There are countless articles spread far and wide across the internet about how to be happy. I don’t know about you but I’ve read a fair few in my search to increase my happiness levels.
Everything from the basic ‘how to be happy’ to 13 things people do to live a happy life, to 7 things you must give up to start feeling happy now.
Most of the people who have written those articles are coming from a good place. They want to help others. They know there are people out there who feel frustrated or depressed or just miserable about their life. If they can offer a bit of advice and a few tips, why not?
While there’s no harm in those lists, how-tos and must dos and don’ts, there’s one thing I’ve come to realise
Many of the articles I’ve read over the years have said something that left me thinking “I should do more or less of that”. But all the while, my level of happiness wasn’t really changing no matter how many blog posts I read. And that was the case whether I implemented what I had read or not.
An insight I had about my absorption of all this information helped me to realise that I was relying way too much on other people. I wanted them to outline the exact action steps of what I should or shouldn’t do to be more cheerful so that I could copy them.
The problem is, the more I listened to everyone one else, the more I moved away from listening to myself about what my ‘happy’ is. Maybe some of the suggestions in their list about what to give up are exactly what I want to do. Maybe it doesn’t affect me in the same way as it does others.
The way I see it is that everyone has a different kind of happy. How could it possibly be the same for everyone? The answer is, it can’t, nor will it ever be the same. Similarities, yes, but other than that. We need to do our own kind of joyful.
Here’s my dare for you if you want to be happier
Ignore what everyone says.
If you usually find yourself searching for articles, podcasts, videos and watching FB lives about positivity and happiness, I dare you to ignore them all. Even better, stay off social media for a couple of days or more (I’ll have to join you on this one!). Why?
Because even if we’re not searching for anything to do with happiness, we can often find ourselves feeling triggered by other people’s (sometimes edited) posts about their lives and all the wonderful things they’re doing.
This can sometimes result in feelings of disappointment about our own lives, like we’re not doing good enough. That’s not to say they shouldn’t post what they’re up to. They can do exactly as they please.
But sometimes, you can look at another person’s seemingly easy/fun/perfect life and start the comparison game. And we know what happens when we compare; we often end up coming off worse and feeling jealous or inadequate in some way. Not exactly useful for helping us to practise tapping into our own happy place.
So how about it. Are you up for the challenge? Even if it’s just for a couple of days, make a conscious decision to disregard every word that comes out of anyone’s mouth about happiness and what we should or shouldn’t be doing to experience more of it.
When you do that, you create space to hone in on what happiness really means to you. And it may very well turn out that you absolutely love reading articles on the subject matter. If that’s the case, dive back in and enjoy. It might turn out that listening to others has been immensely helpful for you and you can filter out what doesn’t resonate with you easily rather than taking everything they say as gospel.
It might be that you realise that searching only leads to more fruitless searching.
It’s all about stopping whatever it is you’re currently doing to give yourself time and space to connect to what makes sense, what feels good and what feels right to you. Sometimes, wanting to be shown the way can block us from seeing the truth. The truth that we already know what we want and don’t want (to do).
We know a lot more about ourselves than we realise. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of unearthing and reminding.