What would you give in exchange for true happiness? Would you believe me if I told you there are some simple steps to being happy?
Being happy is one of the most basic human desires. But, no matter who you are, happiness can sometimes seem elusive! However, if you can implement the following six steps into your everyday life, you will find your levels of personal happiness increasing. In essence, to feel happy, we need to acknowledge the true nature of our separate selves, the otherness of those around us, and the very nature of happiness itself.
Step 1: Preserve your own self-separateness whilst tolerating the otherness of people and situations
A degree of healthy narcissism is essential for maintaining clear boundaries between yourself and others. At the same time, it is important to respect the boundaries and the otherness of other people. From a young age, we need to accept that the world does not revolve solely around us, and that throughout life we will encounter strange and novel sensations. We must accept that the actions and feelings of others are largely beyond our personal control. True happiness comes when we can understand and appreciate that other people have their own personalities, needs and desires. These deserve to be respected at all times.
Step 2: Experience positive emotions more often than negative emotions
As a rule, the greater the proportion of positive emotions you feel, the happier you will be. Following this step may necessitate that you make more time to enjoy yourself or make lifestyle changes that allow greater scope for pleasure and joy. Approaching other people and relationships in a healthy manner increases the likelihood of being happy on a more frequent basis.
Step 3: Focus on what you have, not what you lack
Choose to dwell upon the positives in your life while accepting the negatives. Be sure to recognize beneficial experiences and the kindness of others. Fostering a sense of gratitude is a reliable step towards being happy. Do not waste time wishing for that which you cannot and will not have, as this will lead to a negative mindset with deprivation at its core.
Step 4: Tolerate the intensity of being happy, even when you may temporarily lose control
A little-acknowledged fact is that intense feelings of happiness, whilst welcomed, can also come with a feeling of loss of control. We can feel as though intense sensations of happiness and wellbeing will sweep our very selves away. This can be unnerving, and can cause us to keep happiness at an armslength. Being happy requires you to lose the need to maintain absolute control over your environment and emotions.
Step 5: Tolerate the plain fact that happiness may be experienced and re-lived on many occasions, but that it lasts only for brief periods
It is not realistic to expect feelings of happiness to last for a long time. As complex beings, our situations and feelings change on a regular basis and we should expect life to be full of mood fluctuations. Fortunately, we can also expect to feel happiness on a regular basis across our lifespan. And, conversely, we can rely on the fact that negative emotions are also transient.
Step 6: Tolerate the inevitable digression from a prior sense of happiness. Be able to enjoy reconciliation with oneself and with others. Be able to enjoy subjective realizations and satisfaction regardless of any imperfections
As we have already established, happiness is a transient mood state just like any other. This means that when we are happy, we need to be fully aware that it will not last forever. Once the source of our happiness has passed, we will be faced with new emotions, and yet remain our usual selves. It is important to be able to accept our own emotions and epiphanies and communicate them to others.
These six steps to being happy are not isolated tasks and goals. Rather, they are a set of ongoing processes that everyone must navigate over the course of their lives.
To learn more about the effect of our very earliest experiences on our later lives, especially our happiness in relationships with others read my book “The Enigma Of Childhood: The Profound Impact of the First Years of Life on Adults as Couples and Parents” available from Amazon and direct from Karnac Books.