The Happiness Project: Things Happy People Don’t Subscribe To


Happiness is a term often toted and seldom experienced to its full capacity. There are many misconceptions surrounding the idea of happiness that have become embedded subconsciously to the point that believing otherwise is unfathomable. One of the biggest fallacies concerns marginalizing sadness and putting on a happy front to appear normal. This type of learned behavior is destructive, as the definition of normal is numerous and relative to each individual. Happiness is part of a much greater whole that involves its diametric opposites that include pain and suffering. All these negative emotions serve to strengthen us and contribute to our overall happiness just as much as happiness itself. The points below offer some common misconceptions surrounding the idea of happiness:

Happiness is outside of myself
You’ve heard it before: “when I am able to tick off my never-ending checklist of achievements, then things will be perfect.” Truth is, there is no such thing as perfect and there’s always room for improvement. Incessantly working towards accomplishments, purchases and possessions are all unremitting desires that will have you pedaling at top speed without knowing whether or not you’ll truly be happy once you get there.

The list of wants is a calculable limitation, but happiness is a fundamental need that is infinite. The time to be happy is now. Happiness is of course not abiding, but those moments of suffering and pain will make our auspicious days all the more enjoyable. Happiness is what happens the moment you begin to appreciate what you have and express gratitude daily. Seeing good perpetuates more of it.

Negative words, negative actions and negative thoughts
Have you ever met someone that radiates positive energy? It’s infectious and you can’t help but take notice. Instead of feeding into a vicious cycle of negativity, speak to yourself kindly, honor your being and approach others with the same love and you will be able to radiate the same disarming presence that attracts you to others. This will work to your advantage in times of adversity when your first inclination is to hate the person who has hurt you in some capacity. Trying to understand things from their perspective and not hurt them back is the beginning of forgiveness. While forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, it is the first step to letting go of animosity so that more love can be cultivated.

Avoid sadness and pain
Life is based on polarities. The greatest polarity in life perhaps comes from the merging of male and female in pro-creation. When it comes to feelings, emotional dissonance and assonance are very much like high pitched and low pitched strings that compose the most harmonic sounds. Disappointment, frustration and tension along with happier feelings create a whole that is much stronger than its individual parts. When things coexist, a natural organization pattern can unfold.

I can’t change my situation
“I am a product of xyz and can’t” is a myopic way of viewing things that hinders personal development. You are the sole director of the paths you elect to take and whatever you create will be the outcome of your thoughts, emotions, character, responsibility and beliefs. Keep trying until you get it just right, nothing comes without hard work and the payoff will be unrivaled. To say there’s no hope is to believe that your dreams are not worth it. It’s taking the path of least resistance and not confronting fear so that courage can take the reign. If you relinquish your needs for a safety net, you will never know what it’s like to fly.

The world is against me
This negative feedback loop occurs when you are perpetually occupied with other people’s perception of yourself and are mired by their expectations and judgments. External validation is the vampire of self love and worth. You can show up by loving others first. What comes of them may be reciprocal, but you cannot oblige them to show you affection in a specific way without expressing what you need.

If only
There is no “if only”, now is the time. Start now with what you have and make the strides no matter how small, the universe responds to action not inertia. Even affirmations are formulated on the present not the future. Time is elastic and you need to match it with the same by not being rigidly bound to the concept of the “right time.” Time is passing, it is moving forward, moving forth and you need to do the same.

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