Happiness is the most important thing we can seek out each day and in each moment and this is why.
There are certain things that are monumentally important that we as a society have chosen to trivialize calling them superficial, even demonizing them. We really have to ask ourselves why that is. One major thing we've all called trivial and even evil is Money when in fact everything we do, at least in America, requires money. We can argue that the best things in life are free, but we can't even enjoy those things until we've satisfied all of our material needs...Maslow's hierarchy of needs ring a bell?
The other very important aspect of life that we've trivialized is happiness. We have very popular sayings like "No Pain No Gain" and "Love Hurts" that get us very comfortable with the idea that suffering should be a mainstay in the human experience. One thing we know is that pain is inevitable in life, but I would like to offer the idea that suffering is entirely optional. Emotional and mental pain should be treated just as physical pain is treated...once the source of the pain is identified, intentional steps are taken to resolve the issue. When we experience life's disappointments and frustrations, our goal before anything else should be to resolve the issue and get back to happiness. Let me be clear, this is not about "Positive Thinking" or living in a state of denial, but about being intentional about making happiness a top priority at all times and here's why.
1. Happiness is the reason we do EVERYTHING.
Tony Robbins is the first person to bring this fact to my realization, but everything we do is with the ultimate goal of the feeling we think it's going to bring. Even all the suffering we seem to idealize is intended to get us to some lofty feeling of self-righteousness, which will make us HAPPY with the version of ourselves that we've become. Take a moment today and think about the ways in which the things you did that were both pleasant and unpleasant either directly or indirectly contributed to some future state of happiness that you are seeking. Why not bypass all of that and make the happiness the thing we focus on instead of the steps we've been taught will lead us there. What can you do in this very moment to induce a feeling of happiness or pleasure?
2. Happiness annihilates stress which is a leading cause for disease.
This info graphic from the American Institute of Stress shows just what cost we pay in each moment that we choose thoughts and behaviors that are upsetting to us. I know, I know...this is stressful to think about. The truth is though that we are completely capable of turning this dynamic around simply using thought patterns, even if we can't change what we have to do or our physical environment (Check out my strategy for achieving this here).
3. We don't get what we want until we feel happy, not the other way around.
We all think, and rightfully so, that if we could just get that relationship, get the kids to behave, get that job, have more money, we would feel better. Makes sense....but have you every noticed that when you start your day in a good mood, all kinds of good things just easily and naturally happen to you. You get surprised with a free gift, a check in the mail, you meet a new friend. And have you noticed that when you are irritated...more irritating things start happening. That one driver cuts you off and if you stay upset about it, you get cut off two or three MORE times. That's because our thoughts are like little magnets that draw to us what they contain. You've heard the term like attracts like. This applies to our thoughts and associated feelings. The key here is the FEELINGS. So we can even take a thought that we consider as just fact and change the feelings that are associated with it and change our entire experience. Our experiences reflect back to use what we feel and believe. For example, when my kids make my house look like it's been hit by a tornado right after I straighten up, I could get irritated and I usually do, but now I take that thought and say to myself "I'm fortunate to have a warm and lived in home with beautiful messy children in it. What a blessing that they get to create their memories here with me in our home." If I come up with a way to re-frame that thought and make myself feel good, although my circumstances are the same, the stress is alleviated.
4. Happiness takes us from being consumers to being creators
When we're unsatisfied, we try to get more and more. More food, more money, more love. We become a parasite of sorts. It's because we don't realize the well with a never ending source of water is within us. We can draw from an infinite supply of happiness because we ARE happiness. You've heard the term "Be the change you want to see". The truth is you already are what you want to see. It's as simple as a choice. Choose to think prosperous thoughts. Choose to think loving thoughts. Choose to think thoughts of beauty and satisfaction and you become those things and you no longer need to draw them from anyone else. The next natural step is to figure out a way to SHARE what you've created. It starts to overflow and you begin to create value for those around you in all sorts of ways. Those of us who understand wealth generation, both physical and spiritual, understand that what you receive is in direct proportion to what you provide in value to others. Becoming your own source of abundance starts a cycle where you create from within, you share and provide value to others and that value is returned to you in the form of all that you desire. and THAT is the real reason why happiness is so important. It benefits everyone.
Don't let anyone tell you that focusing on your own happiness is selfish or trivial. When you break past the old paradigms that everyone else's happiness should come before your own, you move toward abundance and you end up providing more for those around you than you ever thought possible. Get to peace and happiness in 40 days here.