I keep coming across the statement that the reason we’re on this planet is to be happy. Can’t argue with that, can we? So, what does it mean to be really happy? A while ago, I was asked this question, ‘Who or what makes you happy?’
It felt a little like a conversation stopper, because I had never really thought about it. I wracked my brain, but I couldn’t come up with anything – or anybody – in particular. In the end, the only answer I could come up with was ‘I’m happy because I’m happy’. What kind of an answer was that? It sounded strange, even to me and yet, at the same time, it felt true.
That started a whole new train of thought. I first began to recognise what happiness is not. It’s not that feeling of excitement and joy you experience when you get a promotion, a pay increase, fall in love or buy that car you always wanted.
That’s a temporary feeling as I know only too well. I well remember feeling ecstatic after bagging that. The feeling didn’t last even though the clothes still looked great on me.
Happiness is a solid state
As I continued to investigate the question, I began to realise, not only from my own experience but also from reading up on the subject, that true happiness is a solid state, a state that remains stable – whatever the external circumstances. That’s what surprised me most of all – that it wasn’t dependent on outside events.
Can you think back to a time when everything was going really well on the outside but you felt empty inside? Or when everything was going down the pan around you but you felt good about yourself and the world despite the external turbulence?
That’s what true happiness is – feeling calm and clear-headed irrespective of what’s going on out there.
The thing is, we don’t always recognise those feelings as happiness. Sometimes we interpret them as feeling self-confident, or comfortable in our own skin, or when we trust ourselves or know that we’re a capable person, able to deal with whatever Life sends us.
Deep down happy
We’re happy – deep down happy – when we really know ourselves, warts and all and still like and accept ourselves. And we become happy when we start treating ourselves patiently, gently and with compassion instead of constantly beating ourselves up.
Those insights answered a question that had been puzzling me: ‘How come I started attracting all these wonderful people when, in the past, I hardly ever did?’
After a lot of research, the answer turned out to be that happy people attract happy people and, conversely, miserable people attract miserable people! Do you remember the saying, ‘misery likes company’? Well, so does happiness!
But my insights didn’t stop there. What I came to realise is that I first had to become the person I wanted to attract and the way to do that is to first give what I want to receive.
If I want to be loved, I need to give love first – a smile, a hug, a compliment, a favour, a hand with something, a gift. The possibilities were endless once I began to turn my mind to it!