When I ask my health coaching clients what makes them the happiest in their lives right now, it's always something different. Happiness means something completely different to each and every one of us because it's a subjective emotion.
Some people chase happiness as if it's an elusive object to attain. They purchase crap they don't really need, begin abusing addictive substances, or fall into toxic relationships. Some folks claim to own stock in happiness and try to suck you into their world as an investor. Meanwhile, others simply just try to control your happiness because they don't have any of their own.
But happiness is simpler than all the tricks and gimmicks that promise it; so simple, in fact that it can be easy to forget what exactly happiness is. So here are my nine forgotten truths about happiness, which are important for everyone to remember before they go chasing it:
1. Happiness is a renewable resource.
It doesn't take much to recharge our happiness batteries. We can make an effort toward building more joy by playing with our pets, hanging out with kids, watching something funny, or even getting a good night's sleep. Happy energy also comes in the form of forgiveness and gratitude.
The happiest people are also easily inspired by the work of others. We never compare or judge another individual out of jealousy. The inspiration we find in others can create happy energy within us, too.
2. Happiness is meant to be shared, and it's contagious.
We don't hide our happiness away from others out of shame, guilt or the need to fit in. We know that sharing a good laugh or celebrating a life success with a strong support system is happiness, and it DOES rub off on others. We exhibit generosity in the actions we take because we know there is more than enough to go around and we are content to share and be givers.
3. Happiness is much easier when we're healthy.
Because happiness is a choice we make, when we are emotionally and physically healthy and at peace, we achieve a state of happiness more readily. Self-love through compassionate actions such as meditation, journaling, prayer, affirmation, eating healthfully, and physical fitness all help promoted happier individual.
4. Happiness is always changing.
Happiness can look like the thrill of a new romance one day, and the freeing experience of letting go of a troubled partner the next. What we're happy about always transforms itself into something different, and we embrace the fact that nothing is static and forever. Happiness is always flowing in and out in different forms.
5. Happiness is curiosity.
We're risk takers who are curious and ready for change. We embrace new opportunities — often with the inquisitiveness of a young child. We love learning and meeting new people. We know that the world is full of charm and wonder. We don't seek out perfection in anything — we embrace diversity instead. We find great delight in all of life's little treasures and surprises.
6. Happiness is feeling confident, yet humble.
The happiest people test the boundaries of their comfort zone. We step out into the unknown with confidence and humility. Confidence pushes us through unknown territory, and humility carries us when we've stepped a little too far. Even if life has been full of difficulties, we don't use that as an excuse to feel like a victim. We have the resiliency to bounce back from every challenge.
7. Happiness is the pleasure we get from a good experience.
We do what we love and experience true presence while doing it. We never place conditions on our happiness. We continue to create pleasure in our lives by taking actions that make us feel really good and create a sense of flow right now. We take satisfaction in doing those things that bring us an abundant, yet profound bond to our own lives.
8. Happiness doesn't always feel like excitement, it can feel like contentment too.
Because the average person has more than 50,000 thoughts a day that control her emotions, happiness is not always on the "exciting and fresh" level. Sometimes, happiness is just accepting what's happening right now and being OK with it. There is serenity in giving up the need to control outcomes and appreciating that something bigger and better is on its way.
9. Happiness doesn't come from following a set of rules.
Rule-breakers are often the happiest people alive. We don't take action because we feel obligated to conform to some concept of perfection or societal expectations. We see the "shoulds" and "oughts" of life and say, "yeah, maybe." We trust our own inner guidance to find meaning over the rules and release any guilt about not living up to someone else's expectations. We know that the "rules" are a guide — not the song. This frame of mind helps us to fulfill our greatest desires. There's no authority holding us back from achieving our wildest dreams.
What is happiness to you?