Tell someone you want to be happy, and your hopes might be met with an eye roll and laugh.
Many people are jaded after pursuing the promise of socially-valued success and stuff, yet still feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. You might go so far as to blame the concept of happiness itself.
After all, the root of the word – ‘hap‘ – translates as ‘luck’ in Old Norse and Old English, which implies happiness is about looking and waiting for something outside of yourself. Queue dumb luck or good fortune.
Whereas joy, derived from the Latin “gaudia,” implies an expression of pleasure and something that arises from within. The feeling of joy is beautiful – sublime even. You feel transcendent above the worries of your daily life and invincible because your joy arises from within you.
To me, happiness is transcending your daily life. Because to be in the space of true happiness, you have to feel both joy and the sensation of good fortune, which takes you out of being you and into the miraculous partnership between you and life.
Happiness allows you to move beyond your own abilities, comprehension, and network – your own rational mind – and into the possibility that something much bigger than you is going on.
Happiness takes faith.
Which means it also takes humbleness, surrender, and trust. I believe that’s why Aristotle refers to happy people as the “happy few.” Not because it’s unattainable, up to divine chance, or reserved only for a specific socio-economic class. But because the process of creating joy within and then opening yourself to the greater flow and fortune of Life takes courage, confidence, and conviction, on a level that few ever dare to discover in themselves.
Ego-based arrogance can fill you with a self-satisfaction that mimics joy so you can feel content (on some level), forever. But you can only touch true happiness by courageously and radically accepting yourself and then standing at the edge of your limited sense of self, leaning out into the vast unknown of fear and faith, and whispering “I believe.”
That is the journey to happiness. That is the journey to true enlightened living.
So how do you get there? The first step is to own the uniqueness that you are. You are the perfect you.
The trouble is many of us, maybe even you, feel way less than perfect. You worry you are flawed, broken, and overlooked by life and source. You obsess about your failures and all the reasons you are wrong. You keep a running list of all the ways you could improve and a matching list for why you are not yet unworthy of your own acceptance, love, consideration, and care.
Self-doubt is an epidemic that injures us all and blocks us from the healing power of living with purpose.
In my years of helping hurt, angry, and frustrated people liberate themselves by living in alignment with their soul’s truth and joy, I have discovered one thing: all the stories you tell yourself are not true.
But they do serve a purpose – your purpose, in fact.
When you experience pain, it challenges you to dig deeper to find healing. When you suffer through not enough (time/money/love), it invites you to realize you are enough regardless. When you are overwhelmed by sadness, rage, or fear, the door opens for you to discover true, lasting joy.
Your shadow always points to your light.
That is the prize at the end of aligning with your soul; you know how to find your way through your own darkness and continually come home to your light. So that no matter what life brings in the future, you have a way to understand, navigate, center yourself, and move forward feeling stronger, clearer, and more confident than ever. You will then move naturally into a happier vision of your life.
Whether for you that means more clarity in your career, more confidence in your relationships, or more joy in your everyday moments at home, the ideal version of you exists and you have the ability to become that person more and more every day. And it is easy once you know how.
You have to make the commitment to start. You have to make the commitment to being uniquely, powerfully you.
Start today with this simple practice:
On your inhale, mentally repeat “I love myself fully.” On the exhale, “I release myself completely.” If that is too challenging, start with “I accept myself fully,” and, “I forgive myself completely,” until the words naturally evolve
These two statements represent the entirety of Life; the simultaneous truth that you are everything and also barely a blip on the screen of the whole.
As you learn to embody this seemingly impossible duality, you free yourself to live in the full radiance of your soul and co-create in joyful trust with life.
Happiness then stops being something you are seeking and starts being the truth of who you are.