If we are wanting to temporarily lift our spirits it’s easy to find things to do that will accomplish that. Many websites offer lists of stuff to choose from that will make us feel better by doing them. These lists are usually focused on things that will make us feel better ‘at this moment.’ So can I be happy? Yes, we can. However……
….. these types of fixes for our melancholy moods are only temporary and therefore usually only last while we are doing what was suggested. This is because the ‘solutions’ offered are stuff that is to be found in our ‘outer world,’ i.e. the world that exists outside of our bodies. These solutions then provide a stimulus for our ‘inner world’ of thoughts. And it is the thoughts that we think that result in the feelings we have.
For example: Solutions that come from outside of us may include:
– have awesome sex
– do some exercise to release some endorphins
– make a list of things you are grateful for
– smile at a stranger
– hang out with your friends
– take a walk in nature
– eat some chocolate
– dance, sing, play your favorite music….. etc.
While these and many other options are great and do offer us some happy vibes, even if only temporarily, they are at best like putting a small band-aid on a large wound if ‘being unhappy’ is more a state of our mind rather than an infrequent feeling. And so we will often find that once the above solutions are over, we will return to our previous indifferent or sorrowful state.
How can I be happy when life is not working out for me?
“Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing, not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion but an optimal state of being.” – Matthieu Ricard
So, as with all problems in our lives, we need to first establish if we are in fact after a temporary solution or if we are a chronic sufferer and require solutions that will work on our ‘inner world’ of thoughts and beliefs to heal that will help to heal our psyche.
As I mentioned, if we are often unhappy, falling back on the temporary solutions that give a short-term pick-me-up will leave us feeling down again after the stimulation has worn off. To avoid this potential emotional roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, we actually need to change our relationship with OURSELVES.
The truth is that we can exist in a better mental and emotional state of being just by changing the way we are interacting with the world outside of us. And the first step is that we must accept responsibility for the way we feel. By doing so, we will ensure that we have control over our happiness and our lives.
And once we understand that we are responsible for how we feel, we will begin to make better choices knowing that we can gain in happiness NOW and also build up and hold onto our good vibes for the rest of our lives.
So now let’s explore some more awesome quotes to learn how we can help ourselves to become happier on the inside… because after all, this is where it really counts.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” – Albert Einstein
The world we live in today is far different from the world our parents grew up in. We have far more time-saving devices and gadgets available than at any other time in history. And yet, on average, we have less free time than ever before. We have washing machines, dishwashers, fast food delivery, cars to take us where we want to go, and all information available at the press of a button…..
A world of opportunities that exist for travel, leisure, and education, has really opened up for us like never before. So, more gadgets, toys, information, opportunities…. And were still not happy????? Maybe the problem isn’t with the stuff….. Just maybe…could we be the problem?????
So, if the way to becoming happy is not to be found in having more and doing more, what is the solution? I think Einstein expresses this eloquently when he suggests the pursuit of success (always reaching for more and better, and putting ourselves under pressure to succeed) is creating restlessness and dis-ease in our lives.
Often, in our modern world, the reason we are pursuing stuff is that we believe it is what we ‘should’ be doing. We are trying to keep up with others, or trying to meet the expectations of our partners, parents, etc. And if this is the case, we are giving away our happiness in the hopes that they will become happy with us! This is a no-win scenario.
“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
Doing stuff for reasons other than ‘we want to be doing it,’ is an absolute recipe for disaster, ill health, frustration, and disappointment. We need to realize that we are not them, and we have our own lives to live….
And unless we begin living our lives on our own terms, we will never achieve genuine and lasting happiness. So…….
– stop pursuing stuff that you are not interested in just to make others happy
– begin living your life in ways that make you happy, without regard to what others think
– spend your time on experiences that lead to personal growth rather than ‘the latest and best new phone’ (because there will just be another one in 6 months.)
– stop hanging out with people that don’t improve how you feel….. Ban the negative people from your life!
– and stop comparing your life to others….. You are unique, as are they. It doesn’t matter what you are doing or what you have- as long as you are happy….. MAKE YOUR HAPPINESS YOUR LIFES PRIORITY!
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” – Carl Jung
It’s important to realize that not every moment of our lives can be, nor should they be, happy. For example, it’s unreasonable to expect to be happy when our loved one passes away, we suffer an accident, or don’t get the promotion we wanted. These things are a dynamic and important part of life, and we cannot grow or develop our understanding of life without them.
