There are even happiness coaches in the market now! You can take your pick from life coaching, happiness coaching, success coaching and so on and trust me, you still don’t need it. The constant need of trying to be happy is what creates the most stress! Drop the pursuit. Take a breath.
Misconceptions we carry about happiness and it’s never ending pursuit:
- We think that pursuit of happiness is our singular life purpose.
- We have to strive to be happy all the time.
- If we aren’t happy, something is wrong with us.
- We think that trying to cheer up a friend is the right way to do friendship.
- That once we get happy, we will remain in that state eternally.
You could not be farther from the truth
Our greatest leaps of growth have occurred in the darkest moments when finding the light within, actually brought us to ourselves. Being pushed to the deep end of ourselves has unacknowledged advantages. But we have never been taught to be comfortable with ourselves, leave alone our inner darkness.
The purpose of this life is multiple fold. One of them being awakening to who we are. When you start to get a taste of the magnanimity of who we are and what we are truly capable of, the pursuit of happiness drops on it’s own. In my own work with clients, I often remind them that even if for today, they can acknowledge their own light and dark within, their work for the day is done.
Let’s take a heart rate monitor as an example. If your life feels like a flatline, happiness would be an upward spike. Depression would be a downward spike. But living with authenticity, whole heartedness and meaning, would be a constantly elevated line with tiny spikes and dips.
So what I am saying is this.
If you can find meaning in what you say, do, be, feel, go through, your life with start to get much richer. Finding happiness then isn’t the focus anymore. It’s about understanding, relating, getting the meaning, acknowledging, dropping the resistance and self-judgment, becoming more aware, being more expansive and all-encompassing of the various shades of life, like a true creative artist, painting on the canvas of your life, you will not hesitate to understand that all colours of life are essential for the painting (your life), to be complete. And an artist’s work is never complete. And so is our life and working on ourselves.
If our life was a reflection of our choices, would happiness be on top of that list of what people have created because they truly desired it? Nope.
Happiness is relative. It is never without a cause. It shows up at certain times. Happiness is nothing but moments when our desires have been met. So now imagine how you will be the times it’s not around.
We have moments of sadness, frustration, anger, guilt, shame, courage, helplessness, loneliness, and many other emotional states that are either simpler or more complex. And when in these states of heightened emotions, we rarely treat them as normal, we get uncomfortable, we have much subtler resistance underneath to what’s happening because we are told to cheer up, life gets better. Of course it does (rolling my eyes, here). It’s a given. But. Yes, but, if you do not live fully in what’s happening now, you haven’t lived at all. It’s fine to break down and cry or feel guilt or shame, if you supress it and get to start feeling happy under pressure, it’s like storing toxic waste within. There’s no space to let it out then. What you are left with is a person who may appear cheery on the outside but is crying within. And needlessly to say, it can lead to various health conditions.
We are a wonderful and delicious mixture of all of this and we are so ever changing that the only thing I could think of was to say that we are and can be authentic, whole hearted, fully being ourselves. Get out of the pressure!
Some observations on the journey of the pursuit of happiness:
- There’s a strange fear that goes something like “what if I can never be happy” or “I am not meant to have happiness” or “I have to work so hard for it but it’s so elusive”
- You focus on people who are happy and wonder how they do that… I mean how can everything be so perfect? What’s missing here?
- Why is it so hard to get happy and then even harder to maintain it? Does not feel like it’s happiness you know? Seems more a struggle..
- The more you resist the natural states of anger, frustration, shame, guilt, regret and other complex emotional states, the more they persist and happiness gets edged out.
- Just entertaining the thought “I am not happy” is enough to spiral down a rabbit hole. Something like “oh this relationship is so hard for me, why can’t so and so person just be there for me forever”…it’s the forever word in that line that collapses the happiness deck of cards.
- An appearance of happiness can be annoying as one can sense it’s fakeness. It’s “trying to hard” and trying to keep up appearances is a trying process on your emotions.
- You want to be happy = You are not it now
- Pursuit of happiness = not present, it’s only in the future.
- You will be happy when you… = You will not allow it into your space right now.
- Your life’s purpose is happiness = You shall live in denial with all other emotional states.
So there we go. Split wide open.
Authenticity and truth as searing as they may be, may burn a quick second, but won’t scar the way the pursuit of happiness will.
The pursuit of happiness is the ego’s pursuit. And paradoxically, the ego does not know what happiness truly is.
Authenticity, wholeheartedness and being yourself are the qualities of the soul. Resting in that, you actually start living.
Author: Aditi Nirvaan
Aditi Nirvaan is a Therapist, Coach, Facilitator, Energy Intuitive and Artist. She has studied Positive Psychology, Mind-Body-Eating Psychology, Feminine Power Transformative Facilitation, Meaning and Valued Living, Mindfulness and Meditation, and Holistic Nutrition. Practicing and teaching various therapy and healing modalities since 2005, Aditi is known for her clarity, compassion, deeply transformative work, generosity and is a pillar of strength for her clients and participants. She conducts programs online and in live workshops as well as private sessions with her clients from all over the world. From 1998 to 2006, she’s also worked in the corporate world, with companies like Tata-AIG, Star TV, The Oberoi Hotels, Times of India and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in Marketing.
She is an Artist, Writer, Potter and Paragliding Pilot. She specialises in,
- Mid life Awakening/Crisis
- Unburdening ourselves to move through life with a sense of lightness in mind, body and soul
- Making the unconscious conscious with shadow work
- Authentic relationship with ourselves and others
- Mindful living
- Creating your life from Meaning and Purpose
- Body Image and Self Love
- Dealing with Depression and Addiction
- Relationship Recovery