Avoiding The Happiness Trap
When was the last time you were happy for no reason? When you have a reason to be happy, that reason can be taken away from you. Look at children, they are often simply happy for no reason in particular, just to be where they are. What are you telling yourself when it comes to happiness? When I have this, then I will be happy. When this no longer exists, then I will be happy. There will always be reasons in your life that you could focus on that will bring you down, how much attention are you giving them?
What are your thoughts circling through your mind on a regular basis? If you ask yourself, by focusing on that thought, is it moving me towards your goals, what would your answer be? To give you an example, here is an exercise from one of Jen Sincero’s books; take a moment and look around the room, count all of the things you can see that are red. Once you have done that, close your eyes, now with your eyes closed count all of the things in the room that were yellow. Then open your eyes.
When your eyes were closed you probably could not think of many yellow things but once you opened them there was more then you remembered. What you focus on is what you see, there could be all of these great things going on around you but if you are too focused on what is going wrong, you will not see them.
This is the same for when you are always focusing on “well when this happens, I’ll be happy” outlook. Always looking towards your future and outside reasons to be happy, you miss on what is right in front of you. It is the pursuit of happiness that keeps you out of reach of happiness. It is here, right now, in this moment, it just a matter of seeing it and letting go into it.
It can be easy at the moment to get weighed down by everything that is going on. Sometimes we just need to feel into that. We are grieving the loss of what was our lives and the world as we knew it. There is a lot going on right now around the world, some really sad things. There could also be a lot going on for you personally. Feeling into emotions helps you move through them. While moving through that, there is also always something that you can choose to focus on that is going to put a smile on your face, when you are ready to see it.
So where are you in the pursuit of happiness at the moment? Can you let go of that pursuit and shift your focus to the here and now and be happy for no reason? When we are in a better mindset, we make better decisions, we treat people kinder, we see our world differently. What is one thing you can do this week to shift your focus? What is one thought you can let go of this week that is not moving you in the direction you want to go? What have you been focusing on and is it helping you? Do you need to feel into anything to help you move through it?
If you are concerned that feeling into happiness is not going to help anyone during our current circumstances and it is naïve. May I point out to you that you cannot bring yourself down enough to help someone else. To help make changes we must first lift ourselves up so we have the means to go out and make a difference. Being happy during hard times is not nativity, it is using your positive impact to help other people feel that little bit better about the world around them.