“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
We are all beautiful human beings here in this world trying to find our way. Every day we seek to better understand the meaning of our lives. We long to discover our gifts and release them fully into the world, and we hope to find happiness and peace along the way. For some of us the key to these desires rings loud and clear, driving what we do and how we do it. For others, these deep seeded needs are buried below the noise of daily life, below ego, below fear, below the pressures and norms that we face in society… and thus, they are rarely addressed.
Along my own journey of self-actualization, I’ve witnessed dozens of great people discover their own paths to happiness and self-fulfillment, and I’ve noticed many common themes emerge. In all cases, the happiness they discover and gradually develop internally is seeded by the realization of certain fundamental truths.
It seems we are all here to realize these truths, in our own way, in our own time. And once they resonate fully, not just intellectually, but emotionally and spiritually, we are then able to find the happiness and peace we seek…
1. It’s impossible for anyone else to define YOU.
You are indefinable. You are the only one in this world who gets to say who you are. Circumstances and the opinions of others can only define you if you allow them to. Do not give away your power and the magic of your essence by putting weight on negative situations in your life or the negative words of other people.
2. You were born with everything you need.
There is nothing you are missing. There is no need to frantically become more, be more, do more, or get more. You are whole and complete, and were gifted every talent and insight you needed to thrive in this world in the moment you were born. Your only job is to accept this truth and then allow it to unfold. Some gifts don’t become apparent until later in life. Some insights only become clear to you once you have life experiences that unlock such wisdom from within you. Trust in this and relax.
3. Perfection is a man-made illusion.
We are beautifully imperfect beings, operating in a very imperfect world, and that is just the way it is meant to be. Striving for perfection is a hollow goal, one that can never be achieved. Society shows us doctored images of perfection constantly in marketing, media, opinions and expectations. Do not buy into this illusion; it will only lead you into darkness. Embrace your quirks, your flaws and the fact that life is a roller coaster at times. Strive for excellence, have high standards… but never confuse that with the crippling behavior of perfectionism.
4. You are NOT your thoughts.
You are the witnessing essence and consciousness behind the noise in your mind. Your mind doesn’t define you, nor does it control you. It is not who you are. As soon as you recognize this, by watching your thoughts like an intrigued third-party observer, you will create instant distance from those thoughts and therefore no longer be identified with or enslaved by them. (Read The Power of Now.)
5. Your beliefs can be modified to lift you up.
Whatever you believe to be true about yourself and life in the long-term becomes your reality. Your beliefs are ingrained patterns of thinking that you build up over a lifetime. They are habitual ways of processing the world around you. If those beliefs don’t work in your favor, you can change them. How? In the very same way the negative beliefs formed in the first place – via repetitive thoughts that you accepted to be the truth. Ingrain new beliefs by consciously choosing and repeating messages that lift you up.
6. The past and future don’t exist.
Now is the moment. The past is just a memory. The future is a mental projection. You can choose to dwell back in the past for learning and joyous reflection. You can choose to dwell in the future for visualization and practical planning. However, any time your awareness floats away to the past or future frequently for negative purposes, you are suffocating your ability to thrive in the only moment you ever have… the now. Past and future literally do not exist right now – feel the freedom in this truth. (Read The Untethered Soul.)
7. Your calling in life is to fully express who you already are.
The world will never see another human being like you. There is no one on the face of the planet that has what you have. Your uniqueness, in every respect, is your gift. Life asks one thing of you… to be the full expression of yourself so that you can leave your unique imprint on all those you encounter and upon the world. Never underestimate the power of your energy and how it ripples outwards to affect everything and everyone around you – IF you are being your full, authentic self. Honor your intuition and act upon all your inspirations.
8. Challenges are gifts for your growth.
Without challenges you cannot unlock your full potential. Obstacles are opportunities for growth. The world needs the fullness of who you are, and it is through your experiences in life that you unfold into that fullness. How can you demonstrate willpower and strength if your resolve has never been tested? How can you role model love and compassion if you have never faced the opposite? Knowing there is a higher purpose within dark times, is what leads you to be at peace in the midst of those storms, knowing that you are a diamond being forged under pressure.
9. Forgiveness is choosing happiness over hurt.
We do not forgive others in order to free them of the situation, burden, guilt or regret. We forgive others to free ourselves and walk into compassion and love by doing so. It is in freeing ourselves that our energy level rises, our consciousness rises, and in doing so those around us benefit too. The words of forgiveness have a positive impact on those we forgive, but ultimately forgiveness is a choice that allows us to be happy again. This goes for both forgiveness of others and forgiveness of self.
10. Surrender is the essence of a happy life.
Letting go is not giving up. Letting go is surrendering any obsessive attachment to particular people, outcomes and situations. Surrender means showing up every day in your life with the intention to be your best self, and to do the best you know how, without expecting life to go a certain way. Have goals, have dreams, aspire and take purposeful action, but detach from what life must look like.
The energy of someone aspiring to create their dreams, teamed with surrender, is far more powerful and creative than someone determined to create outcomes with a desperate ‘must have’ mentality. Surrender brings inner peace and joy, and lest we forget that our outer lives are a reflection of our inner state of being. (Read 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
The floor is yours…
What would you add to this post? What’s one realization or truth you’ve learned that has helped you find more happiness in life? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by: Frank Wuestefeld
Somebody commented that the more they tried “letting go” the more they became entrenched. (I’m paraphrasing) They were unsure how to let go. How do we let go of something? We embrace it. We experience it and all of it’s negative or positive connotations. We hold it, feel it, look at it, we smell it, taste it, roll in it. We have it, we own it, we own UP TO IT, this means righting our wrongs if need be, by letting any affected express their feelings about it to us, even when that is uncomfortable. We make it ours. We acknowledge that it is so and make peace with that truth. We forgive ourselves and/or others. We ask for forgiveness. We then remind ourselves, although this is, now it was. It is no longer what I choose. This process of “rolling in it” breaks down the resistance barriers that prevent us from letting go.
