Happiness is what we all strive for. But we can’t look for it outside of ourselves. If we hitch our happiness wagon to someone else’s star, disappointment is imminent.
As self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie once said, “Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.”
The good news is that is something we have control over. Do we feel grateful for what we have? Passionate about what we’re doing? Hopeful about the future? If not, what action can we personally take to make those feelings a reality? As William Arthur Ward once said, “Happiness is an inside job.”
Author Eckhart Tolle talked about separating who you are from your thoughts about who you are. We all have stories in our head about what our childhood was like and what we are good at and what we deserve. They are not necessarily facts. They are descriptions that may or may not be accurate. We might say to ourselves, “She didn’t like me because she said this or didn’t say that.” In actuality, that person might have been having a daily struggle and you weren’t even on their radar. It had nothing to do with you. But our thoughts can create a forest fire out of one match. Burning up any hopes of happiness.
Instead of letting these loose thoughts run rampant in our mind, we can focus on what is right in front of us. Our loved ones. The birds in the trees. The sun on our face. Our favourite lunch. An interesting conversation.
This is the key to happiness. When we own our journey and don’t listen to the stories in our head that tell us all the reasons things are going wrong we can focus on all the things that are going right. And who wouldn’t be happy about that?