Each of us has the capacity for genuine, undeniable, and abundant happiness. I’m talking about the kind of happiness where your heart threatens to burst from the confines of your chest, where your cheeks take strain from smiling so much, and where your belly aches from the laughter that emanates from your soul. Such moments of abundant happiness are what bring meaning to our lives and what make our days more manageable. As Aristotle said,
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
But what if those moments are few and far between? What if happiness seems like an elusive ideal and a fool’s paradise? Life, as messy as it is, can often be overwhelming. Sometimes it might feel like it is standing directly in the way of happiness, and there is nothing to be done about it. But that’s not true. Don’t be tricked into thinking you don’t have a horse in the happiness race just because your circumstances might look different than the guy next to you. You are the author of your own reality, so keep clinging (with all your might) to the hope that happiness is still within your reach. Because it is – but only if you believe it to be so and if you actively will it into your life. As Alexandre Dumas reminds us,
“Happiness is like those places in fairytales whose gates are guarded by dragons: We must fight in order to conquer it.”
Though there are many views on how to attain happiness, here are the 9 keys that I rely on to invite happiness into my life. I hope they will hold meaning for you as well:
H – Seek Harmony
A – Appreciate Your Blessings
P – Pursue Your Passion
P – Purge Your Life
I – Be Intentional
N – Live in the Now
E – Enjoy Life
S – Celebrate Self
S – Share Your Joy
As this post turned out to be rather lengthy, I’ve decided it best to split it up into two parts. This week, I’ll discuss the first four keys, which will then give you the opportunity to implement them before we move on to the others. Be sure to check back next week for a discussion of the final five keys to happiness!
Often when we are unhappy, it is because we have lost balance in our lives. We might feel like there are too many demands on our attention, or that things are spinning out of control. My (incredibly wise) Father likes to use the example of a juggler moving many balls through the air at once. As long as he is able to keep his attention on all of the balls equally, he will wow the audience. However, when his attention is focused excessively on one or two of the balls, he will likely lose track of the others, causing all of the balls to come crashing down.
Consider the “balls” that you are juggling in your life. You might have a “ball” for family, one for health and exercise, one for your career, one for your romantic partnership, one for your friends, one for your finances, one for leisure activities, etc. Which of these are overshadowing your life in a way that is robbing you of balance? What can you do about it?
I wrote about the powerful role of gratitude in building self-confidence in this earlier post . The same rules apply here. Sometimes when we are unhappy, we wear blinders that prevent us from seeing the big picture and the beauty of our lives. Instead, we become so focused on the things that are contributing to our unhappiness and frustration that we miss the plethora of people and things that we ought to be grateful for. Remember that happiness is not about having a perfect life. Instead, Ann Brashares stresses that “it’s about stringing together all the little things.” Make a point of taking stock of the little things that bring you moments of joy daily. Whether it is cuddle-time with your favorite furry friend, a deep, meaningful conversation with a loved one, or the best piece of pie you ever had, write it down in a gratitude journal. As you string these moments together, you’ll soon celebrate the happiness that is already present in your life. As Louisa May Alcott said, “The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes life lovely.”
Actively pursuing your passion brings an abundance of joy into your life. Instead of merely a means to an end, your work becomes an expression of who you are at your very core – something very rewarding and validating in itself. “The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does,” said J.M. Barrie. Though it takes courage to chase your fire, the rewards are immeasurable. As Aristotle said, “Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.” Pursue your passion. Liberate your best self. Be extraordinary!
“I’ve learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere,” said Andy Rooney. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes our unhappiness is caused by a stubborn refusal to let go of our emotional baggage. Katerina Stoykova Klemer warns us that “There is no beauty in sadness. No honor in suffering. No growth in fear. No relief in hate. It’s just a waste of perfectly good happiness.” So make a choice today to stop being a victim of bad relationships, painful memories, and unresolved feelings. Just let them go. They’re weighing you down, my friend. Together with Steve Maraboli, I urge you, “Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”
My friend, remember that “You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.” (Wayne W. Dyer). So, don’t delay. Start following these first four keys today to start inviting genuine, undeniable, and abundant happiness into your everyday life. Don’t forget to check back next week for a discussion of the final five keys to happiness!
Go and be happy, friends!
PS - If you’d like to receive updates of new posts on Chasing Your Fire (including the final five keys to happiness), please subscribe to my newsletter at the top of this page! We also have a Facebook page if you’d like to see posts and updates in your newsfeed.
Photo credit: roxinasz
Tagged with: abundant happiness • balance • burnout • growth • happiness • happiness life • harmony • laughter • life strategies • living a purposeful life • meaningful life • passion • self • self actualization • self exploration • well-being
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!