Happiness is an inside job
We have all heard this saying. Most of us agree with it, recognise it, then brush it off just as fast and it came never to really think about it again.
It wasn’t until recently that I truly began to revel in the meaning of this ingenuous statement.
Here’s the thing. When we tie our happiness to a person, goal, dream or object – that thing can be stripped away from us at any given moment without a seconds notice.
Circumstances change. People leave. Plans don’t work out. Accidents happen and your priorities shift.
So what happens when you have focussed all of your energy, attention, time and emotions on an external factor, only for that one thing to be ripped away from you?
You feel like you have nothing.
You feel like your life means nothing and you are left lost, hurt and alone.
Your efforts have been wasted. For what?
Throughout my studies and personal endeavours I have begun to realise this; All that we are, all that we perceive and all that we feel comes down to a single concept – your mind.
Think about that for a second. Let it sink in.
The world you see around you is only what your mind tells you to see, feel and experience.
Your whole ‘reality’ is fundamentally a product of your mind.
Apply this to your life and happiness.
You get sad because of the thoughts you have. The more sad thoughts you have, the worse you feel and in turn, the more sad thoughts you have.
When you’re happy, you have positive thoughts. The more positive thoughts you have the greater you feel, the more positive thoughts you have.
When you focus your happiness and your energy on yourself and being happy with whom you are at this present moment, no goal or external force can deter you from that feeling.
Sure, goals are paramount to success and growth – I’m sure as hell not taking anything away from that.
But tying your self-worth and happiness to something other than yourself is ultimately setting you up for disaster.
What if you had the power to remain happy, positive and keep on living even when your life comes crumbling down around you, when you fail or a loved one leaves you?
Well, you do. Everyone does.
Some of the happiest people on this earth don’t have many things yet they are the most content with themselves.
Monks & Buddhists focus their energy internally and are the most peaceful, loving, humble humans to ever roam the earth.
They practice happiness from within. They control their mind to permeate positivity.
It’s often not a situation that hurts us but the thoughts we have about a particular situation which brings on those negative emotions.
You have complete control over what you think and if you’re not getting the happiness you deserve, take a look at your thoughts. What goes on in your head in your darkest moments?
Do you carousal in that place feeling sorry for yourself? Or do you look up and realise just because one thing went wrong doesn’t mean you’re destined for failure?
One of the most profoundly used and empirically tested therapy techniques is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT was first used to treat depression but has since been applied to numerous mental illnesses such as anxiety, mood disorders, substance abuse and eating disorders, and has returned great outcomes.
It is based on the premise that negative thoughts lead to maladaptive behaviours and by changing your thoughts to become more helpful, your behaviours will follow accordingly.
Your thoughts are entrenched in your core beliefs about yourself, the world and the future so often the hardest aspect of this type of therapy is trying to get patients to alter these maladaptive core beliefs (if they are maladaptive).
Seems easy, right?
Positive thoughts = positive behaviour = more positive thoughts.
Just remember this; all that you are is your mind. You have the power to feel happy, sad, powerful, excited, depressed, and so on.
It’s up to you.