Happiness Is Not An Attitude
Happiness is many things and it’s difficult to define. But it most definitely is not just an attitude.
I have lost count of the amount of people who say to me, “Wow you must have a great attitude [to be so happy]. How do you do it?” The short answer? I don’t.
Well, I kind of do, but it would never be enough to make me happy. So I better explain…
Happiness over and above the “peel me another grape and wave that fan a bit more to the left” state of indulgence requires more from us than pleasure seeking. (evidently there is a genetic element to it as well). But a life enriched by meaning and having a sense of good purpose gives happiness its strength. Likewise, a favorable attitude springs from these same essentials.
So thinking that attitude in itself (as a mere act of will) is enough is completely mistaken. Attitude needs to put down roots into something of substance and it, like happiness, thrives in expressing qualities of character and living with the clarity of significance.
If that’s as clear as mud to you, I’ve got a suggestion. Read my book, Happy, to get a clearer picture of just what it takes to live with happiness at your core. After all, it’s a big subject with lifelong consequences and no blog post could possibly do it justice.
Yet the whole happiness thing is confusing, isn’t it? As a multi million-dollar industry, the “you can be happy now” crowd is a motley lot. Some are genuine people with worthwhile ideas and information to contribute. While others (a great many it seems) are liable to confuse and delude because their primary agenda is not to help but to run a profitable business. And how do they do that? By steering people’s desire to find happiness toward a service or saleable range of merchandise.
Well, I imagine you know this and I’m glad, because it’s always worth keeping your wits about you. People’s agendas can sometimes be troubling. But it’s worth noting because the overwhelming emphasis on having a constantly positive attitude is fraught with issues (not least that it’s actually natural and appropriate to feel discouraged at times).
As for me, well one aspect I want to emphasize is the personal nature of happiness. Yours is not your neighbors, even though your ideas likely coincide.
Unlike the way it’s presented, lasting happiness is not a product or service to be bought like some talisman. At its best, it is one aspect of life that has to be homemade and, ultimately, you are the best one to make it. If yours interprets despondency and pain as part of the whole spectrum of living a full life, then your happiness is big. It is also way more sophisticated than the wowee attitude-based versions peddled by those ever smiling entrepreneurs with laughter lines round their pockets.
A life with happiness is not such an elusive thing. But it usually requires reflection, effort, and a goodhearted love for someone. If you are doing these things then I believe happiness is already walking with you, even if it remains unseen.
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