Once upon a time happiness was all this little redhead ever wanted. It just always seemed so…well…unobtainable.
Have you ever found yourself saying this;
I just want to be happy.
Why can’t I be happy?
I did many times.
Because I was far from being happy. I was the complete opposite actually. Sad, depressed, lonely, and really, really lost.
What saddened me more was that I couldn’t seem to find or keep hold of happiness. I mean, it would tantalise me every now and then with a brief glimpse or a taste, but it never stuck around.
Certain things helped. Food. Booze. Sex. But they were always a temporary fix followed by periods of self-loathing or week-long hangovers.
My quest for happiness was making me sick and miserable. And even though it was the only thing I wanted – my main focus in life – deep down I believed that I would never find it. I would never find true happiness. I would never be happy. And I guess I also believed that I didn’t deserve to be happy anyway.
Happiness was like the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The problem with that pot of gold was that one could spend a lifetime chasing after the end of many rainbows only to never find that blasted pot of gold.
And then one day I stopped chasing happiness
I can’t recall what exactly made me do it, but one day I just stopped chasing it. Happiness that is. I also stopped talking about it. I stopped focussing on it. I even removed it from my ‘goals’ list.
That day, a few years ago now, when I stopped chasing happiness, that was the day everything changed. It was the day I simply allowed myself to BE happy.
Okay, so it wasn’t as easy as flicking a switch
It involved some life coaching, and me making a conscious decision to change my state of mind and my focus in life. It involved a new way of thinking. A new outlook on life. It involved retraining my brain to look at life in a different way, and to also act a different way.
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. – Mark Twain
I was becoming increasingly irritable over the most menial of things. I was always angry or frustrated and had a short tether. What sucked was that I carried that home with me and started taking it out on my partner. The tiniest things would get to me, and I was becoming snappy and generally not a pleasant person to live with. By releasing my pent up anger and going back decades to get rid of the crappy baggage I’d been carrying around, I started to offload a huge weight from my shoulders.
But how? How the hell do you cultivate happiness?
Well, you do happy things!
I highly recommend laughter.
I personally make it my daily mission to laugh at almost everything, and boy do I laugh (I laugh loudly – I can’t help myself!). Laughter is the best medicine, especially guttural, whole-of-body laughs (and whole of face).
I also recommend smiling
I start smiling from the minute I wake up (still laying in bed), through to the morning commute to work whilst listening to my favourite morning radio line up, to ordering a coffee at my local cafe, and onwards onto the office. That’s even on the days I don’t want to go. Those are the days you especially have to smile!
Of course, I also work from home part time, so I do smile to myself a lot as I sit at my computer…(that’s nowhere as sinister as it sounds!). Regardless, when people see me they either think I’m strange OR they can’t help themselves and smile too.
And finally, I recommend moments of idiocy.
There is way too much seriousness in the world. Stuff what everyone else thinks. Screw conservativeness. Embrace your inner idiot, nerd, or a fool. Enjoy cartoons, play, skip, jump in puddles, dance, sing loudly and encourage others to do the same. Impromptu tickle fights with close friends, kids or your partner are pretty awesome too, unless said person also happens to be a kicker or elbow flicker. Then you might be risking a broken nose…
In all seriousness, though, when I stopped caring so much about what everyone else thought, when I relaxed and stopped chasing happiness when I started to be myself and to live, that’s when I started to be happy. And do you want to know something, it’s stuck around ever since, even during the shitty periods where I could have just thrown my hands in the air and given up. It was during those times that I cracked a joke, smiled, laughed, and lived in the moment – because there is no other moment than this moment, right now…
Happiness is a habit. Cultivate it.
Want to read more about how I found happiness?
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