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Happiness: Solution or Symptom?...

Thinking of happiness as a symptom of something may sound funny, but this is what many people believe.

Just like saying 'If I get in a car accident I will feel sad and may be in pain," many people attribute happiness to outside circumstances:
  • If I get into top shape I'll feel far happier and better about myself.
  • When I finally make the kind of money I want or deserve, then I'll be happy.
  • I'll be so much happier once I've left this relationship, or once so-and-so begins treating me better.

What is this but treating happiness as a symptom?

"If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time." ~ Edith Wharton

As a society, I fear we in the Western world have allowed happiness to become something elusive: we have been indoctrined into the belief that happiness is something outside of us - a difficult-to-achieve ideal, something that must be chased, captured or reached for unendingly.

Much of this phenomenon can be traced to advertising, and sadly, the personal development community. Even the American constitution refers to happiness as something to be pursued!
The Happiness Challenge

Sometimes we believe that we can either have abiding happiness OR all the material things we long for.
For instance, many people secretly fear that if they 'settle' into their current lives and just BE happy the way they are, then the message they are sending out to 'the Universe' is that they are content; they no longer wish to have anything more. This couldn't be further from the truth!

The opposite is really true, and once you can see this clearly perhaps you'll let your natural joy bubble to the surface.

Here is an example to illustrate the point:
Say we have a woman who is wallowing in loneliness, and longing for a man to 'complete' her life. She wishes someone would adore her, and feels that her dream man's love will make everything OK, and she will finally be happy.
In reality, anyone she attracts while in this state will be someone who is feeding off of her unhappiness and the relationship will not be a healthy nor a happy one.

Now, let's say a man appears who absolutely adores this woman from head to toe and thinks she is the cat's meow. Unfortunately, for whatever reason this is NOT the man she was hoping for, and thus none of this affection gets into her heart.
Now to the point: his adoration will not get into her heart unless and until she opens up and loves him back. You see, it's HER love and inner happiness she will feel if and when she does that...not his. There is nothing outside of her that allows her to feel this way. In fact, the man in question could be perceived as annoying and even kind of creepy if she doesn't feel the same way about him.

That feeling of adoration and love we think we get from others is really us letting our love out to shine. It's our own adoration and love we feel, and of course this can happen with anyone - your neighbor, an acquaintance or a beloved child who 'belongs' to someone else.

Every wonderful - or not-so-wonderful - feeling we have comes from within us, NEVER from outside. If instead our hypothetical woman decided to be happy no matter what came her way, she would shine like a beacon and many people would instinctively be attracted to her...she could then choose from that point of happiness and attraction and the results would be far more enjoyable and positive.

When it comes to improving finances or any other life situation we are dissatisfied with, being unhappy about it serves no purpose other than to perpetuate more of the same. While being aware of what we don't want helps us to define what we do, unhappiness is just misery, plain and simple.

"Happiness is a form of courage." ~ Holbrook Jackson

That's a wonderful quote, isn't it? Happiness really IS a form of courage these days, if only because it takes a soul willing to eschew the traditional pursuit of it in order to experience it. One needs to slow down, look inside and realize that all the elements for happiness have always been there, regardless of outside circumstances. You are alive, you are capable of love (even if there's no one around right now to shower it on, you've got your wonderful self!), you have a whole world of experiences and opportunities open to you, and every new moment brings new input and allows you a new choice. What's not to be happy about? What more fabulous adventure could you have signed up for, if you could have imagined such a thing (and I believe you did)?
Never want all your desires to manifest at one...for then what would you do?...

Some books you may enjoy:

Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnac: This book is a fabulous tool and follows Sarah's journey within as she explored the real meaning of abundance...it's not what she thought and it may not be what you think either! There is nothing ascetic nor sacrificial in Sarah's approach; rather she encourages us through example to define our own meaning of decadence and richness. Perfect for January as this book contains a whole new year of daily entries, but a great read any time!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: This lovely and insightful book has become a success classic partly because it transcends most personal development-type material by entering into deeply personal territory, and by looking at the very big picture of why we do what what we do and what meaning our lives ultimately have. An excellent read and a very important step in creating the future YOU choose.

Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff: A look at being truly happy from the inside, this book contains interviews with people who have already made this decision, and will leave you with new joy and the natural happiness you are meant to experience on a daily basis.


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