It really is possible for you to be happy.
Sometimes it can seem like you’re playing a game of hind-and-seek with happiness. Some days you might catch a fleeting glimpse of it, but it still eludes you. Yet happiness is something you can have – you just need to know how to find happiness in your life.
When you search the internet, you’ll find widely varying opinions about how to find happiness in your life.
When you look at quotes about finding happiness in life, you’ll often see a correlation between having meaning in life and happiness. Yet, not everyone who has a meaningful life is happy. There are people who dedicate their lives to someone or some purpose and are still miserable.
Some say it’s a choice and that you must will yourself to be happy.
Some say you can only find happiness through putting yourself first.
Some say happiness is an inside job.
Others say you can and should find happiness outside of yourself.
Some say you just fake it until you make it.
And some even say you can’t find happiness. You can only stop doing things that make you unhappy.
All these different opinions can definitely leave you confused, frustrated, but hopefully not ready to give up your search for happiness.
So, what does it take to find happiness?
Positive psychology suggests that living a meaningful life is a necessary ingredient of, but not the only one required to create a happy life. And I think this statement contains the key to understanding how to find happiness in your life.
Happiness is a personal experience.
It might require that you make a choice to be happy. It might require that you find and pursue your life’s purpose. It might mean that you’re hedonistic and put yourself first. It might be that you can only find happiness by going within and knowing yourself. It might be that you can only find true happiness when you’re interacting with someone or something outside of yourself. It might be that you can only find happiness by smiling more. And it might be that you can only find your happiness by ceasing to do those things that steal happiness away from you.
These are all possibilities because what makes you truly, deeply happy is unique to you in this moment. This also means that what makes you happy can change as you change.
I refuse to accept other people’s ideas of happiness for me. As if there’s a “one-size-fits-all” standard for happiness.
Remember when you were a kid and eating a piece or package of your favorite candy made you so incredibly happy? Does eating that candy still make you happy today? It might because it takes you back to the joys of your childhood. It might not because your tastes have changed and now you can’t stand that particular candy.
Finding happiness in your life isn’t about reaching a destination. Instead, it’s about the pursuit and how you interpret what you’re experiencing right now.
It turns out that how we label what we’re experiencing actually defines it. That doesn’t mean that if something is sad or makes you angry that you should say it actually makes you happy – unless you can shift your perspective enough to be happy.
For example, when people lose to death someone they love, they’ll often say something like, “I’m glad they’re not suffering anymore,” or “I know they’re in a better place now.” Sentiments like these can often help people shift their perspective not necessarily to happiness, but toward acceptance. And accepting what is is a great starting point for finding happiness.
That’s because happiness is found in the present. You may have memories of the past that bring you happiness when you recall them, but you’re still feeling the happiness now – in the present moment. The present is where you live your life. Once you fully accept the current circumstances of your experience, then you can begin to regularly find happiness in your life through all the myriad possible ways.
So how do you find happiness in your life?
By being present to what is and finding enjoyment in being alive through serving others, living your purpose, playing, willing yourself, nurturing yourself, smiling more, or even just noticing your breath.
The secret is you get to define and choose how you find happiness throughout every single day. And once you do, you’ll no longer feel like you’re playing hide-and-seek with it – unless doing so makes you happy.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. Ready to create more happiness in your life? Join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. Schedule a 30-minute private consultation for personal support.