For the longest time I tied my happiness to time, things and situations, then I discovered the secret to happiness and completley changed my life. I’m not saying I’m happy every single day, every single moment, but overall I live a pretty joyful life. I am human after all, so I still get upset, still become emotional and throw a tantrum here and there, but I am happy. My life is magically happy and it all started when I changed my mindset on what happiness is.
Most of us go through life searching for happiness outside ourselves, I surely did. Before I got married, I was living the cubbie life, dreading my days and blaming my unhappiness on my job. I felt unappreciated, undervalued and my talent was surely being wasted designing those annoying internet banner ads. So I gathered up the courage and quit my job thinking that once I did, I would be happy. Spoiler alert! I wasn’t.
The feeling of freedom and happiness quickly faded away as I became more and more depressed with having nothing to do and a freelance business that was going nowhere. After coming back from my wedding and honeymoon I was on a high of life and I put all my energy into traveling. I thought that traveling while blogging would make me happy. Well I did get to travel, and I was happy but after it was over and I had to come back to reality, I fell into depression again. I wasn’t happy again.
Do you see the pattern? Not to mention I kept doing this for 3 whole years. I kept saying things like, when I buy a house I’ll be happy. Well I bought my first home and I still wasn’t happy, not long term anyway. Then I thought, when I furnish and decorate my house fully I’ll be happy, and I wasn’t. Over and over I kept creating these weird goals of happiness. I thought that when I had these things I would finally be happy. I was so so wrong.
Discovering the Secret to Happiness
It wasn’t until I became aware of my pattern that I began to change it. I wanted to know why I was conditioned that way, so I got to researching and reading books and basically looking for answers until I found it. So here’s the secret to happiness: It’s not a destination. It’s that simple, you just need a mindset change. You need to stop believing that happiness is in the future and become aware of it in your present moment.
We go through life thinking that if we’re millionaires happiness is just a given. That if we had what that famous Blogger has, we too would be happy. If we had those 500k followers, if our business was booming, if our book would get published… the list goes on and on and on. We create these limits for ourselves as if to say, I don’t have this, therefore I cannot be happy until I do. Then BAM! Our minds and the Universe take that message to heart. You are so determined that your happiness is in the future and not now, that you manifest it. Then all your days are filled with sorrow and misguided goals. You deprive yourself of the joy around you and inside you, right now.
So here’s the thing. Happiness is a choice. It’s not in the future, and it’s certainly not in the past, it’s in the now. There are plenty of reasons to be happy right now, all you have to do is be open to them.
Stop Playing the Victim
Harsh, I know. But I wish someone would have slapped me out of it! Sometimes you need some tough love. Happiness is accessible to you right at this very moment. I didn’t know it at the time, but I lived with depression for three years. I wouldn’t really do much but sit on the couch, binge-watching Netflix and I was very irritable. I remember crying a lot and my superhero Hubby, Keal, would pep talk me for days saying I was talented and my dreams were worth pursing, but not matter what he said, I just couldn’t see past my current situation, or rather my perception of it.
On paper, my life looked pretty awesome, I own a beautiful townhome that I decorated to my taste, I’m a 5 minute walk to all the shops, bars and trendy hipster restaurants, I’m a pretty cool designer, self employed, I do work with Antrhopologie a lot, I have an amazing supporting husband. I mean by most standards, I’m living a pretty
fucking amazing life. But here’s the thing, I wasn’t living by most standards, I was living by my standards, and my standards were pretty stupid and skewed.
I was stuck in a lack mindset. My perception of not having the income I wanted, not having the means to travel, breaking my routines and not getting anything done, feeling behind on my business, overwhelmed by social media, comparing myself to strangers on the internet. I was stuck in this victim role. Being a victim was easier than facing my reality, than making changes, it was easier to stay in my comfort zone. We blame our unhappiness on outside things so that we can keep having excuses as to not change our lives. It’s our weirdo standards and our fictitious happiness goals that kill our joy. But we keep it that way because it’s easier.
Finding the Joy in the Now
Looking back, I can see that I had happiness all around me. When I was decorating my house trying to fill it up with beautiful furniture and insta-worthy decor, I wasn’t truly there, I wasn’t present. My mind was in the future thinking about what people would say about my home, wondering how many likes I would get (I know, awful!), stressed out because my vision wasn’t coming together, daydreaming of being happy when it was all done. I was stuck in the future.
I mean, happiness was right there in front of me. It was ME decorating my home, getting those white quartz countertops I always wanted. I was literally LIVING ONE OF MY DREAMS, and completley missing it. I had dreamed of owning an all white kitchen for AGES, and there I was standing in it, furrowed brow, looking at an Instagram, and picking at every single thing I could find wrong with my home. I know you probably think I’m crazy, hell, I think I was crazy, but I don’t judge myself too harshly. I just had a different mindset two years ago, when I believed that happiness was outside of me. Worst of all, I wasn’t being grateful.
I believe that when you are living a mindful life you become aware of all the joyful moments around you. It can be from talking to your partner, savoring your coffee, living a dream, working towards one, or just breathing. Because when you do something as simple as breathe you remind yourself that you are alive. That is why living in the NOW, is a powerful source of happiness and joy.
Happiness Takes Courage
I KNOW that if you make a list right now of your life, you’ll find all the things that are pretty
fucking awesome. You may not have the fancy car yet, or your business may not be where you want it, but that’s ok. You have to enjoy the journey to those goals. You have to be joyful in a single moment, and it takes courage.
You have to decide to be happy and then find it in your present situation. You see, the future brings anxiety and hope, the past brings regret and nostalgia, but the present is all joy, if you’re willing to see it. It doesn’t matter what your story is, what your situation is like, I promise you if you look inside you, you will find happiness. We are all born with this natural and innate sense of happiness and it is your birthright to be happy. We learn about suffering and negativity as we grow older and adopt society’s standards. So just remember, you were put on this planet to be happy.
So forgive yourself, love yourself and treasure yourself. Be kind to yourself. We are all imperfect humans on a journey and all we need is to change our mindsets, stop looking for happiness in the future, and be mindful that joy is here, right now.
Are you ready to be happy?! Share your story with me in the comments below!