“It is quite impossible to unite happiness with a yearning for what we don’t have. Happiness has all that it wants, and resembling the well-fed, there shouldn’t be hunger or thirst.”—EPICTETUS
Someday I will be happy. We as humans are used to postponing our happiness for tomorrow. I will be happy when I get into the college of my dreams, I will be happy when I graduate, I will be happy when I have a good job, I will be happy when I get a promotion, I will be happy when I am married, I will be happy when I have kids, I will be happy when my kids have grown up and I can finally retire. Without even realizing you are dead, and you were unhappy all your life.
Epictetus has pointed out beautifully that yearning and happiness both can’t be together. If you desire something and you believe that your happiness depends on you attaining that desire, then you will never be happy. Yes, there will be momentary happiness when you finally get what you desire, but it won’t last long.
Psychologists have a term called ‘conditional happiness’ for this state of mind or you can say it also as ‘I will be happy when’ syndrome. You are just waiting for the right moment or the right set of circumstances to be happy. And the moment you met the circumstances where you can be happy you jump from one to another.
How to be happier in present?
1. Happiness is a choice
You need to understand and accept that happiness is just a state of mind and it is totally upon you to choose it or not. Now, if you consider the ecstatic feeling you get when you find what you desire as happiness, then that it is not a long-lasting way to remain happy. All the ecstatic feelings are meant to die unless you are on some high-quality drugs. So, choose to be happy today.
2. Focus on present
One can’t be happy living in either past or the future. The only way to be happy is to be focused on the present.
We all are running too fast in our lives. Slow down a little bit from time to time and notice small things around you. The child playing, the wind blowing, the rain falling and the birds chirping. You will find beauty in everything around you. See The World Like A Poet And An Artist
3. Practice gratitude
This simple practice is so powerful that it is so often overlooked. We are so much affected by smaller things in life that we fail to see our blessings. By making it a ritual to practice gratitude daily, you will be able to see your life from a new perspective.
4. Let go of the result
While learning about stoicism, I learned one of the most important lessons, which is to let go of the results. One needs to be sincere in life but getting attached to the result will only lead to misery. A Stoic must know that what lies in his/her control is the only effort and they can’t control the outcome of their results.
Now, even though you are still following all the above-mentioned things, you will still be faced with setbacks and bad times. Putting thoughts onto paper helps you to release what has been pent up in your heart and your mind.
So, the bottom line is to take control of your life and your happiness. Don’t fell into the mindset of conditional happiness.
Ques: What are the small things that made you happy today?