Aaahhhh, the American Dream. Our rights - to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We take the life and liberty for granted, most of the time. Only on the rare occasions like 9-11 do we even appreciate those things. We are free to go any place, do anything and be whatever we choose, more so than in any other country on the planet. So, it would seem to follow that the pursuit of happiness would be the easy part.
Yet, it’s our happiness that is most often the struggle.
We confuse short term delight with long term happiness. We want the quick fix, so we focus on now. It’s like an addiction. We crave happiness, we must have it. We disdain unhappiness.
We seem to expect happiness as it was a right. A permanent event. A destination.
It would be like sitting on the crest of a stationary wave. But waves move by nature. They wave. They change. They are dynamic.
So is life. And so is happiness. It takes place on an ever-flowing continuum.
What if we embraced the rise and fall of the emotional roller coaster? What if we decided to acknowledge, and even appreciate, our unhappy feelings? If we could deeply feel those emotional downs, we might learn some things about ourselves. Plus, the upswing would be that much sweeter.
Set aside the short term fixes for the moment. Do some introspection about what makes you happy in the long term:
• What activities have brought you the most lasting pleasure?
• Who have you enjoyed long lasting relationships with?
• Think of some unhappy moments that turned you into a stronger person.
• When you’ve brought joy to someone else, how has that affected your happiness?
• Where have you been that you remember fondly?
• Why do some pleasures only make you happy momentarily?
Investing the time to understand your own state of bliss will help you find the happiness you seek.
Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.
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