things in a positive light.
When I was younger I could not feel happy unless I went out and did something with someone that made me feel good inside. This included dates, social events, personal accomplishments etc. I could not just sit at home by myself and be happy with my life. I did not like myself very much. Once I tried being more accepting of myself I found that being in my own company became easier. Gradually I began to find beauty in the things around me rather than needing others to find the beauty in me.
Now I can wake up, have a cup of coffee while sitting on my patio and be perfectly content and happy with myself and my life. Before I needed someone else to validate my worth and make me feel happy.
If you are finding yourself chronically unhappy I encourage you to take a look inside. I truly believe that our happiness is tied to the way we feel about ourselves. The first step to leading a happier life is personal acceptance!
For those of you that are active writers/ bloggers here is an exercise on self acceptance. If you are brave enough please complete the writing assignment and post it to your blog or journal site. Also, post a comment below linking to your completed lists. I would like to do a follow up exercise on this shortly. The follow up will have greater impact if you have your own lists to reference. I will also compile my own lists to share and reference for the follow up.
- Make a list of twenty things that you feel make you worthy of love and acceptance.
- Now make a second list of twenty things that you feel make you unworthy of love and acceptance.
**Try to be as honest and specific as possible in your list and also try to list the reasons why these things make you worthy or unworthy. The more you put into this exercise the more you will get out of it.**