Updated: Apr 19, 2020
I like to believe most people can be happy. You see, I’m not talking about the kind of world where people strive for material possessions or are constantly looking outside themselves for things that will make them happy, I’m talking about being able to be happy right now. No matter where you are in the world, how much money you have in the bank or what your ‘status’ in life is, going by the approval of others.
Of course, money can make our lives easier, you may argue that those with a roof over their heads are happier than those living on the street and those putting food on the table for their family are happier as a result and this may be true (or worded differently, their lives may be easier), but I’m talking about happiness on a spiritual level and I have seen and heard many people in "worse off" situations than most who are happier in their heart and soul.
One thing I hear a lot is people saying things like “I’ll be happy when...” or “I just have to make xyz in business profit and I’ll feel successful in life.”
These ideas may have served us up to a certain point, but what happens when you arrive at that place, the marriage, the perfect job, the 5 bedroom house etc and you still don’t feel fulfilled? You again say “well we just haven’t got it all figured out yet, next year when we have xyz I’ll feel happy!” Or “Even though I’m good at my job and I’m earning more than I thought I would at this stage of my business, I’m still not earning a 6 figure salary, and when I do, THEN I’ll be happy!”
The trouble with this ‘chasing perfection’ mindset, is that you’re always chasing. You’re never going to be happy with anything because you could always get more, achieve more, be more.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to work my butt off for my whole life just to end up on my deathbed and say “why couldn’t I have seen what I had at the time?! I could have been so happy! Instead I wasted time chasing an unreachable dream and never fully enjoyed the journey.”
Ultimately this all comes down to gratitude. I want you to do something for me now. In your head, think of 3 things in your life you have to be grateful for.
Anyone can do this because there is so much in this world to be grateful for! You could have nothing in this world in terms of material possessions and still find 3 things to be grateful for.
Mine are (off the top of my head): 1. The air I breathe, 2. Unconditional love of my family and friends, 3. My senses to experience the world.
I want to just touch on those who are in a very dark place, one example would be to those suffering abuse. I’m not saying practicing gratitude will magically free you from this prison, however, I know first hand that practicing gratitude can help you cope and keep you fighting and growing your strength to eventually be in a situation to fight back.
se living with a mental health disorder, daily practice can support you and be a friend.
When you forget material possessions (even though yes they can be fun and make your life easier!), you get down to the core of your being and then anyone can feel happiness, even for a short moment. The more you practice feeling grateful, the easier it becomes to find things to be grateful for, your daily list can get longer and the happier you become in your soul.
One amazing benefit of practicing gratitude is that the more grateful you are in general, the more positive things you notice, because you are literally training your brain to see things differently!
If you feel you have nothing in life to feel grateful for, ask yourself, am I breathing right now? What does this planet provide for me to use and even just look at?
I love trees. I’m so grateful to Mother Nature for giving us trees to look at, blowing in the wind, to take shade under in the summer, some even provide medicine! And let’s not forget the life giving oxygen they produce!
When I’m sitting under a beautiful old oak tree that’s been around for hundreds of years, could tell so many stories if only it could talk; I am happy in my soul. I could be sitting next to a Billionaire and we could both have this experience and feel the same level of happiness.
Here’s a task for you. When you go about your day today or tomorrow (depending what time you’re reading this), make a conscious effort to notice things you’re grateful for. Say in your head, to yourself, “I’m so grateful that... (the trees are producing beautiful blossoms, someone invented electricity, that I have a toilet in my home and running water)” just practice noticing. Be more aware. And please let me know how this made you feel in your heart and soul in the comments below.