Pursuing Happiness

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

― Aristotle

Ask most any American and they’ll tell you that they have a “right” to be happy, the United States Declaration of Independence says so. It’s an “unalienable right” (a right that cannot be denied) the Declaration says, that has been given to them by their Creator.

So, if we’ve a God-given right to be happy, and we’re not, then it’s somebody else’s fault, right?

But that’s playing the “victim card”.

What most Americans (and just about everyone else) overlooks is the word “pursuit”. The Declaration says the “pursuit of happiness” is a right, as human beings, to follow our dreams, do what we can, and avail ourselves of any and all opportunities to attain happiness (so long as it is legal, moral and ethical; nothing that infringes on the person or rights – or happiness – of another.) But happiness is just like everything else in life – if we want it we have to do something to get it, we have to work for it.

Okay, so how do we get to our happy place? Well, that’s pretty much up to each of us. Here I list in order of difficulty (for me – you know better where you need to start) 7 suggestions:

1). Look for the positive in everything. Happy people choose to look on the bright side. We can’t control what life dishes out, so why get down about it? Ignore the negatives, it’s just as easy to focus on the positives.

2. Surround ourselves with happy people. Happiness is contagious. So is unhappiness. If we surround ourselves with people who always complain about how unfair the world is, or if they consistently spend their time judging others, that indicates how they feel about themselves – they’re unhappy. Find and associate with happy people.

3. Take care of ourselves. Stress can take a serious toll on our body and mind. Eliminate to the extent possible everything in our daily lives that causes stress. Obviously, we can’t eliminate every stress, but we can “de-stress” by taking some “me time”, time alone to do whatever works – take a walk, go to the gym, meditate, putter in the garden.

4. Pursue a passion. Whatever makes our life fulfilling. Read, write the great American novel (or a blog post), travel, paint, volunteer work, further education. People that have an interest or hobby they are passionate about are generally happier.

5. Be happy with who we are. Nobody is perfect, we are all flawed goods. Not only accept who we are, but love ourselves, warts and all, and don’t try to be something or someone we’re not. Trying to be something different than we are is lying to ourselves. And we know it. And it’ll make us even more unhappy.

6). Don’t buy-in to marketing. Possessions – things – are not what happiness is all about. Things might make our life easier, nicer, but they only give a temporary and false sense of happiness (what we have is never enough after a while and can disappear overnight.)

7). Don’t expect someone else to make us happy. It’s not their job.

So, if we’re unhappy, strive, pursue happiness. It’s our god-given right to try, and it’s within all of us to achieve.

It all depends on each of us. If we’re unhappy, we’ve no one to blame except ourselves.

– Bill


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