If there is one goal that I believe all humans strive for it is to be happy. Yet when I ask people what this really means, many don’t have an answer. Happiness appears to be a goal that when made seems easy, but when focused on is more challenging. Most of us know when we aren’t happy but how do we know when we are?
Happiness is something that requires work. I know that doesn’t sound great but in all honesty its a very beautiful thing. The things in life that come too easily are usually forgotten. They come and go and while we are hopefully grateful for them they rarely make a lasting impression that alters or shifts our life in some way or another. When we invest time and energy into things the reward is much greater because the success is something we earned.
The type of work happiness requires is personal, what it takes to get there, however, is not. In order to really know what you want from your happiness you have to define what it will look like once you’ve arrived. As I have said so many times before, if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you’ve gotten there?
So take some time and really define what it would mean to you to be happy. What would your relationship to self and others look like if you were happy? What would be different about your life then than it is today? Who do you want to be when you are happy? Are there certain characteristics you want to exemplify? What type of mother/ father/ brother/ sister/ lover/friend do you want to be? How do you know you want to be that type of person?
If you are writing something down simply because it sounds good then you haven’t reached your ultimate happiness. There is no right and wrong answer with this, but there should be an authentic image in your mind around what happiness really means and looks like to you.
Once you have this image, take some time to break each part of the picture down. What steps can you take right this moment? For example, if you see yourself being someone who is open and loving in your relationship, what is one step towards that that you can take today? Or, if it is your relationship to self that is struggling, what is one thing you can do for yourself today that reminds you of your worth? Write these steps down and post them somewhere so you can remind yourself on a daily basis what you are striving for and what actions you want to be taking.
Achieving happiness may require work, and in some areas of your life this may feel uncomfortable. But it is worth it, because after all, what better pursuit in life than the pursuit of happiness? Once you have arrived at your set goals, take a step back and soak it all in.