So first off let’s identify whether or not you are happy. It might seem a pretty simple thing to understand but I think there are more than a few of us trying to figure it out. I get these times when I think I am happy yet I have these stress related pains in my body. Can I be both happy and stressed? I’m betting you have had something similar going on where you might think you’re happy but yet something is not right in your life. So is there a better question than to ask if we are happy? What if we were to ask what happiness looks like? If we look at the dictionary it says things like happiness is a feeling of peace, well being, and moving towards a place of joy. But to answer this question we need to answer another. That is the how, what, and why do we get happy. So what are the how, what and whys for you to get happy? Many people find that things like the proper amount of sleep and exercise add to their happiness. Plus you can find happiness in being close with family or friends, being thankful and smiling. Helping others can bring on happiness.
Let’s dive right in. The first one is postponing happiness. Now you might even think this is a good thing, I mean we can sacrifice our happiness right now for other things like success in the future, right? Many people think that they are just delaying gratification for a larger reward in the future. I mean there are many psychological studies over the years that back this up. We just put our happiness on hold right. We put it out on things that haven’t happened. We say I’ll be happy when I lose weight , get a promotion, when things calm down, or when COVID is over right. Or maybe yours are, If I had more money , a relationship, better social life, or better in-laws then I would enjoy the holidays, Right.
Next let’s dive into the second trap. This trap is you wanting to make others happy first. But what if we are trying to make someone happy who doesn’t want to be that way. It is impossible to make others happy. I understand wanting others to be happy, that stems from the deep seated human desire to be loved. As we contribute to the happiness of others we often will feel loved. But waiting for others to be happy has it’s problems, it can be hard to judge when someone is happy. Plus in doing this we are restricting our feelings and putting others in charge of our happiness. Our happiness should not be reliant on others. I hear many people talk about the “you complete me” idea that was alleged in the movie Jerry Maguire. On the surface many people though oh yeah this is the relationship I want. But the problem is that If we are not complete in and of ourselves we will be in a codependent relationship or participate in relationship addiction.
Now we will dive into the last trap contrast and comparison. You see a picture on social media. The person has Looks, the perfect skin, a body you would die for, the house and car you dream of and the perfect kids and spouse. You have seen a picture like that right. It made you wish for a different life. “Comparison is the death of Joy” said Mark Twain. That is because of the story that accompanies the comparison for most of us. When we compare and contrast we see others having, doing, or being more, than us. That story kills happiness. When we contrast and compare ourselves to others there are no winners, only losers.
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