Believe it or not, so much of what we think about happiness is a lie. Our own perception of happiness is often times the very thing that keeps us from being happy. There are many misconceptions and myths about happiness but these five in particular are some of the more common. Let’s explore these happiness myths and learn how we can move past them to find genuine happiness right now.
#1: Happiness means you don’t have any problems
A huge happiness myth is that if you’re happy, you don’t have any problems. Not only is this a huge misconception but it’s also a giant barrier between you and happiness. It’s not until we realize that we can be happy in the midst of, or despite, our problems, that we can arrive in a genuine place of ease and peace. There will always be conflict, unforeseen circumstances, and difficulties in life. Learning how to allow space for those things while still holding space for our own happiness is a process, but it is possible.
#2: You have to be confident to be happy
Most of them time, we look at happy people and they seem to exude confidence. It would make sense then that if we want to be happy we must also be confident, which is a problem for most of us who have at least a little bit of insecurity hanging around. What we don’t realize though, is those people have just as much insecurity (and problems) as we do. But once you allow yourself to be happy, it begins to lend itself to confidence. You don’t have to be confident to be happy; happiness gives you confidence.
#3: When you’re happy you love everything about your life
Much like the happiness myth about not having any problems, people often believe that happy people love everything about their life. It could be their job, the car they drive, their boss, their family. But no matter where you are in life, there’s always something. There’s always that one thing that just isn’t quite right, doesn’t fit, and kind of makes you wish things were different. The idea of true happiness is to not focus on that one thing (or the two, five, ten things) that aren’t exactly what you want them to be, and to focus on all the other things that are really great about your life. A great quote by author James Redfield says, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” Choose to see the good in your life and you’ll keep finding more of it.
One way of rerouting your attention to the more positive things in your life is to keep a gratitude journal. Try this 21 day Gratitude Challenge by Terri Trespicio at the Huffington Post.
#4: Everyone around you is happy too
A common misconception about happy people is that they aren’t surrounded by negative people like the rest of us. While there is something to be said about choosing to spend time with people who are positive and happy, it’s not always in our control – like the cranky co-worker who always has something to say, the boss who is never satisfied, or the grumpy sibling who somehow finds something wrong in every situation. Sometimes we can’t get away from negative, unhappy people. The key is to not allow those people to affect your happiness. Easier said than done, but completely possible. Realize that it is themselves they are unhappy with and that it has nothing to do with you. Don’t attach yourself to their misery, but choose instead to find true happiness within yourself.
#5: When I get XYZ, then I’ll be happy
Possibly the biggest happiness myth and most ingrained way of thinking is that happiness can be found once you – get that raise, get a new car, get married, quit smoking, move out of your mothers basement. While those are all great things, they are not a prerequisite for happiness. It is possible to be happy and still struggle to make enough money or constantly repair your car or be single and still live in your parent’s basement. That’s not to say we shouldn’t strive to make positive, healthy movement in our lives – absolutely, we should. However, it is to say that you can be happy in the meantime and happy in the process.
Once we realize that true happiness is a choice and it isn’t dependent on outside circumstances, we can begin a journey inward and find our own happiness right where we are. Remember that other people’s unhappiness doesn’t have to affect your own and that your happiness is not tied to any problems you might be facing today. Allow yourself to be happy, find things you enjoy and be kind to yourself in the process. Let go of your misconceptions and move past them so you can find a genuine happiness.
Feature photo: Hean Prinsloo