Allowed to be Happy
I was talking with one of my friends recently, and she reflected on her current situation. Like many folks out there, she's striving to buy a house. In Australia right now, that's a particularly challenging thing to do in any sensible kind of way, for any sensible kind of price!
During the conversation, my friend made an interesting statement which raised my curiosity and led to the need to ask a question. She (let’s call her Kate) mentioned that she’d spent a lot of time on weekends and after-hours looking for houses, sourcing houses, and driving around visiting homes. ‘Kate is convinced that when she and her partner finally buy a house, she’ll be content and able to rest, relax, and be happy in that space.
My curiosity was piqued around why buying that house was the element that allowed her to be happy. Or even to go a little further, why she wasn’t choosing to be happy now – whether she’d bought the house or not.
This goes to the heart of a question for me, around happiness being a choice and something we always have the right to, each of us.
“A state of well-being and contentment: JOY”
“A pleasurable or satisfying experience”
In his bestselling book, Solve for Happy, Mo Gawdat, Chief Business Officer, Google (X) says, “All of life is here and now. So why do most of us live there and then instead?”
So often, we anchor our happiness against events or moments of achievement.
I’m going to be happy once I pass this exam
I’m going to be happy when I find the person of my dreams
I’m going to be happy when I buy that house
I’m going to be happy once I can close this deal
And while I understand that these events are significant and important to us, and may add an extra level of contentment to our lives, I also would argue that they aren’t the things that will determine whether we are happy or not.
What DOES determine whether or not we are happy is a choice we make around that.
Now, I can hear you say, “Yeah, that’s really lovely, Andrew, and a very simplistic way of thinking through things. My life’s pretty full, pretty complicated, and pretty complex. And it ‘isn’t so easy just to choose to be happy.”
I get that. I certainly have a life that can be very full and complex at times – enough to make me want to take a wee nap every now and then!
But with that in mind, I still believe it’s a choice for me to have happiness in my world, regardless of what might be raging around me. And the same goes for you.
You are the single biggest influence on your happiness.
So as you think about the happiness elements of your world and the achievements you’re aiming for, I’d offer to think about a timeless model that we often get back to front.
Through my coaching conversations, many people have framed their thoughts in this way: If I just had a million dollars, a house, whatever, I could then give to charity, give time, etcetera, and be the person that I want to be. HAVE – DO – BE\
Many years ago, I had the wisdom explained to me, and I found it quite profound – that this is all a bit back to front. Our mindset of “I need to have something to do something with, so I can be happy” is quite problematic, possibly even wrong.
Try turning that on its head and asking the question a little differently:
If I choose to be happy,
I am happy in what I do and who I am
and I will have whatever it is that I need
And funnily enough, the thing that initially seemed really important to have somehow seems a little (or a lot) less important. BE – DO – HAVE
Because when I’m being and doing, the having and the wanting diminish substantially. Because when you’re choosing to be happy, you’re also choosing to do the things that make you happy, and the having things and needing things to help enable that, become less significant.
So, what do we do with this?
How are you currently thinking about your frame of what it requires for you to be happy?
Are you an activity-based person who needs activity to be happy, an item-based person who needs something to be happy, or people-oriented and you need someone to be happy?
Or are you a person who chooses happiness just because you choose happiness?
Life is far simpler when we come from a place of learning how to be happy- —choosing it each day.
Some fantastic books talk about happiness and how to truly understand what it means to be happy rather than the delusional trap that many define happiness as. Stick the words happy or happiness into Booktopia and find one that works for you. Then read or listen to it. Practice what it teaches, even a little.
I suggest that amongst whatever you are currently striving for, make happiness one of the things you aim to do and to be.
You might find that the haves and the wants diminish significantly, allowing you to be much more full, complete, on purpose, and aligned to who you are and how you best serve yourself and others.
I wish you every happiness on this journey called life.
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