A common misleading idea that many of us fall into is that we must find happiness outside of our own selves. The formula goes like this:
Have —-> Do —-> Be
If I have this new car, then I will be able to drive to the beach whenever I want, and then I will be happy.
This formula seems to be fueled by the demand in our culture to consume, to have more. If only I had that, then I could do this and then I would be happy. The reason I am not happy now is because I do not have all the things I need to do all of the things I want.
If I have more money, then I can travel more, and then I will be happy.
This cycle never ends. You will never have enough, you will always believe that you need to have more. Marketing loves this concept.
However, the true formula to happiness is the reverse of this:
Be —> Do —> Have
I am happy, so I choose to do these things out of happiness, and I have abundance in my life.
This sounds a bit ridiculous at first, right? How can I just be happy? Don’t I need something to get me there? Well, no. Not if you really think about it.
There was this great little story I heard once about a blind woman being brought to a nursing home for the first time. She walked into her new room and said, “Oh I just love it here. Everything looks so nice. I feel so comfortable. I am going to be very happy here.”
Her caretaker took her arm and gently asked her, “But how do you know you will love it here? You can’t even see it.”
And the women replied, “Because I’ve decided to be happy here.”
It is remarkable, but if I wake in the morning and say to myself, “”I am happy”, somehow, it does become true. I make a decision in my mind to be happy. And so I start to make choices, I do things that reflect my happy state. I make special pancakes for my kids. I enjoy the gardens when I step outside. I take a few moments to stretch and smile at the day. And then the pleasant things start rolling in. Like a magnet, like attracts like. My children are happier. The animals are more content. My husband has a better day.
If I wake in the morning and immediately focus on what I do not have, on what I need in order to feel better, on the impossibilities in front of me, my day does not go so well. I am in a negative place, a place of not enough, a place of needing more. It is generally not a happy place. Often, it is a place that cannot even recognize when it does receive something!
Am I lying to myself when I decide “I am happy”. No. Because I look around at the life I have surrounded myself with, and I see happiness. It’s all here. There is remarkable little that I actually need in order to live, and to experience happiness. It’s already here.
Everything else is advertising.