Happiness is an inside job
Especially now when winter is coming up, I would like to share some thoughts and tips on happiness. Everybody is looking for happiness as if happiness is hidden somewhere and we need to go on a treasure hunt to find it.
If you observe a truly happy person you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness like it was a collar button that has rolled under a radiator (W. Beran Wolfe). Be very honest with yourself and ask yourself when were you most happy?
I am convinced that you can learn everything, and that includes being happy. I lived as an expat in many different settings and I met so many wonderful people, rich, poor, happy, unhappy. I came to realize that wealth and status have nothing to do with happiness. Happiness is an attitude, a habit, which you can cultivate. Because of positive psychology we now know that the skills of happiness can be learned. The two important pillars for cultivating happiness is how you deal with setbacks and how you cultivate positive and loving relationships.
How to deal with setbacks
From a live chat with the author and philosopher Alain de Botton I learned:
"A lot of happiness is created by things outside our control. This is very worrying in a way - but should lead us to humility and an acknowledgement of how much we rely on fate. This should teach us compassion for ourselves and others at moments when the context lets us down".
When something goes wrong often we tend to internalize the problem. When you experience a setback rather then seeing it as "all your fault", look at what part was out of your control, know that it is temporally and do not internalize it.
* make it specific
* know that is temporary
* make it impersonal
* and most of all take steps to improve your situation
A second pillar of happiness is cultivating loving relationships. And as usual it always starts with you! First of all love yourself, be as a best friend for yourself. It is the relationship you have with yourself that will reflect in the outer world. Love yourself first.
Get out of the realm of wanting to be right. If you want to be happy let go of the notion of being right. Relationships are hard wired. Letting go of wanting to be right is a first step in a better connection with the people around you. Being open to the otherness and taking the interaction with the other person as a chance for you to get to know yourself better and the other, is very valuable for your happiness.
If you think you are enlightened try spending a week with your family on Christmas and you will know what I talk about. You love them dearly but they do push your buttons. Be aware that every irritation can tell you something about yourself and can help you to grow and to become better in building relationships. A beautiful way of doing this is through the core quadrants of Daniel Offman.
Just remember that life has its own way. Dance with it.
Enjoy the festivities.
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