We have all been brought up to believe that different external things are responsible for our happiness. I was raised to believe that happiness was related to people, events and outcomes. In other words, my happiness had to come from being in a relationship, from having good things happen, and from having control over the good things happening. My parents were not into things like houses, cars or toys, so I never learned to connect my happiness with things. But lots of people do.
For example, Allen connects his happiness to people, things and outcomes. As a result, he is constantly pulling on others for attention and approval. He is addicted to buying things and his garage is cluttered with his toys. And he can't be happy until he "finds the perfect job" and "makes more money." Because he connects his happiness to all these externals, he is always trying to have control over getting what he wants. Trying to have control keeps him from being in the moment, which is where real happiness exists.
Our ego wounded self is often very attached to a "project," such as:
- Once I have a partner, (or a different partner) then I will be happy.
- Once I have enough money, then I will be happy.
- Once I have the house (or car, or motorcycle, or swimming pool, etc.), then I will be happy.
- Once I have a baby, then I will be happy.
- Once I lose weight, then I will be happy.
- Once I have the right job, then I will be happy.
- Once I move out of this city, then I will be happy.
- Once I have plastic surgery, then I will be happy.
As long as you believe that your happiness is connected to something external, you will not be happy now. And there will always be something else -- a different partner, more money, a different place to live or a different job -- that will keep you from being happy now.
You may discover that you are resistant to being happy now. This may be because your ego wounded self is unconsciously saying, "Having control over getting what I believe will make me happy is what's important. I refuse to be happy until I have what I want!"
Yet I've worked with hundreds of people who have it all -- the relationship, the baby, the things, the money, being thin -- and still do not feel happy.
What Really Creates Happiness?
The feeling of happiness is the result of being present with ourselves, with Spirit, with others and with nature. Happiness is the result of being loving and compassionate with ourselves -- taking loving care of our own feelings and needs in the moment. Happiness is the result of sharing love with others -- with people and with animals. Happiness is the result of being in the moment and experiencing the beauty of a flower, a tree, the clouds or a sunset. Happiness is being in gratitude for what you are and the sacred privilege of evolving your soul in love, rather than focusing on what you don't have.
As long as you believe that your happiness comes from outside you, happiness will likely elude you. Every moment that you look to people, things, events and outcomes to make you happy is a moment of life lost. Every moment spent trying to control someone or something in the hopes of getting what you believe will make you happy is a moment of happiness and joy lost. Every moment spent projecting into the future with the thoughts of, "When I have _____, then I will be happy," is a present moment not experienced.
Happiness is not something that happens to you. It is something you choose or don't choose each and every moment. Today, choose to be aware of what you are attaching your happiness to, and consciously limit the thoughts about what you believe you need externally to be happy. Choose to move into love and compassion for yourself and others and gratitude for what you are and discover your happiness in this present moment.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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