I firmly believe that each one of us has the capacity for genuine, undeniable, and abundant happiness. While some think that such a belief is foolish, I disagree. I don’t think we really have a choice but to believe that true happiness is within our reach. The alternative is believing that we are destined to live unfulfilled, meaningless lives. I simply cannot and will not resign to that notion, and I hope you don’t either. Instead, let’s choose to believe with Aristotle that,
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
Yes! We are born to chase our fire(s) and to liberate and celebrate our best selves (read BE HAPPY)! When we live extraordinary lives, it’s near impossible not to radiate 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.
But what if those moments seem to be growing fewer and farther between? Life has this way of getting a bit distracting at times, and before you know it, you are caught up in the logistics of it all while forgetting to actually live it. (I like to call this “operating on autopilot.”) If this sounds at all familiar, please STOP. Right now.
The truth is that you are the author of your own reality, and only you can choose to write happiness into your story.
A good place to start inviting happiness into your life is by implementing the 9 keys below. Last week I discussed the first four of these keys (I encourage you to read more about them here if you haven’t yet), and this week I will conclude with a discussion of the final five keys:
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
I hope that the keys will hold meaning for you and that they will bring you change even in the toughest of circumstance. I urge you not to just read them, but to also implement to start inviting happiness in:
I’m of the opinion that in reality, this whole happiness business is quite simple. It boils down to just one question: Are you happy? If the answer is yes, then great! Keep doing what you are doing. If it is no, change something. Abraham Lincoln believed that “People are just as happy as they make their minds up to be.” The Dalai Lama XIV agrees, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” So don’t wait until tomorrow, or the next month, or New Year’s Eve. Be intentional. Commit to living a life that brings you happiness and change something today to bring you closer to that ideal. As William James said, “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”
Though it is good to set goals and to anticipate future happiness, James Oppenheim reminds us that “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.” Make sure that you practice mindfulness in the midst of the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. Stop your world for a few minutes. Go sit under a tree somewhere and be still. Feel the sun on your skin and the grass between your toes. Listen to the sounds around you. Clear your mind. Just live in the now and celebrate the beauty of the moment. You will find happiness there. “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it,” says Thich Nhat Hanh wisely.
FoxBusiness recently reported that 57% of American employees don’t make proper use of their vacation days, leaving an average of 11 days unused each year. What happened to work hard, play hard? Audrey Hepburn reminds us that “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” Though financial security is often an important part of personal freedom and happiness, guard against devoting yourself so much to your work that you have no time for pleasure. To prevent burnout, it is critical that you separate yourself from your work occasionally. Ask yourself, “Have I taken enough vacation time this year?” Then take a well-deserved vacation where the only thing on your to-do list is to enjoy the moment. If a vacation is not possible, take a mini vacation during the week by making time for a round of golf, a zumba class, or something else that brings you joy. “Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure, ” reminds Arthur Schopenhauer.
One of the major obstacles to happiness is a lack of self-acceptance and self-confidence. Happiness lives inside you only if you let it. Work to explore the many qualities and characteristics that make you unique, and celebrate them. “Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness,” stresses Ayn Rand. In addition, according to Mahatma Gandhi, happiness will only ensue when ”what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” To attract abundant happiness, you must therefore work to think positive thoughts and say positive things about yourself and others, while also behaving in positive ways.
Regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation, the desire for happiness unites us all. Do what you can to bring joy to the lives of those around you, because “happiness [is] only real when shared” (Jon Krakauer). Whether it is a quick phone call to a friend in need, sharing your gifts with your community, or simply writing a thank you note, you have more influence than you realize. Love abundantly, because, as Robert A. Heinlein believes, ”the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
The pursuit of happiness is so important that our forefathers deemed it an inalienable right. In their wisdom they understood that there is nothing more capable of propelling us forward than the hope for a brighter future. As you follow these 9 keys, I hope that you will remember that “No-one can grant you happiness. Happiness is a choice we all have the power to make.” (Dean Koontz) In this moment and the ones to follow, I hope that you will choose to be happy.
May this day bring you much joy, friends!
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Photo credit: jvangalen
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
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