What Makes You Happy?
Two men in the same room were asked, “What makes you happy?” The first man, who was a very successful businessman said; “I will only be happy when I never get frustrated with my kids and I have five of them; when I have 10% body fat and I’m at 11; when I make five million dollars a year and I make 4 million now; when I am in a position that I don’t have to travel so much but my business requires it.” By most standards, this man should be feeling totally happy. But he is miserable because nothing is ever good enough.
Another man was asked the same question: “What makes you happy?” This man lit up as if he was the life of the party. He answered, “I wake up, stand up, look down, and see that I’m above ground. Every day above ground is a great day!”
How you feel is based on your Rules of Happiness, not on reality or facts.
In order to have a healthy and happy quality of life it is essential to know what makes you happy and to specify ways in which to feel happy each day. It is crucial to have a base level of happiness in order to cope with and overcome the many stresses of life. If you don’t have a base level of happiness life can feel empty and cold.
So, what are YOUR rules of happiness? Are your rules of happiness based on safety and security or impulse and variety? Does happiness exist only when others approve of you and offer you praise? Do material items, your professional status, your financial worth and your public image determine how happy you are each day? Is your level of happiness based on appreciating the simple gifts in life that so many of us take for granted- waking up, breathing, walking, playing, laughing, enjoying nature, loving ourselves and others and giving selflessly to those in need?
To determine your level of happiness, answer this question: “What is life about?” Keep asking yourself until you find an answer that feels solid and truthful; based on what YOU KNOW to be true for you.
Some people, depending on their age and life experience, will say that the safety and security that wealth brings offers them a sense of satisfaction and wholeness. This sense of satisfaction is shallow, at best. We all know that having a lot of money can enable a person to do many things; bringing them a temporary feeling of joy through indulgence, but it sure doesn’t offer real love, caring, and a true sense of belonging.
Happiness does NOT live in the past; allowing prior experiences to define who you are in the present. You can always change your “story” and redefine yourself. Who you are, at any given moment, can only be determined by you!
Happiness is NOT based on the future; where worry and anxiety about “what could or couldn’t happen” drives your daily living.
Happiness is NOT how much money you make, the material possessions you have or what people think of you. It is not a temporary fix or your 15 minutes of fame.
Happiness lasts. It’s durable, measurable, doesn’t lose its colors, and it will not disappoint you. Happiness offers comfort, a sense of contentment and belonging, a feeling of satisfaction, an appreciation for the blessings you have, a realization that you are valuable just as you are no moreor less than any other being, an excitement in knowing that there will always be something new and unknown to experience, and a confidence that everything will turn out just fine even when all seems to be falling apart. Happiness knows that you have done right by yourself and others each day. Happiness never needs to brag. Happiness illuminates you from the inside.
In short, happiness the ability to sit back and enjoy the ride; appreciate the small stuff and be in the present. Everyone has a baseline of happiness. Some of us may have had to let go of happiness from childhood because our adulthood didn’t make room for it or we experienced a great loss or trauma. But, we all inherently can identify “happiness points”; the times in our lives when we just knew what happiness was.
Take time to identify what really makes you happy and commit toreconnect with your “happy”; a smile could be just around the corner for you!
To read more about Ms. Cohen’s work visit her website at: www.cohenfamilycounseling.com