Happily it’s the New Year. A fresh start whether we need it or not. And irrespective of everything else on your list, happiness still matters.
Happiness, or the lack of it, has been a topic subject to the fashion extremes for years. First there was the happiness attached to romance (think of running in slow motion through sun-kissed fields of barley with your hair tousled and looking joyful.
Then came the idea that buying more as the key to joy. A new refrigerator should bring the kind of glint to your eye that said, “Yes! Now I’m truly happy”. But if that wore off you could buy a new sofa, bed, carpet, outfit, car… or anything else your credit card could stretch to. It was the postwar explosion of fulfillment through things, and while it did keep people amused, the pleasure didn’t last.
A direct from the East solution was to stop grasping for stuff and start searching for a higher consciousness. Suddenly, gurus were cool and kaftans suggested you really knew a thing or two about happiness (or at least pretended to).
Legions of books appeared on becoming a happier you. Some made the grade while others? Let’s just say they turned happiness into a product backed up by multiple courses and the slick charisma of stage storming speakers.
Amidst it all, a few enterprising types decided happiness was a secret? Why? Because everyone wants to know a secret and well, secrets do sell uncommonly well.
All this time there were the diehard fans of happiness by attitude who got their leading from men dedicated to making it big way back in the 1920s and ‘30’s. Think big enough and positively enough and of course joyfulness would be yours.
But there were other niches still to explore. Like the happiness of Divine life. Converting traditional religious beliefs into a newer and much more attractive package spurred a religious insurgence. No longer was the life of faith so much about a life of service. Rebranding turned it into a means to getting all the joyfulness you need and tapping into power when your pockets felt empty of either.
Not to be outdone, along came another branch on the happiness tree. Researchers validating happiness with facts claimed the cup for “Actually we are the ones who really know happiness” and plied a trade in much the same way as all the others, asserting that theirs was the real thing.
But nothing stays in anyone’s court for too long. People compete for attention and facts, like statistics, have a way of only telling us part of the story. A new genre appeared in recent years, who have come to the conclusion that happiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If anything, this whole focus on trying to be happy is nothing more than an unhappy and unhealthy mess.
So, here we are. A New Year is here. All the gurus, hucksters, and theorists have said their piece while you try to make do and find your own “best path in life”. Is happiness really unnecessary after all?
At risk of being “one more” guru amongst the throng, I’d like to suggest that you know more about the truth of happiness than al the experts have given you credit. Within you is an awareness of what is noble, beautiful, and life affirming. These qualities and your own version of appreciation are, in my view, crucial to how you value happiness and how much of it you ever get to have.
Yes, there are other factors. Genetics and life experience can play a big part in creating your well-being “set point” and, for some, feeling miserable is no effort but a lifelong state of their own normalcy.
Depression, mental illness, and a raft of other factors influence how we feel, which in turn affects our happiness. And yet, in the simplest ways, creating joy for others does add to your happiness revenue.
Combine it with a sense of purpose – or at lease finding meaning in the way you live your life – and you build a life that goes way above mere existence.
Appreciate and cultivate the quality of your appreciation and you open yourself to new potentials of pleasure and delight. By turning your focus toward gratitude, you get a sense of just how delightful liberation means.
There’s more, much more. That’s why I encourage you to read my book. Can one book change the way you look at your own life and transform your thoughts? I believe it can. But only you can answer that if you give yourself the opportunity to discover new possibilities.
It’s a New Year, and I believe happiness still matters. Your year will be shaped by the decisions you make and whatever information you choose to approve. May it be a good year for you, freed from past burdens and rich with fulfillment.
And, in case you are making any fresh life resolutions, now is the time to be inspired. Whatever you choose, do yourself a favor and find more room for happiness.
Comments are closed.