Are You Happy?
People spend a lot of energy trying to be happy with fruitless results. There is a good reason why people continue to seek happiness throughout life and often feel that they don’t seem to be getting close to the goal.
Here are few ideas to think about. At the end of this post you will find a breakdown of ideas to implement into your thinking, your life. They make for excellent stepping stones into the your new world of fulfillment.
Happiness is not a goal type state of being.
Happiness is a life type state of being that can change its character and its meaning from one moment to the next.
“One moment to the next” could also be described as a path that we follow in life – the joy is in the journey not the static goal that we hold in the mind.
Trying to find happiness and being happy are two different approaches to actually finding happiness.
The truth is that nobody can tell you what Happiness looks like or feels like. It’s defined by your own needs and perspective on life.
What is Happiness, anyway?
Being a happy person is often an unconscious part of being. We don’t go around saying we are now happy and are sure life will continue to be like this.
You might say something like that on a beautiful sunny day as you sit with good friends in the park. Your mind relaxed and your thoughts far from the worries of working life. But that’s a moment in time that you are enjoying, and there will be many of those moments that help to define the sort of life you lead.
Abraham Maslow had some great Ideas about you
Maslow, the psychologist, developed an overview of a person’s ideal life. He suggested that happiness is the result of getting things right in life; through finding enjoyable work that brings enough money to provide security we reach a stage of life that allows us to breath out and think clearly about other things that attract us.
The basics of Life
When we have bread on the table and a roof over our heads we can begin to think about how to capitalise on our solid position to expand it into something beyond simply existing in order to find food and stay warm and secure. That’s where the next step comes in and we develop good relationships.
Some of those relationships turn into friendships that last a lifetime. Those relationships that are meaningful are based on trust and confidence in another human being.
Being able to relate to fellow human beings successfully. Expressing sincere emotions of trust and willingness to be supportive of others are good starting points for solidity in friendships.
Principles of Successful Living
Abraham Maslow’s principles of the successful progression of human life are not necessarily universal – that’s why psychologists argue a lot of the time – they are based around the types of societies that we live in and have built in what we call The Free-World. Democratic, free-trade/Enterprise societies that allow the individual to express personal wishes and strive for success according to their own needs and perspectives in life.
This is what makes our world so colourful and interesting.
Some people opt-out and go off the grid. These people cut themselves off from the resources that are needed to thrive. Maslow took it for granted that resources would be available to the people he was referring to in his theories.
People like you. You are surrounded by resources which can give you a leg-up towards happiness.
Each time you take a step and perceive it as a successful stride forwards in life, you probably stop and enjoy the feeling of success – the happiness of the moment.
Do you ask yourself how you achieved it, how you reached that moment in your life?
Do you bathe in the sunshine of the moment and enjoy it? I hope you do.
But, if we don’t learn from the moment and begin to understand what happy-moments really mean to us and how we achieved them we won’t be in the position to repeat them – we will probably carry on and simply hope that it happens again.
Understanding ourselves and our personal needs according to the environment we live in will give us many answers about what happiness means to us as individuals.
Too often, we live life on automatic-drive. That means that we allow the principles of conditioning to guide us through everyday life and through important events in our lives.
The mind is a powerful tool. It is prone to developing habits quickly. It does this to help us survive by creating scenarios of repetition in our lives.
We go to work and earn money and then take that money to a vendor and buy the food and objects that satisfy hunger and the need for diversion. It works in principle, so we repeat it, again and again throughout life. Many people live a whole life wrapped up in this repetition and never step beyond the basic idea of just surviving.
People satisfy their hunger only – in a society that allows us to thrive and prosper!
If we are prepared to overcome our fears, take up the shield and step into the fray of battle, we can create our own world and play the game of life at a higher level. And be happier.
Maslow’s theories take us beyond food and shelter. After the basics have been established and through the security of repetition of habit we know that we can repeatedly find food and security, we start to look for something else.
This is the point where a couple of other psychologists come in handy. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
Freud’s work showed us that we have an unconscious that influences our everyday lives. It does this without interference from ourselves. He called the different aspects of the unconscious “Drives”. The drive for security, the drive for love, shelter and self-realisation. Some of his work has been put aside as faulty, but don’t worry about that. He was only human and he made mistakes.
Psychology progresses all of the time and that means that we can always be learning new things about how to live better and how to be happier.
Carl Jung was convinced that we had an unconscious mind too. But he believed that there is a collective unconscious. For this reason he taught that symbols and metaphors have an enormous effect of on our lives. We can use those symbols and metaphors to understand ourselves and how we relate to the people around ourselves.
Maslow, again, tells us that at the point when we have established ourselves securely we will express desires for self-realisation.
To understand this moment in life and be able to work with it is a wonderful experience.
When you have finished studies, understood how to earn some money and put food on the table and therefore feel somewhat secure about yourself, you will experience new desires for greener fields. And that’s a healthy feeling that you should nurture.
It’s at this moment in life, a moment of maturity, that you can question your own motives, take stock of how you operate and begin to recognise a pattern of actions that have brought you to this successful point in life.
Know thyself is to study yourself and understand.
- Understand why you hanker for something else. It might be an abstract idea of a better life.
- Often, the first serious thoughts of self-realisation are vague ideas and are based on what you already know. But somehow, you know that it should develop into something more empowering than so far.
- Recognise the difference between conditioned ideas about how to live life and creative ideas about inventing and creating a new phase of life. Look for the scary ideas that require your creative energy.
- Developing beyond simple principles of survival means branching out and taking risks. Believing in your own ideas about your own life is essential to well-being and happiness.
- Taking risks means experimenting with yourself. Imagine you want to write a novel. How would you start? How often would you write? Do you have a strong instinct that tells you a lot about how to go about it?
- Often, people find they instinctively know what will work for them. You may have that feeling and it is important to listen to it and follow it – experiment and discover. Reiterate and find your way.
- Happiness is found in these moments of newness. Experimentation with ideas, believing in the hankering thoughts of being more than you have been.
- A vague idea can be batted around in the mind and will often morph into all sorts of other thoughts, but actions that are based on instinctual desires and drives can enlighten you to their connection to the vague idea.
- The mind needs action and thoughts to realise and manifest an idea.