Recipe for Authentic Happiness
How many people do you know that feel like their keys to happiness were misplaced a while back?
Use of anti-depressant medications are apparently at an all time high, if not the spirits of the people they are prescribed to.
In a rather melancholic state one day, I too pondered... if I can't be happy with my rich and privileged life of:
- Friends and family who love me
- A roof over my head, a daily hot shower, and nightly comfy bed
- A full wardrobe of clothes covering need for any occasion, and
- Good health
........ then what does it take!
On my morning walk I asked myself two very simple questions to gauge my understanding of how to be happy. It was the basics of a happiness test:
- Would I be any happier right now if I had none of the above privileges? (this isn't a trick question :)
- Would my soul truly be any happier right now if I had every item in the world that I might conceivably want? (Often, in the pursuit of happiness people come up with lists of items that they make their happiness contingent upon, such as "I'll be happy when.......")
My answer to both of these questions was No, which meant to me that I passed this unassuming little version of a true happiness test.
Each of the above scenarios would give me their own variation of distractions and diversions, but neither one nor the other was my answer to finding happiness, nor increasing my happiness quotient. It seems these items and contingencies really have no bearing on my true happiness.
It's apparent that my authentic happiness rests deeper than the physical world. Deeper it seems than anything I can accumulate or gather to me, including reliance on emotional bolstering from others. Not to say that these things aren't nice... wonderful even in many cases. Just not the source of authentic happiness.
So what are the necessary ingredients in my recipe for happiness!?!
Ingredients in Recipe for Happiness
Well, since I live with me 24 hours a day, I'm obviously the primary ingredient in my own happiness. So, do I like me and what I bring to the world (my values, ideas, actions and priorities)? If I am always with me, and I like me... that seems to be a great starting point for happiness.
Is it possible that the well of authentic happiness springs from appreciating who I am, and allowing others to appreciate me too? I think it is entirely possible.
You let others appreciate you by giving or sharing your wonderful being with them. I'm not saying to be a martre. It's not about a sense of sacrifice.
Rather, get to know the you that you love, and be that. This will be the fruit of your self empowerment and personal mission development. It will act like the yeast in your personal recipe for happiness. From that, your authentic happiness swells.
Just about the time my brain was rolling this puzzle around in my mind, I caught up to an elderly man reaching the crosswalk. He had a slow careful stride, but his eyes were eager and strong. He grabbed me with his gaze, and then spoke.
"It's not often that happens" he said, sharing his careful gentle smile.
We had both reached the street crossing just as the light turned green and he was enjoying the serendipity of the timing and very much wanted to share it. We stepped onto the pavement together.
"No it's not" I agreed with a lighthearted smile back to him.
That was it! I immediately felt a little extra lightness in my heart.
A perfect example of the point above... just express the version of yourself that you love, and let others enjoy it too.
That elderly gentleman didn't want much, but he did want contact... just some simple sharing of life. By giving one another something that we each valued (ie. contact), I immediately felt better! This is a simple example of practicing how to be happy in life (see 20 more tips on happiness).
Authentic Happiness Rests With You
Your key to authentic happiness is within your grasp, even closer than a bottle of anti-depressants. Get to know the you that you love. Everyone has one :).
If it's been a while since you've seen her/him, start at the beginning by finding the ingredients for your personal recipe for happiness, and then practice mixing!
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