Everyone wants to find happiness. That is such an obvious thing, and something that nobody can argue with—and yet it can be a real challenge to actually make sure that you find happiness in your life. Why is that? One reason could be that most of us are at least a little confused about where happiness actually comes from and what we can explicitly do to make it a bigger part of our lives.
So how to actually find happiness in life?
Let’s dig deeper and see if we can arrive at a point where we have a stronger sense of how to find happiness.
But first . . .
What is Happiness?
Before we can hope to really get it, we need to know what it is first. In spite of knowing this, many people go through their entire lives without once considering whether they know what happiness really means. If you don’t know that, how can you expect to actually get it for yourself?
Most people would probably define happiness as feeling content with one’s lot and as though nothing is missing. My aunt would totally agree with this – I’ve had so many arguments with her on this topic. She firmly believes that we should embrace the way life is, the situation we are in and carry on regardless. Sure, for some people but true happiness is probably something slightly different to this, wouldn’t you agree? Also, each person has their own idea of what happiness is.
We could say that true happiness relies not upon what you have in your life, but is more about how we engage with and approach life in general. We can call ourselves truly happy if we are happy without a specific reason – when we are able to be cheerful even when we lose all of our possessions and our relationships start to crumble.
This implies that happiness is something that comes from within, and once we have developed that strongly, nobody and nothing can do anything to get rid of it. I would like to believe that when we want to find happiness, this is the kind we must pursue and build within ourselves.
What about our expectations?
Because we each have our own expectations of happiness, we need to investigate and interrogate these to ensure that they are actually realistic. If they are not, then it is likely that they are getting in our way in our pursuit of happiness, even if they are doing so subtly.
So, if you are not yet sure of your own expectations, it is a good idea to spend some time meditating on that until it becomes clear to you. At that point, you will be in a much more powerful position to try and find happiness for yourself.
In general, our expectations arise from our past, our culture and conditioning, our parenting and so forth. But once we shine a light on them, we can alter them to something more realistic. This is one of the most important aspects of developing and finding our own happiness, so it’s something that we must think about in some detail.
When we work on those expectations, we are likelier to find happiness more easily. Once that happens, we can focus our effort into actually doing things that will make a difference to how we feel and how much we enjoy life. So think about what would make you happier.
Pursue Your Dreams
We need a reason to live, a purpose in life. That means having some kind of dream that we’re happy to pursue. This can be anything that we feel might be fulfilling, but the important thing is to work on getting closer to it every single day. As long as we are doing that, we are going to find that we have that fire, that internal persistence, which allows us to feel content with our lives. It really does make a powerful difference to how happy we are!
If you are struggling over what to do with your life, don’t worry. You are not alone. Many people are stuck in this place. The idea will come in time and it might just be that yours will come a little later than sooner. For now, just try gently to find that idea, and in the meantime enjoy life for what it is. Pursuing your dreams is important and valuable if you want to find happiness, but so is pursuing your pastimes, which is my next point, and an important one.
What Are Your Hobbies?
Don’t write off your pastimes as inconsequential hobbies that don’t really make a difference in life. I can personally endorse that they might very well turn out to be how we spend our lives, and at the end of it we want to be able to say that we did the things we wanted to do, and that we enjoyed doing them.
I quit my corporate career at 33 to focus on family, and when I was ready to go to work again, the job market had completely changed. I made a radical decision then to work from home as a freelancer. That’s where my hobbies came to my rescue. I always wanted to write and I looked for writing work. I am glad I did because I am now doing what I love and loving what I do.
Our hobbies are important and it is worthwhile to think about whether you are currently pursuing any of value that are helping you to find happiness. If you are not, then this could be one of the major things that you might consider changing.
If you don’t really have a pastime, perhaps it is time to explore the choices—which are literally unlimited. Maybe you are really into sports like the NHL, or maybe you love solo pastimes like fishing and hunting. Or it could be that you just love to read and write. Maybe you have a particular craft that you are adept at, or an art that you love to practice. Maybe you play music. Whatever it is, consider this your opportunity to put all of your love into that thing, and in the process feel much more engaged with life. You’ll be amazed how much this can really help you to enjoy the life you have.
Develop Meaningful Connections
Relationships matter in life. Often, they are the glue that hold us together. One of the quickest ways to be unhappy is to feel alienated from the people around you. When this happens, you feel lonely and out of place. This is why we must develop meaningful connections in life. There are many ways to do this. Of course, you can’t force it, but you can definitely make it happen by being yourself, expressing yourself directly and clearly, and asking people about themselves.
Over time, many of these connections will deepen and become more and more important to you, and you will find that having them really adds to color and vibrancy to your life. Without this kind of connection, life would be empty, and it will be much harder to find happiness.
The important thing to bear in mind is that having one or two meaningful connections is probably better than a thousand friends you don’t know that well.
Being and Not Doing
All of that being said, it is important to allow yourself to take time to relax and not spend all your time seeking out happiness desperately. It is vital to simply be who you are in the moment, and making sure you are happy with that. This is something that a lot of people struggle to appreciate, but it is necessary, and it ensures that you are not simply looking for the next dopamine hit the whole time. When we spend most of our time just being and not always doing, we will find happiness much more swiftly.
When we identify our expectations, pursue our dreams and hobbies and develop strong relationships and also remember to be in the moment, we can be much happier and enjoy the things and experiences we come across.
What are your thoughts about finding happiness?
Happiness is a choice we make. You can wake up and say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe it’s so cold,’ or you can say, ‘Oh, wow, this is a great opportunity for me to try out my new sweater.’ No one can be consistently positive, but why not make the choice that makes you feel better, rather than the one that drags you down?