An investment in Happiness

Click Christopher Paul to see more art.

When you ask most people what they want in their life, a majority will respond with happiness as that answer.

If happiness is your “be all, end all”, what do you do to invest in your own happiness? Are your actions in alignment with happiness or do your thoughts lead you to actions, which create an investment in misery?

Happiness is more than a passing emotion or a thought which creates “joy”, it is a state of being, well-being.

When someone disappoints you, does that create a withdrawal or deficit in your happiness account? Or are you able to look at the bigger picture? If you can stop yourself from reacting to a person or a situation with punishment for disappointing you, there is an opportunity for an investment in your “happiness”.

We all make mistakes.

Sometimes trying to fulfill another’s expectations of us, we stumble and fall….our biggest fear comes true if we are a perfectionist or have any type of insecurity related to self-worth….”we have disappointed someone”. Ugh, that crushing, shaming feeling is hard to want to confront in oneself; we may run and hide or we find excuses or even blame the person we have disappointed.

When you are on either side of a disappointment, you have a chance to add a deposit to your happiness account.

When someone disappoints us, instead of making them feel worse and more defensive, why not see the humanness in how they let you down? Why not see that for “whatever” reason this person could not come through for you and its “okay”, you will survive. It may be inconvenient or create another kind of distress, but the ability to forgive and not put the whole weight of a relationship or your own feelings of being let down on a person who has disappointed you is a move away from misery.

Isn’t it a much happier place to live, if we allow others to “be” human, make mistakes and accept them anyway? It is, because in essence what you are saying is…”It is okay for me to also accept myself as I am, flawed and the world will not fall to pieces if I drop the ball too”.

Happiness is not fulfilled expectations. It has nothing to do with expectations being achieved, because once an expectation is fulfilled, we are on to the next one. We think, “What else do I need to make me happy, because I am just not quite there yet?” And in wanting an expectation fulfilled, we desire something on the outside to dictate how we feel about our own self and our life.

The expectations we place on our “self” can be enough to take all the dividends out of our happiness account. When you have a “to-do” list whether at work or home, how do you feel when you do not achieve all the items on your list? How do you feel when you do accomplish everything on the list? A momentary feeling that you are worthy? Then what? You create another list “to do” or if you didn’t finish your first list—you keep plugging away or maybe you just give up? Is a sense of well-being and happiness attached to the outcome of your list? Is there a measurement of it within tasks completed or not?

In attaching so much to what others or we accomplish, we add to the misery account. Living up to an expectation will kill off creativity, relaxation in doing and a sense of well-being. We are instead in a race or competition to not be let down.

We use our failures to beat ourselves with most of the time. This contributes to misery. Failure can contribute to happiness if we allow it too. We learn from our failures but we can also rejoice in them too. Why not celebrate being human and finding errors and disappointments to be temporary and not “life-defining, unforgiving, debilitating obstacles permanently marring your internal landscape?”

Mistakes, disappointments, expectations and anything else, which you allow to bring your celebration to a screeching halt is a choice of creating misery. Celebrate the things that don’t go smoothly, allow them…. maybe they will show you something new that you would not have noticed had everything gone “smoothly”.

Investing in happiness means becoming aware of the ways you invest in misery.

When you allow yourself to be stuck in a reaction of disappointment, rather than seeing the love or care you have for the person in front of you as a “human being”….you do yourself the same disservice. Everyone is a mirror for us and how we treat others is how we internalize and treat our own self.

Creating happiness comes through acceptance, allowance, appreciation, affection and attention.

When you are kind to others, you are kind to you. When you punish others, you punish yourself. I can always feel that “icky” feeling when I am punishing someone. Even if I get a moment of self-righteous vindication, I get to feel like shit afterwards, nothing like an anger hangover.

I am not saying that you let things slide and get taken advantage of in life. Nope not at all. You can have clear communication about what has happened, but you don’t need to own it, personalize it or make it something to beat yourself or another over the head with for any reason. Boundaries have to be clear and if something happens that disrupts, talk about it…calmly, without blame.

And if this talk is one you have to have with yourself, when you disappoint or let yourself down, then be kind. Add to the happiness factor, remember, “this too shall pass” with anything that happens to disrupt your day. Make a daily deposit in your happiness account and see what happens!!!  You get to earn interest on it, what a return!!

Painting by Christopher Paul

2 thoughts on “An investment in Happiness

  1. Okay Tracy….. i got it…lol… brilliant and so clearly spoken. Honestly beautiful and a cause to exhale and smile, which i did. xoxo

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