What defines our happiness?
It’s a common consideration. Many of us look outside ourselves to define our happiness, with things, distractions, events and experiences. And because of this many of us give our inner power away by placing it inside these externalities. Though, it’s not just a bad habit, it’s an understandable conditioning. Our consumer oriented society promotes and supports this way of life. Big companies want nothing more than for you to feel your happiness is dependent on what they provide. A recent soft drink slogan springs to mind which tells you to open your happiness. Governments want to support this lifestyle also, so they can sell patriotism and xenophobia. Perhaps even the executives of the company you work for want to sell you the idea that you are dependent on your job for happiness too. We listen to promises and hand over responsibility for our happiness to the world of things, others and circumstances.
Though ask yourself, what really makes you happy? For some let’s say your goal at the moment is to buy your favourite flat screen TV. You attract to yourself the means to make this goal come to fruition all the while fantasizing about what it will mean for you to have it, to watch your shows in comfort, to play video games, to have friends over, to even watch movies with your kids. It represents the lifestyle you desire with which comes your happiness. But if you are sitting there one night watching your TV and there are no desirable shows to watch, and what you are watching seems to be broken up into an unreasonable amount of commercial breaks all of which just serve to irritate you. Then are you happy? Maybe it’s not the TV that brings happiness, maybe it’s the shows? The television network executives would love for you to believe that.
As another example of placing your power in externalities, think about the emotional rollercoaster of just being outside in the street for some people. Insecurities abound when our happiness and mood is dependent on the outside world of things, others and circumstances. Let’s say you are wearing your favourite clothes, your hair looks good, your skin looks good and you feel good because of how good you feel that you look. What if then you find that nobody is staring, nobody watches you pass, nobody double takes you? You will question yourself, your entire view of yourself will change, you may even start noticing flaws that stand out like a sore thumb when you look in the mirror. Your feelings of happiness are drained. For those who have these insecurities it could even ruin your enthusiasm and lust for life for the entire day.
Happiness does not come from these things. It’s illusory, there is nothing intrinsic to an object or effect that makes you feel good. It is because of who you believe you are inside and what you believe you want deep down and what you believe you should react to in order to be those things. All those ‘things’ which give you pleasure are just mirrors, reflecting back to you confirmations of who you think you might be. It’s no wonder that so many of us cannot answer the question with confidence when somebody asks ‘Who are you?’ because so many of us are trying to define ourselves, by the reflection we see in the things, others and circumstances we interact with.
The feelings of happiness you feel when you buy your favourite car, or receive compliments, or eat at an exclusive restaurant start within you; they are not aspects of the things, people and circumstances at all. It is all illusory. Even on the level of quantum physics we are finding that the physical material universe is subject to our consciousness, rather than us being subject to it in it’s organized chaos. Superposition tells us that all physicality exists in it’s every theoretical possible state simultaneously until it is measured or perceived and then it will show effects related to that measurement only. It’s easy to dismiss the deep wisdom in clichéd sayings like ’The world is what you make it’ but this is one of the few things that science and ancient wisdom are agreeing on; you become what you think about.
If you live in the hall of mirrors, only knowing what you are and that you are significant by analyzing the reflections all around you then you wont know where the real you is in all those different definitions of you. You will be lost in a labyrinth, looking for the laid out path, when the real way to freedom is to define it yourself.
Living a happy life starts inside you. If you know who you are, and need not the definitions of others to know yourself. When your drive comes from inside you, will be bold, and have no need for circumstances to be right, for people to support you, for things to make it easier. The eagle stares the cloudless sun in the face.
Ross writes on metaphysics, new science, self growth and primarily the law of attraction.
Photo credit: ‘Rainbow‘ by Big Stock