Change your expat life…
3 MYTHS OF HAPPINESS
Happiness is something most of us want more of in life. And of course we do! Happiness is a wonderful emotion when we experience it. For example, I feel happiness when one of my sons tells me he wants to snuggle or holds my hand out of the blue — when it happens, I feel like I could just experience the feeling forever and never let it go. But there are some things we should get straight about happiness…
Happiness is a feeling — an emotion — and like all emotions, it come from our thoughts. That’s good news! It means that to feel happy, all we have to do is think happy thoughts.
Simple, right? Ha! If only.
But while it might now seem as easy as that, we do have a tendency to get in our own way. Why? Because there are several common myths that can derail our ability to experience — and cultivate — happiness.
Today, let’s break down the 3 most common myths about chasing happiness.
1. Myth: Happiness Is the Same As Immediate Gratification
We often confuse happiness with a substitute for happiness:
- Watching Netflix
- Being on social media
These are actions of immediate gratification, and they give us a spike of dopamine that feels close to happiness. So, how do we know the difference? We know by the result of our actions. Most of the time, actions of immediate gratification create a negative consequence for us when they are used as a substitute for real (emotional) happiness.
For instance, when we overeat because we are used food as an emotional crutch, we probably won’t feel well. We might gain weight or feel too tired to do the things that matter to us. We might feel remorse or guilt afterwards.
Truth: Real happiness is an emotion. It is nourished by a thought, not an
2. Myth: Happiness Is Something That Happens to Us
We often think our circumstances create happiness — the things that happen in our lives, the situations we find ourselves in, the things that people say and do around us…
The problem is, we cannot control most of these things. We certainly can’t control other people. And this gives all our power away. So, we let life happen to us and, in waiting for happiness to just show up, we’re often filled with disappointment instead.
We cannot control our circumstances. What we can do is either use all our energy fighting our circumstance or be in acceptance of what is. Once we accept the reality of our circumstances, we can use our energy to create the thoughts that help us experience life as best we can in any situation.
Truth: Only our thoughts about our circumstances can create happiness.
3. Myth: Life Would Be so Much Better if We Felt Happiness All the Time
When we do not feel happy, we often feel bad about feeling unhappy! We add extra pain to our unhappiness because we assume that we should walk through life feeling happy all the time. But this is a myth.
As humans, we are fully equipped to feel the whole spectrum of emotions. In fact, happiness does not exist without unhappiness. And this makes sense. When something terrible happens in the world or to us, when someone we love is hurt, when we do not achieve what we wanted to achieve — most of us understandably do not want to feel happy. This is part of the full expression of our humanity.
Furthermore, happiness is not the emotion of growth. When we feel happy, we want to relax, chill, and enjoy. Happiness is not the emotion that will make you create anything. Happiness is pleasant, for sure. But if you want to achieve big things in life, what you need is not happiness. For me, for example, I reach for other things when I go after my big goals:
Truth: It’s time to let go of the idea that we should be happy all the time.
Embrace Conflicting Emotions
Increasing our level of happiness is actually very easy: think happy thoughts. All we have to do is think happy thoughts about everything. It’s not complicated. But the reason that it often doesn’t feel easy is because we are not meant to feel happy about everything.
Think about it: is happiness something you really what you want in life all the time? In truth, we would stagnate.
When we are ready to feel the full spectrum of emotions, we can truly create a life we love. In order to help you distinguish which emotions you might be feeling, I have prepared a list of feelings you receive by subscribing to Girafe Coaching Newsletter .
For more on this topic, I invite you to listen to Episode 4 of the Podcast: Chasing Happiness as well as Episode 5 : Life is 50/50
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