The one thing you need to make you happy
Today, we are bombarded by the perfect idea of happiness, sold to us by clever marketers and businesses that want to flog their stuff like Del Boy and Rodney, with a van full of dodgy alarm clocks.
We are prodded and poked by ad campaigns. You know the ones - a beautifully adorned celebrity wearing a diamond necklace (and nothing much else) or the car advertisement showing the 'ready-made' perfect family in a brand new SUV heading to the snow-capped mountains for the holidays.
...They are good, I take my hat off to them. They are good at this marketing thing. So, how do you achieve happiness according to these adverts? Well, you put those purchases in a shopping cart, breeze through the checkouts and start using them.
That's it, you're happy - right?
(Cue Family Fortunes big yellow 'X' and sound effect.)
No, not exactly.
Whilst material items can bring you joy and fulfilment, what type of 'happiness' is it actually providing?
Is it 'jump out of bed in the morning, happily go to work, to pay for the items' joy and fulfilment?
Is it 'look what I've got and you don't have' joy and fulfilment?
Is it 'we need a bigger house to fit all our stuff' joy and fulfilment?
Is it long-lasting?
Is it meaningful?
I believe that happiness can't be bought like a diamond necklace or a new car. It has to be welcomed in like a long lost family member on your doorstep, recognised and its presence acknowledged. It has to be felt. The happiness feeling is one of ease, contentment and flow. Unlike the sheer adoration, euphoria and energetic excitement that the marketers would have you believe.
You cannot live in a constantly 'high as a kite' euphoric trip all your life. It's not natural. So, is your expectation of how happiness is 'supposed to feel' (your high as a kite version of happiness), stopping you from experiencing true happiness right now in your life?
I like to change the word 'happiness' to contentment. It seems more real, more doable.
I believe that happiness has no hidden agenda, no 'holding on' tendencies, no purpose other than to serve, and definitely no pending consequences. Alright, other than the acceptance that this is a good feeling, and a moment in your life that is glorious - that's a pretty great side effect.
Here is one thing you need to do right now, that will start the ball rolling with your own happiness. Before doing a task, making a decision or when you're starting/ending your day - ask yourself this question:
How would the contented happy person I'd like to be, do the things I'm about to do?
You'll know the answer. It will come to you. You know, the way a really great idea pops up from nowhere - like that).
And then... Take a deep breath and do it differently. Allow your new actions to lead you to your own happiness.
So, there it is, my prescription to happiness. Happiness comes from the actions you take in life. By asking yourself a new question, you get a new answer, and you take a new action. That action will bring a new experience,opportunity and/or feeling and with consistent action in the right direction that experience, opportunity and/or feeling will be happiness.
It is never in the dreams we hold for ourselves, but in the tiny reluctant steps, that happiness is made.
Step forward and find your happiness!
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About Michelle Thole
Michelle is an accredited life coach with the IAPCM, specialising in high-performance mindset and confidence for creatives and performers. A trained facilitator working with an array of big companies - presentation skills, culture change and leadership. Her inspirational personality, energy, and devotion to her profession are unparalleled.