The secret of happiness
“What is the secret to finding happiness in this world?” is one of the most asked questions on Google.
People are intrigued by the concept of happiness and want to be happy. For centuries, people all around the world have been on a quest to understand this mysterious feeling and emotion. It is a concept that I have been curiously trying to grasp and achieve for a number of years.
♥ Why so unhappy?
For years the idea of feeling satisfied and content with life seemed like a distant dream to me – and I have spoken to so many people who have said the same thing. I have realised that a lot of people tend to hope for a happy future and believe that it will come in time, but they will admit that they are not happy in the present moment.
I have found that this way of living results in two things; One, happiness never comes because you are always preparing for it or dreaming of it and never living in it. Two, you live unhappy while hoping and believing that “your time to shine” is still around the corner.
“I will be happy when I am skinnier and prettier, have a new wardrobe, have a successful career and have money to travel the world, buy my dream house and money to invest in my dreams.” –common said phrases
I always believed that I would suddenly wake up happy one day when all my desires were fulfilled. “But wake up Liezl,” I found myself saying “you are not going to be happy, even with all of that, if you don’t learn how to be happy now.”
How can we expect to magically wake up happy one day completely happy because we have finally gained everything that we wanted? By the time you have achieved all of your dreams and had deepest desires fulfilled, you will have a list of new dreams and desires. It is a never ending cycle.
Thankful + Happy
“So, what is the action plan then?” You ask, “How can I learn how to live my life while being happy today?”
Happiness, I have found, is a state of mind. It comes with being content, thankful and at peace with what you have in the present moment. It also comes with learning and choosing to enjoy all of life’s moments for what they are and what they hold.
Happiness therefore requires a paradigm shift. I have found that one needs to change their mindset as well as the way that they view life.
♥ A little reminder
Humans from all walks of life are always intrigued by the fact that poor people usually seem to be happy and full of joy, even the poorest of the poor (think of the families in the deepest parts of Africa, living in tiny little houses or shacks who own nothing but a goat, the clothes on their backs and maybe some chickens… or even families living in crowded India who have a similar life). We see these people and we see them smiling. Smiling all the time. We see them loving each other and laughing, and we see them holding onto values such as honor, respect, generosity and kindness much higher than anything else. It is truly inspiring.
I live in South Africa and so I have grown up in a world where poverty is all around me, I see it every day. I also have been fortunate enough to see the stark contrast between the life of the rich and the life of the poor. Now, don’t get me wrong here, there is nothing wrong with being rich and I know many people who are very rich and very happy, but generally speaking the rich people that I see are often unhappy and the poor people that I see are often happy. I’m also not saying that one should be poor so that they can find happiness, I fully intend to be a person who is rich in both material wealth as well as happiness. However, it seems to me that poor people who are brought up in poor families learn to value things other than material items because that is all that they have to value.
In my opinion, happiness is learning to be content with what you have in the moment. It is fine to dream and desire greater things, and to want a better life with material things. But when this ‘want’ and need for more takes over the present moment, it in turn takes over your mind, your soul, your heart and your spirit –in turn it will consume you, until you live in a bubble of ungratefulness and unhappiness.
I know that road because I walked that road. I spent many years living in that bubble of unhappiness and I tried to feed my desire for happiness with material objects.
The happy choice
Here is the truth that I have come to learn about finding happiness:
Happiness is a mindset of choosing to be thankful and grateful for what you have in each moment and learning to enjoy all that you have in that moment. Happiness is not something that is waiting for you around the next corner or at the end of the movie when the sun is setting and you are walking down the road smiling.
Happiness is about finding the joy in each moment. It is being grateful and thankful in your mind, heart and soul for everything that you have in that moment. It is being content with the fact that you may never have more and fully enjoying what you do have.
As a reformed shopaholic (who will confess that she still messes up every now and again) and a person who has gone through the process of learning to accept and appreciate each moment (and for the first time starting to enjoy it), I believe that happiness can be found in every person’s life.
There have many days, moments and times when I have chosen to be grateful, to find the joy and be thankful for what I have in the moment. There have been many times when it has been so hard to make the choice – days when nothing seemed to be in my favor, nothing seemed to be going my way and I have had bad news after more bad news. But in these moments, when I have pursued joy and happiness no matter what and I have been truly thankful for any small thing that I do have, I have changed the outcome of the moment and I have found happiness in that moment.
I believe with all my mind, heart and soul that happiness is attainable and possible for every person no matter your past and no matter what you have previously done or believed.
So embrace this moment, now –forget perfection, forget your obsessions and think about what you have in this moment. Be thankful for what you do have (there has to be something to give thanks for, even if it is as small as a piece of chocolate in front of you, or your family or a friend, or a roof over your head – or even that knowledge that happiness is attainable) and adopt a new positive mindset today (now). Because no matter what happens and no matter what curve ball life throws at you, one thing can never be taken or stolen from you –your happiness. When your happiness, your inner joy, your positive mindset and your attitude towards life is the perspective and the screen that you see life through, you will love life and each moment.
A moment of happiness
Happiness is a feeling of being content and thankful for all that in that you have in that moment. It is learning to love and fully enjoy each moment as well as getting the most from the moment no matter what that moment holds.
Happiness is a choice, a mindset, an inner feeling of joy and peace and a positive attitude towards life as well as the present situation.
Happiness is a choice, so choose happiness now. Your past or what other people think about you does not define who you are. Who you believe you are or can be defines who you are.
You create the outcome of your everyday life, why not make it extraordinary? All people are worthy of finding happiness, no matter what their past may look like.
3 secrets of happiness
1. Give thanks and be grateful for all that you have.
2. Believe you are wonderfully and beautifully made, because you are. Believe that you are capable of greatness, because you are.
3. Choose to be happy in each moment, and choose to enjoy each moment with everything that you have in that moment.
Choose a happy today
Enjoy your new life of chosen happiness more by doing something you love every day, even if it’s something small like making your favorite blueberry smoothie, taking a walk or relaxing with a good movie, even texting or calling a friend/ family member that you love to chat to.
Money can’t buy happiness. Don’t stress or get upset over a lack of funds. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself because of what you don’t have or can’t afford, be thankful for whatever you do have in life and make the most of what you’ve got.
Don’t wait for tomorrow anymore, quick and easy, start in this moment. Choose happiness now, right in this very moment.
It has been said that practice makes perfect, you may have to practice and work a little in the beginning by choosing consciously to be happy, but soon these moment-to-moment decisions of positivity and gratitude will become easier. We are not aiming for perfect anyway, so just do the best that you can and enjoy your life.
Liezl Jayne xo
Photos #1 and #3 by Liezl Jayne, for liezljayne.com – Photo #2 by Abby Heywood, while we were in Sunny LA together