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The Secret to Happiness

Deep happiness has one rule: you cannot put anything above your happiness. 

Key points

  • Happiness is our natural state, as long as we let go of certain "conditions" for happiness.
  • While it is important to remove expectations, we can still have preferences.
  • The hardest part is that we must want this happiness over everything else.

Why is true happiness so difficult to achieve? So many of us have brief moments of joy throughout our day, but it doesn’t take much sometimes to alter our mood. I believe that most people want to be happy almost all of the time, but aren’t sure how to get there. We’ll explore why this is, and how to maintain happiness no matter what, in today’s post.

A common phenomenon among people is to attach conditions to their happiness. What that means is most people want to feel happy, as long as certain conditions, like success, wealth, safety, etc., are met. But deep happiness has one rule—you cannot put anything above your happiness.

This rule goes against what most of us are conditioned to. We feel as though happiness is waiting for us on the other side of that new job, new relationship, move across the country, and the list goes on. When in reality, happiness has always been there waiting for us to claim it, but in order to do that, we can’t hang onto anything else.

This is, of course, much easier said than done because most of us hang on to our desires or expectations. But happiness is in fact our natural state, as long as we let go of these conditions.

These expectations come in two forms: fears and desires. We may desire to one day fall in love, become rich, move to a different country, etc. Desires take on so many forms. In order to let true happiness into our lives, we must acknowledge that these desires prevent us from being happy because they attach conditions to our happiness. For example, we may think to ourselves, “I won’t be happy until this condition in my life is met.” However, happiness doesn’t work this way. In order to be truly happy, you can’t desire anything, you must flow with life and accept what is and love what is.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have expectations around our fears. We fear a wide range of things—getting sick, losing a loved one, and the unknown. These fears are valid, but we can’t let them stop us from enjoying the now. Instead of living in fear of certain things, we can reframe it so we’re thankful for the things that we do have now, while also accepting that things may change. By accepting the fact that things may change, we remove our expectations, and we’re able to achieve true happiness.

Just because I believe that we should do our best to remove our expectations, doesn’t mean that we can’t have preferences. We can absolutely wish for things, be thankful when scary things don’t happen, be sad when things do, and be happy when things go a certain way. This is simply the rhythm of life. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. When we realize that we can still achieve happiness no matter what, we’ll find that all we have to do is flow with life and take each day as they come.

But, this is easier said than done. I have spent a long time retraining my own brain to prioritize happiness over everything. I used to think that if I reach certain milestones, I’ll be happy. But I learned that happiness and peace don’t operate that way. They say if you want me in your life, you have to choose only me, and let those fears and desires go. That doesn’t mean I don’t have things in my life that I love or certain preferences, but it does mean that I avoid clinging to anything that prevents me from achieving joy every single day.

Let me explain this further by using the example of addiction. Addicts feel the strong need to feel good right at this very moment, no matter what. For a brief moment, they may feel peace and happiness when they use, but that moment is always fleeting. For someone who prioritizes happiness and peace over everything, they may say, “I realize I can’t cling on to anything or anyone, I can have preferences, like being healthy or being in love, but I realize that life may have different plans than I have in mind, and that’s OK.” When things happen that we don’t like, we can take a deep breath and do our best to find acceptance for what life has brought us. We can choose to embrace and love the life that has found us. When we do this, we will find happiness.

The hardest part is that we must want this happiness over everything. This isn’t always second nature for everyone and may take some reminders while we reframe our mindsets. But with time you’ll find that your inner peace will remain intact no matter what’s going on in the outside world, and that is a beautiful gift.

Few people choose this path. Perhaps today you’ll join me on this journey towards happiness. There are over 300 episodes of the Happiness podcast where I discuss different tools to live a happy life. I would be honored if you took this journey with me towards happiness and peace. It may not always be easy, but it will be rewarding. I believe that you can have the most exquisite life imaginable, why not start working towards that today?

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