This is a great article. After reading, I instantly felt relieved of some of my stresses and inspired to be happy.
A friend of mine posted an article, written by Robert Holden, called ‘destination Addiction,’ a preoccupation that happiness lies elsewhere.
Not sure, but felt like a (good) was arrow was directed at me. Lol.
My friend and husband, off and on, of 30 years, was diagnosed with many lung issues relating to smoking and still smokes. Another addiction.
We decided to move to his small hometown, across the country, so I could be nearer our daughter, and he said closer to his family. He left first, leaving me to handle all arrangements of move, including packing. My beloved little dog became sick and as traumatic as that was, I decided to keep that to myself, handling that as well, until I got there.
He changed and I am sure he didn’t really want me to go. He was snapping, mocking me, and I felt completely alone. I wiped the chalkboard clean in my mind. Cleaned and sold all that I had bought and brought, over the years, and drove back alone, across the country.
Found a job, bachelor apt, my daughter moved back and her life has been dramatically improving, (as she says, ‘Mom, put it out there’). 🙂
My Friend posted article, then my search for your article, will aid in my quest for forgiveness and happiness.
I am visiting my ageing parents more, (forgiving some issues), giving my child her space, and hubby coming out for a two week visit. He can make me laugh, but it’s never lasting, so forgiveness is on my mind.
Perhaps simply more of a tautology: “You cannot give what you do not have.” I use it as a reminder that in order to give love, compassion, time or anything else that I must first practice creating that within me before I can provide it to someone else.
At the center of our life is our soul and you will never be happy without doing some true soul searching and being in touch with that driving force. If you don’t really know yourself how can you give yourself the things that will make it function at its best in this chaotic world. In the quite of moment listen to the needs of your heart and soul and pray for guidance. You have to be patient with yourself as well as other, good things can take a lot of time. I will be worth the effort and wait in the end.
Great Writing Indeed!! It might have helped so many people overcoming tough times in their lives and directed them on the path of peace and happiness 🙂
Elena Carata says
When you realize your own splendor is when the world will see it and its when you will be able to truly realize the beauty of whole. Exchange the need of judgment for appreciation that is the secret. Love, respect and accept yourself just the way you are 🙂
Love and light, Elena
Made my day, thank you.
Scott Strait says
One of the most important things i have learned on my short journey of self discovery is to find happiness in yourself and not in other people or other things. For the longest time i depended on my relationship, my work, my home, my friends etc to make me feel happy when all along i can be happy on my own and for my own reasons.
I clicked here fairly randomly, via a little game I play with my wife and Google at bedtime (not so weird, we learn and laugh lots), but glad I did.
When I asked for a question for Google she said, “how do I find happiness”… and chose this link above the others shown. An interesting choice I thought.
I then proceeded to read this post aloud to her as she drifted off to sleep in a low, calm voice – she looks peaceful now – and I’m enjoying reflecting on these truths for me.
Far from being insipid and too self-helpy, I found these passages clearly thought out and resonated with them with an eerie familiarity. There’s something quite reaffirming when you read out such words as these, like you’re comforting yourself, voicing deep understandings that you’ve known about yourself all along but have forgotten somehow. The spoken words make it more real and I recommend you all to try it, just before bed as we’ve done tonight.
I wonder whereabouts my wife is now in her descent to deep sleep; hopefully enjoying an epiphany or two. May they stay with her when her conscious ‘now’ starts again in the morning.
Goodnight good people.
That’s a really lovely image – what a great couple you must be!
Struggling with divorce and finding happiness. Enjoyed reading your article on happiness. Many things in my life have gone well for me since my divorce, but I still feel empty because there is not that special person to share the good things with. I love my kids greatly, but they did not visit their mom on mother’s day. Felt like I had failed, I was missing doing something special for my ex, like I had encouraged my kids to do in the past.
I believe not having attachments to people and things and having no expectations of people or things has helped me.
7. Your calling in life is to fully express who you already are.
I have done some really amazing things in life…..and one mistake.
4 weeks age my body was totally num. No life..no joy in doing thinge I really enjoyed. Not sure why…doctors say I must be depressed…came out of nowhere. Later started thinking why this happened and the one thing that keeps coming up is the divorce and seeing my son growing up alone. But he is now 16 and being divorced for over 10. Could that be the reason for my depression?
The comment #7 really applies to me ..all my life I was looking for a purpose…now I realize my purpose is just to be me…
Pretty awesome piece of writing!!!
Awesome post! Thanks for the inspiration and thanks for the uplifting words. I’m glad I stumbled across your blog.
There are some people that always struggle more than others. I personally have been through difficult times for many years. I have tried to read all sorts of articles and books on how to overcome depression, they do work most of the times but I get depressed again when I confront difficult situations. For a very long time I have been trying to find my purpose in life, and can only ask God to help me to find it or to help me to see it. I tell myself everyday that I have to be happy, that I should feel happy, but I just can’t feel happy sometimes. For all those people out that are dealing with depression, don’t give up. I am pretty sure we all would find the peace and the happiness we are looking for!! Blessings to you all!!
One of the first of many steps you have to take is making peace with the negative and definitely positive things in your own personal life. Without inner peace you will never cross that bridge to happiness or what i call happiness “self fulfilment”.