Shortcut to Happiness

what makes you happy

If the title of this blog sucked you in, I apologize…, well kind of. It was a harmless little piece of deceptive flim-flam to get your attention. There is NO shortcut to happiness. However, here are six quick sign posts that have served me well in adding more “happy” to my days.

* THE NOW – There is no happiness to be found behind you or located with any certainty at a future time. Happiness can exist only in the present moment and no other. Savor it.

* THE PAST – What has happened in your life previously is a recollection that is somewhere between partially accurate and delusional. What you recall did not happen exactly the way you remember. Let go thinking your memory is accurate.

* THE FUTURE – The only certainty about what’s ahead is it will NOT wholly unfold as you imagine it might or hope it will. Some things will. A lot will not. Plan; hope; pray; dream. BUT leave life plenty of room to just happen.

* FORGIVE – Let go of finger-pointing and holding on to ill feelings; most of all those you hold against yourself. Mistakes and the trespasses are the greatest teachers, but only when seen through a rear view mirror. Screw up. Size up what happened and move on.

* SLOW DOWN – One can not be present in the now, if most of life is spent moving from one point or another. Yes, almost all of us are dementedly busy, but everyone can grab a few minutes to top and take stock. Taste and savor being alive.

* IT WILL END – Everything ends; pain or changes or both; good times, struggle, joy and even life. What does not end, changes. Gratitude unlocks the “sweet jelly” in the hard roll of life and allows adjustment to “what is”. Thankfulness is the sweetener of existence.

Buddhism and psychoanalysis teach us that the very ways we seek happiness actually block us from finding it. Our first mistake is in trying to wipe out all sources of displeasure and search for a perennial state of well-being that, for most of us in our deepest fantasies, resembles nothing so much as a prolonged erotic reverie.

The root cause of our unhappiness is our inability to observe ourselves properly. We are caught in our own perspective, unable to appreciate the many perspectives of those around us. And we are unaware of how insistently this way of perceiving drives us. Only through the uprooting of our own self-centeredness can we find the key to happiness. Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D. Psychology Today

Eventually when I was able to truly accept disappointment, heartache and grief as a natural part of life, I became changed for the better.  Just as light and dark work together to make a beautiful world, life’s good and bad strike a balance. Only by living in harmony ‘tween the two does happiness become possible.

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
Chinese Proverb