“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our post-modern society has told us that we can achieve happiness through consumption. Society has made us think that: if only…if only I had a bigger house, a better car, more money, and a better job, I would be fulfilled….
…U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s famous line in his 1961 inaugural address exemplifies this virtuous thought: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Unfortunately, today, it appears that we have shifted into more of a self-centered “what can my country/politician/others do for me” mode of thinking instead.
I LOVED what this article had to say around this whole concept: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-meaningful-life/201802/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-meaning
Happiness is a really interesting thing.
And for most, as this article speaks of, we think happiness is “out there”. And because we’ve trained ourselves to think that it’s “out there”, we are always on the hunt, chasing something, and recognizing that the happiness, even if captured, doesn’t stay long. Which only fuels the addiction and leaves us ultimately feeling more out of control.
I have this client/FRIEND who has had this radically challenging path of having a baby. Before she had her first baby, she had 3 miscarriages, which is soul-sucking and so devastating. Then she finally has a baby and fast forward a few more years and she gets pregnant again (oh the joy), only to miscarry again. Rightfully so, she shuts down, she looses faith, and she begins to spiral into a depressed state.
2 months later, she’s pregnant again, 11 weeks and the baby looks healthy and strong and she texts me: “I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!!!”
Here’s what I want you to understand about the mechanics of HAPPINESS because you really can have it/feel it/possess it EVERYDAY of your life IF you understand how it actually works.
Happiness is NOT an external game. Sure, maybe stuff, people, things, accomplishments can ADD TO your happiness, but they are NOT the root of it.
The root of happiness is STAYING OPEN.
Look at it this way: When was the last time you remember being really, truly happy?? What were you doing, who were you with, what was the experience?
Take yourself back there. Be the fly on the wall and look at what’s going on around you but evernmoreso, whats going on within you!??!
For my client, it was the fact that she was pregnant and with a very healthy baby.
For me, it was this morning, laying in bed with my littlest Boo Nixon for 20 minutes while he snuggled and sang and just loved on me and let me love on him.
What’s familiar about BOTH our scenarios?
We were OPEN.
We had no expectations.
We are living in the moment.
We are receiving while giving.
We had no attachments, we had lost ourselves in the present moment, no judgments, forgotten about yesterday and had no focus on tomorrow. It’s sheer joy in the moment. THAT, my friend, is called LIVING OPEN.
It’s the ability to be so present and so engulfed in what you are doing, that the happiness light switch is turned on.
What happens is shortly after that moment, given circumstance, expectation, situations, meetings, a world that is outside of our control knocks on our door, and we shut down. Someone says something we can’t control… someone cuts us off in traffic… a client fires us… our spouse misuses their wording… a child disrespects us… something doesn’t go “right” and we immediately SHUT DOWN to protect ourselves. That’s WHY we shut down… self protection reasons.
When we are shut down, we are “CLOSED for business” in a sense. No one gets in and nothing gets out. And ultimately, the HAPPY stops. And then we wonder why, even after having all that we do (the house, the job, the spouse, the friends, the stuff), why we’re “not happy” all of a sudden. And we begin to hunt more, do more, strive more, find a new lover, quit the friend, and we just get weird and begin to reject everything around us, which only closes us off more. We get judgmental, critical, and easily triggered. And so the cycle begins.
Happiness therefore is a state of being OPEN.
Hate it, love it, think it’s risky, can’t tolerate it, want it or not. That’s ALL that it is.
And if you go back and look at every moment in time you were trulyhappy, you will see the pattern confirm this.
When we are open, accepting, vulnerable, have NO attachments or expectations, don’t base our self worth on circumstances or opinions, let go, surrender and engage, HAPPINESS is ours. It comes from within.
This is enlightenment at it’s finest.
This is actualization by definition.
“But JG, you don’t understand, you don’t know my mom… my boss… my situation… the obstacle that’s in front of me.”
No. I do. We all have “that thing”, “that person”, “that obstacle” in our lives but regardless of what it is or how bad it is or how much wrong has been done to us, the moment we shut down, close off, protect ourselves, defend ourselves, we are putting up walls that lock our own happiness out.
So we think we are doing it to show them. We think we are doing it to keep them unhappy. But in reality, like the concept of unforgiveness, the only person it’s hurting is YOU.
Happiness is Openness.
It’s the courage to face life without preconceived notions, without dragging the past in, without fearing what could happen and simply experiencing it as it comes. This is “the pursuit” at it’s finest.
And believe it or not, HAPPY people then go create a happy world because: THEY ARE NOT ASKING THE WORLD OR PEOPLE OR THEIR JOB OR STUFF TO MAKE THEM HAPPY, THEY ALREADY ARE HAPPY. So their contribution and accomplishments and goals are from a place of true self worth and abundance making their mark on the world a good, sustainable one.
Happiness is not “out there”. It’s IN YOU.
And when you’re open, everything else is gravy.
The rest is like the “icing on top”. Which brings even more freedom because now you know it’s within you and not something you have to obtain, acquire, look find, etc. It’s in your control. WHEW.