I asked him, “What do you mean? Are you talking about work? Life? Us?”
He said, “No, just in general.”
I asked, “Are you happy?”, still not knowing what to say.
He said, “Yes.”
Not understanding his answer, I asked, “But you seemed stressed about your new job. Weren’t you stressed about the whole job search process?”
He said, “That’s true, but that doesn’t mean I was or am unhappy. I think of myself as a happy person. Yes, I go through these things, like everybody else, but they don’t affect my happiness.”
I was floored by his answer. I couldn’t figure out what to say.
My Happiness Test
I’ve realized that my happiness is based on getting what I want. That means I am doomed to be unhappy; my happiness can be ruined by something as simple as…
- Business partners failing to appreciate my work.
- Not getting the recognition or promotion I wanted.
- Failing to get approval for new strategies.
There is always an “if I got x, y, and z, I would be happy” concept in my head.
My happiness depends on how others act, but amazingly, my husband doesn’t follow the same equation!
- Even if he’s laid off or stressed, he can still be happy.
- When we fight and get momentarily upset, he can still be happy.
- Even if he had an unproductive day at work, he can still be happy.
At the end of the day, his foundation for happiness is from within. His happiness doesn’t depend on daily ups and downs. What a concept!
Resetting My Concept of Happiness
We all want to be happy as much as possible, yet many of us follow this dependency equation. Here’s what I’m doing to redefine my happiness:
Be self-aware and lower my bar for happiness.
From now on, my new concept is “I am happy because I am alive.” If I ever catch myself running the old equation, I can catch myself and reintroduce my new formula.
Expect life to be full of obstacles.
Irritation used to mean unhappiness. Now, instead of seeing irritation as a sign of unhappiness, I’ll remind myself, “Life without obstacles is boring. These obstacles help me grow mentally and spiritually.”
Be grateful and appreciative.
No matter what’s happening at work or in life, I’m going to ask myself two questions: “what am I grateful for today?” and “what do I appreciate about myself?” My brain will work towards positive answers, just because I asked these questions — and those answers reset my perspective on what I love about my life right now.
Write about happiness.
We are 42% more likely to do something if we write it down. Hence, I’ll be writing about happiness regularly!
I worry when I don’t get what I expected. Consequently, I’m unhappy whenever I worry. Fortunately, a quote from one of my favorite books, Rays of Dawn, always puts me at ease.
“…Beyond food, clothing, shelter, health, danger, and the necessities of life, there are no disturbance that rest on the facts themselves. Facts, events, and circumstances take on their color and significance only in the light in which we view them. Everything is relative. There is no big or little, fast or slow, ugly or beautiful, rich or poor – except by comparison. One person feels financially depressed on a certain salary per year; another prospers on the same income. Our outlook is determined and measured by our standards. We judge life not by its realities but by its appearances. Worries are but fantasies of the mind…”
-Dr. Thurman Fleet
One simple question, “Are you happy?”, has sent me on a new path towards happiness. At the end of the day, though, happiness is not a result. It’s a choice and a journey.
Your comments: Who do you relate to more? Me or my husband?
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Best wishes to your happiness 🙂