That is how Carl Jung defined happiness…
But what does it mean for you?
I hear a lot of people say, ‘I just want to be happy’.
Does your happiness come from buying new items? giving to others without receiving? Having lots of friends? a satisfying job? Only we can define our own happiness.
So, where does our sense of happiness come from? And what does it mean to feel happy? Do we need to be smiling all the time?
Research suggests that happiness is a mix of how satisfied you are with your own life and how great you feel from day to day. I guess what they are really saying is that stability equals happiness, how content we are with ourselves and the world.
Our genes and environment do play a part. If we were born in a lovely, safe environment, with happy people who supported us, we are more likely to grow up happy and content. If the environment was stressful, unsupportive or abusive, you could say that life may be more difficult.
The good thing is that whatever our situation was or is, we have the power to change it for the better. Whether that be through therapy, or other ways. In other words we have the ability to control how we feel, through understanding and being compassionate with ourselves. We can literally rewire the neural pathways in our brain to feel more positive emotions. Our brains shows plasticity, it can change and grow.
This doesn’t mean that there will suddenly be an absence of negative emotions in our lives. We still experience the whole spectrum of human emotions, it’s just whether we see these emotions as moments of opposition, being stuck, or moments of growth and opportunity.
So what can I do?
- First understand the reasons why you are unhappy.
- Remember it is easy to and ruminate about the negative stuff, as our brains are wired to pay more attention to these things. So don’t beat yourself up.
- Give someone a compliment, or thank someone for their efforts.
- Random acts of kindness. These are huge at the moment and it is known to spread feelings of joy.
- But remember doing things for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s self-care.
It’s not an easy thing to work through. Accepting the past, changing ourselves – both can provoke anxiety, sadness, loss and take us out of our comfort zone where we have felt a sense of security for so long. It also challenges our defences. These are mostly unconscious, they are like our armour and protect us from getting hurt. But while they may have served us well in the past, now they may need understanding and casting off. We may even unconsciously seek out relationship patterns from the past, although not great for us, again they are familiar and safe. If we have the courage to challenge these, it may go some way to us finding that happiness we seek.
Finally, someone the other day reminded me of Einstein and how he said we cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect the same results. So if you are feeling stuck and need some help, just get in touch.