What’s Your Definition of Happiness?
What’s Your Definition of Happiness?
Ask most people what they want in life and a good majority of them will respond with ‘happy’. If I asked you to choose one thing you wanted for your loved ones, you’d most likely say ‘for them to be happy’. Simple right?! So why is it so damn hard to be happy?! What I discovered was that we often don’t actually know what our definition of happiness is!
A life changing conversation
A friend asked me, what you would image to be, a couple of straightforward questions;
- what does happiness look like for you?
- how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
These questions stopped me in my tracks! The rest of the conversation went something like this:
Me – erm, well you know, a nice house, free time, the ability travel, enough money to be comfortable and do what I want to do, friends, family, a nice car.
Friend – don’t you have that already?
Me – erm…well, yes!
Friend – so what do you really want?
Time for some pondering…
I spent a lot of time thinking about these questions; what exactly did happiness look like? How would I know when I’d achieved it? What was I really wishing for?
It was then that I thought ‘how the bloody hell can I expect to find happiness when I don’t know what it looks like?!’. It’s like going on a blind date knowing nothing about the person you’re meeting – they could be standing right in front of you and you wouldn’t even know it!
Not only did I need to be more specific, I needed a whole shift in focus. I figured that the reason I didn’t know what happiness looked like was because I’d been so busy thinking about what I didn’t want rather than what I did.
It was also at this point that I fully appreciated that happiness came from within but that’s all I’m going to say on that as I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me talk about self-worth after the self-worth, fear and self-sabotage series!
So what is happiness and why is it so hard to achieve?
I discovered that happiness is about leading a fulfilled life and by this I mean feeling content and satisfied that all our needs are met. And because everyone’s needs are different, happiness will be different for everyone.
The reason that it seems so hard to achieve is because not many of us know what our needs are and how we expect them to be met! And hence why we don’t know what we really want!
Even if we do have a pretty good idea of what we want, we’re often trying to achieve ‘perfect’ happiness although deep down we know that perfection doesn’t exist! By aiming for something which is ultimately unachievable we’re always going to feel disappointed.
So what do we do?
It makes sense that in order to figure out what we really want, we have to ask:
- what are my needs?
- what would make me feel fulfilled?
- what would I do if there were no limits, no restrictions around money or my abilities?
Once we have the answers to these questions it’s all about making small changes in order to bring more joy and pleasure into our lives in small ways, on a daily basis.
Take walks, play sports, see friends and family, leave work earlier, whatever it may be, do a little bit of it each day, even if it’s only 5-10 minutes. When you start to feel a little more happiness every day and see the benefits you will be more motivated to keep making small changes until before you know it you’ve made a huge shift!
What should you take away from this?
Many of us are searching for ‘happiness’ as a label, but we don’t actually know what it looks like or how we will know when we’ve achieved it. Many of us therefore don’t realise that we are already surrounded by many of the things we’re searching for.
So ask yourself the same questions I did and discover what happiness really looks like for you. Remember to be specific! What does it look/feel/smell like?! And what will it mean to you once you’ve achieved it.
This will give you focus, you will get to know yourself better and therefore achieve your goals quicker. What small changes can you make on a daily basis to meet your needs? You will need to embrace change because we can’t achieve anything new by not doing anything different!
I would love to hear your definitions of happiness, please share them in the comments below! I’m more than happy to help or discuss!
And I will leave you with this beautiful quote –
‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony’ – Gandhi
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