We all want more happiness. But do we even know what it is? Happiness is a feeling we experience in our bodies. In that way, it is always self-generated—we experience it internally. But many of us think of happiness as a feeling of pleasure based on some external happening: we got the raise we wanted, we just ate a fabulous meal.
But true happiness isn’t contingent on circumstances. It is a sense of contentment that exists independently of the good fortune that might find us. Proof of that comes from a study of lottery winners. Just six months after winning, they report they are no happier than they were before their windfall.
We find true happiness from a sense of contentment that we experience when we let go of our judgments and accept ourselves, other people and life just as it is, no matter how imperfect. Try it just for today. When you notice yourself judging someone or something as bad (the screaming baby, the insensitive co-worker, your own frustration), pause, take a breath and say to yourself, They are (or I am) doing the best that they can. At the end of the day, notice whether acceptance has brought you more peace and contentment. Remember, as Leonard Sweet says in A Cup of Coffee at the Soul Cafe , ‘Our duty is not to see through one another, but to see one another through.’
This month, I will be focusing on how to create greater happiness in our lives despite our circumstances. Let me know how my articles affect you and what your happiness strategies are.