We’re always striving for happiness, that ever-elusive sweet feeling we want to hold on to so badly.
But it slips away. We can’t quite hold our grasp.
Why can’t we be happy all the time? Why do we need to experience sadness, anger, and frustration? Is there really no such thing as everlasting bliss?
I’ve asked myself these questions many times, and I’ve looked at other people who claim to have found happiness through meditation (one example is Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, also known as the “world’s happiest man”).
Personally, I think it’s important to distinguish between feelings of happiness and contentment. I would consider myself content with my life. I’m not suffering. I’m more than OK. Nevertheless, I’m not always happy.
There are times when I’m sad, angry, and feel misunderstood. I’ve come to realize that these feelings are completely normal. They’re not bad per se. You could consider them signposts, giving you hints about what you need to work on in your life. They’re opportunities to grow.
Therefore, we shouldn’t chase the fantasy of constant happiness. That’s pretty much impossible. However, we can focus on feelings of long-term contentment.
Practicing gratitude comes into play here. Accept what you have and be thankful for it. Don’t complain about everything that’s going wrong. Don’t cry about all those things you wished you had but you don’t.
Know that you are perfectly lovable the way you are. Love yourself unconditionally.
When you feel content, you don’t have that urge to look for happiness externally. Happiness is right here with you. It comes from the inside.
Of course, this is radically different from what is portrayed in movies and commercials. They want you to think that you need to find happiness “out there.” I used to believe that too. From experience I can tell that you can find short-term happiness and pleasure out there, but anything worthwhile comes from within.