MY PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and what I learned

ITS TRUE

I have spent my life in the pursuit of Happiness and to a greater extent I have achieved it. And as I look back I thought I would share what I learned, both from an emotional and physical viewpoint.

To start with I thought I should define what I thought happiness was as I have changed my view as I have gone through life.

HAPPINESS IS JUST ABOUT YOU

It all started with my mother who herself was hell bent on a life of happiness and damn the consequences, this led me to my first misconception which was put yourself first at all costs. She delivered this wisdom to me with the line “you can’t just spend your life being Happy” while she strived to do just that by putting herself first.

Now as a child this came as a bit of a shock, as a life that wasn’t happy was out of the question and as all good eight year olds I was determined to prove her wrong. And so for the next 30 odd years I strove to be happy in a very single minded way. And I must admit it did suit my lifestyle perfectly, as Mr Rock n Roll it was almost mandatory that I remained single and ready and able to party at a moments notice. My first confusion was thinking that

FUN EQUALLED HAPPINESS.

The obvious upside was I lived the lifestyle of a perpetual teenager, the unseen downside was I was unable to have a real emotional connection with people who really cared about me and so I missed out on a rich and meaningful life on a personal and emotional level. I was having fun…… but I wasn’t happy.

Also with this attitude I felt no remorse as I never pretended to be anything else, so I behaved in this misogynistic way thinking I was the luckiest and happiest guy on earth and indeed I was…until

DEPRESSION IS NOT HAPPINESS

I didn’t know I was depressed as I had woken up every day happy, so I had nothing to relate this new feeling too, however I knew it wasn’t happiness and as that was my life long pursuit then I would have to get on top of it. I tried this originally by surrounding myself with people that were also unhappy (this is not a good way to get happy) and so my happiness slipped away and a new feeling took hold.

It got pointed out to me in no uncertain terms that I was the author of my own emotional well being and if I wanted to feel happy again then I would need to take the feelings of other people into consideration. This was a new concept and I struggled to put it into practice, but like everything you set your mind on, you can achieve it only one day at a time. And over time I began to realise that  actually doing things for other people just for the fun of it could make you feel good and so now I equated….

HAPPINESS AS A SERVICE

I was now hooked on doing things for people, often at my own expense. but this didn’t matter as the feeling I got was enough payment in its self. I found myself saying YES to everyone and it got to be such a habit that I found myself unable to say NO.

For a while this new found feeling was like crack cocaine and I found myself addicted to the pursuit of happiness through service. But then it began to wear off as it slowly dawned on me that there was always someone to take advantage but no one was reciprocating……there was only one thing to do

HAPPINESS IS SAYING NO

Like taking feelings into consideration, learning to say NO was just one day at a time, I started by being brutally honest.

“Sorry I can’t come and help you concrete your driveway as I am going to the beach  Saturday” wow that was the most exhilarating feeling in the world..I was free from helping slavery and now I could pick and choose who to give my time to. I was starting to feel happier about myself and it was this new found self empowerment that was at the core.

HAPPINESS IS VALUES BASED

I realised that I was getting happier not because of what I was or wasn’t doing, but because what I chose to do was now based on my core values. I wasn’t doing things to please others, I wasn’t doing things to prove other people wrong, I wasn’t doing things to make me look good, I was doing them because they felt right.

And what has come out of all this? My self obsession with living a happy life. I have come to realise that we are NOT happy all the time, and nor should we be. It is unreasonable to think that happiness is something permanent and that if we are not happy then in some way we are sick and need treatment.

The drug companies and medical profession make a fortune off selling HAPPINESS to you as if it is your default setting, for a lot of people it is not. Also health magazines and magazines in general like to portray you as being less of a person if you are not happy. It is a lie.

However it is possible to be happy and some of the most simple things are at hand.

. Be grateful for what you have, striving for other peoples dreams will not make you happy.

. Take time to look around you at the beauty that is nature and try to be one with it.

. Set realistic tasks for yourself to achieve, happiness comes from a feeling of a job well done.

. do things for other people, but not to the detriment of your own happiness.

. Live life by your values and don’t put them aside for anyone.

And finally money neither makes you happy or sad, it is the value you place on it that is important.

AS USUAL

feel free to disagree and if you can be motivated enough please tell me what you think. I appreciate the time people take to agree or not…..it makes me happy

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About Nick

I don't say things to be liked I say them because I mean them. Reputation doesn't come from being liked it comes from standing for something.

2 Responses to MY PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and what I learned

  1. Peter Fletcher-Dobson July 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    These thoughts and your legendary “wall” post really resonate with me Nick. While not being a Buddhist I always like the concept that “life is suffering” until I read that this was a really bad translation of what Buddha really meant. Which, I think, is that essentially life is both good and bad, peaks and troughs. But it’s only been through getting into meditation over the last couple of years, and it now becoming daily, that I’ve actually understood that what I think he really meant was that the good and bad are just transient thoughts or feelings that come and go, and they’re not really you. I’ve found that happiness comes from that space that’s left when I’m not chasing those good or bad thoughts.

    • Nick July 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

      Hi Peter, thanks for your thoughtful response. There is a danger that like lots of things that are bad for us we tend to wear them as a sign of our resilience and in doing so we lose sight of the fact that, just like shoes we wore when we were two they no longer fit us.

      But like all familiar addictions often so hard to let go, as the fear of that openness to the new is more frightening than the pain of the present.

      As you so aptly point out to be able to look in on yourself and your thinking and realise that you could view an experience from both good and bad but at that place where neither matters is indeed the sweat spot.
      Cheers
      Nick

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