Some adversity is necessary to remind us of how good we have it at the best of times. i.e: imagine eating your favorite food every day, and that it was the only thing you ate. Wouldn’t it soon lose its appeal? Wouldn’t you soon be wishing you could experience something different?
It’s the diversity and contrast that allows us to make comparisons between stuff and experiences. Therefore, a little sadness at times is necessary as it ensures we appreciate the experience of happiness so much more when we have it.
The lesson from Carl Jung’s quote is not to view emotions other than happiness as undesirable, but to accept them and even embrace them as they come along, because they are a natural consequence of being alive! Life is to be experienced in all its richness, diversity, and contrast so that we can truly understand what it is to be alive!
“Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
You cannot go somewhere or do something to make you happy…. Why? Because it’s not what we are doing or what we have that makes us happy…. It is the way we perceive and interrupt the ‘having and doing’ that will bring about a sensation of happiness within us, or not!
Think about it, because there is a big difference between these two scenarios.
1) If our happiness is dependent on stuff outside of us, i.e. like it has to be a sunny day today because I’m going to get a tan at the beach… then what happens if it rains????? Is our day ruined because things didn’t work out the way we had hoped?
2) Same situation… we want the sun to shine today so we can get a tan, and instead it rains. However, this time we understand that we are not in control of the weather, Mother Nature is, and she has her own plans and agendas. But we understand that life goes on regardless, and so we happily decide to change our plans to something more suitable for a rainy day- like going to see a movie with friends.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that there is no point getting upset over things that we can’t control! And while it would have been great to be happy enjoying the sun at the beach, it can be equally great or better to enjoy a movie with our friends.
The point here is that:
Our happiness is derived from the thoughts and feelings we have….. not from the stuff we do and own.
And if we can focus our attention on being happy regardless of the circumstances of our lives, we will live happy and fulfilling lives.
Having said that, it should be obvious that happiness is something we need to choose often…. It’s not something that once we feel it, we will have it with us forever. We need to make conscious choices every day to do things and think in ways that will make us feel good! And by doing this we get to enjoy more of life’s moments. And with that in mind, check out this next quote:
“We all get report cards in many different ways, but the real excitement of what you’re doing is in the doing of it. It’s not what you’re gonna get in the end…. and it’s not the final curtain…. it’s really in the doing it, and loving what you’re doing.” – Ralph Lauren
Wise people have always alluded to the fact that we can find satisfaction, joy, and even enlightenment, in the most mundane and simplest of tasks. How is that possible?
I’ll refer back to the previous quote again: “Happiness is a spiritual (inside of self) experience…” And this is so important to understand. Because once we have cultivated a consistent ‘happy state of being,’ (our personality is one that other people refer to as happy, upbeat, optimistic, etc.) we can be anywhere and do anything without our feelings being adversely affected by external events and circumstances.
In contrast to this, if we are relying on stuff in our ‘outer world’ to allow ourselves to be happy, we will suffer tremendously when these things are taken away from us, broken, or put down by others.
So, once we have discovered this ‘great secret’ to life, that happiness is an attitude we cultivate by choosing happy thoughts, we will be capable of being happy anytime and anywhere.
Can you imagine enjoying washing the car, doing your homework, being stuck in traffic, saying goodbye to a loved one….. because this is what it takes to become a happy person!
Happiness, as a state of being, is realizing that life is a series of events that happen, and understanding that not all of them are going to work out the way we wanted them to.
However, we can learn to make the best of any situation. And when we come away feeling that we have done our best to get the best possible outcomes for ourselves and all others concerned, we are winning in this game of life.
Anything other than trying to make the best out of all circumstances and events amounts to self-destructive madness…. And leads to unhappiness.
I offer three more awesome quotes that help make the point that: We are far more in control of our lives and our emotional wellbeing than most of us give ourselves credit for…..
“Staying positive does not mean everything will turn out okay. Rather, it means you will be okay no matter how things turn out.” – Unknown
“Life is a journey, and if you fall in love with the journey, you will be in love forever.” – Peter Hagerty
“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than growing with them.” – Bernard M. Baruch
I wish you well on your journey and suggest that you begin looking for more things to enjoy in your game of life, rather than wasting time feeling that life is not working out as well as it could be…… It’s important to realize that we can choose to see the endless beauty and opportunities that exist everywhere, or we can mope around feeling sorry for ourselves….
We’d love to hear about your choices in the comments below,
We wish you a happy day, today and every day,