My Thoughts on Happiness

My friend Garnie recently shared his thoughts about creating more happiness in his life, and I’d like to share my thoughts on the subject as well. Garnie shared his thoughts in a video, and I applaud his thoughts and approach, but I’m better at writing than I am making videos, so I’m happy to share my thoughts in written form.

Happiness… everybody wants it and everybody deserves it. But what do we have to do to be happy? Do we have to do anything to get it? What, exactly, is happiness? Is happiness a destination or a journey?

happiness

If you Google “happiness”, you’ll find it defined simply as “the state of being happy”.

Before I share my thoughts on happiness, let me share with you the fact that I spent years of my younger life suffering from severe mental illness. I was deeply unhappy. I was miserable. I drank heavily and I used drugs to numb the pain and the deep unhappiness that was my life. I spent years trying and failing to get through school, and I spent years working low-wage, dead-end jobs. My life sucked and my self-esteem was basically zero. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be me or anyone wanting to live my life. I would look in the mirror and hate what I saw — a broke loser who could never manage to get his life together. I tried and I failed to commit suicide several times over the years. I desperately wanted to die so the pain would stop, but I also desperately wanted to live, in spite of how bad my circumstances were.

Let me share what life is like now in the here and now of 2016. I am on Disability for the bipolar disorder that was finally properly diagnosed in 1998, when I was 32. I have lived with my father in Alaska for 12 years, and in that time I have not needed to work. I have responsibilities around the house, and for quite a while I regularly attended NAMI meetings here in Anchorage. The few times I have had to be hospitalized for severe bipolar depression, I have gotten the help that I needed. Alaska has a fantastic mental health care system in place, and I think it should be a model for the other 49 states to follow.

Over the years, I have experienced several bouts of deep bipolar depression that was so bad and so painful that it made me want to end my life so the pain would stop. I know how awful depression feels. I know how awful deep sadness feels.

Now… let me share some thoughts on happiness.

Happiness to me is a journey rather than a destination. Happiness is not something to be chased after or to be obtained. Happiness isn’t something that’s for sale. It cannot be bought with any amount of money or with any material possession.
Happiness is… a state of being. Happiness is WHAT WE ARE. Happiness is our natural state of being. Happiness is our birthright. As the famous mystic Hafiz famously said,

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.‚ÄĚ

My happiness is not dictated by circumstances. Feelings come and go. Thoughts come and go. Life situations come and go.

But deep down inside, in the very core of my being… I am happy 24/7. I am not just happy, I am ecstatic! This is not emotion I am talking about. It is WHO I AM, and it is WHO YOU ARE.

I feel happiness as a state of being burning brightly inside of me all the time. 24/7, non-stop.

I suffer from mental illness. I don’t have a job. I don’t have many material possessions. I don’t have very much money. I don’t have a college degree.

But I no longer see happiness as something to be pursued or worked for or worked toward. Happiness is simply WHO I AM as a human being. And it is also WHO YOU ARE as a human being. Real, lasting peace and real, lasting happiness is to be found deep inside at the core of your being. EVERYBODY has access to happiness free of charge. Again, you don’t have to pursue it and you don’t have to work for it. YOU ARE HAPPINESS. It’s yours as your birthright as a human being.

My greatest wish for you is to realize the happiness that you already have available to you for free deep inside. It’s there. It always has been.

Important Life Questions

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of Jim Rohn lately and in his book My Philosophy for Successful Living, he says that taking the time to sit down and write out our goals for the present, the near future and the more remote future is a necessary step in transforming our life. He then suggests that we stop and ask ourselves these important questions:

  • What do you want for yourself?
  • What do you want for your family?
  • What do you want for your business?
  • How much are you willing to give?
  • How much do you want to share?
  • What are your goals?
  • Are these goals inspiring?
  • How do they make you feel?

I’ve been thinking off and on all day about these questions and I plan to take the time to write down my goals and answer them tomorrow. I’m just too tired to do it tonight and it’s getting late.

Follow That Dream!

I am listening to a training series called Maximum Impact by Dr. Lance Wallnau. I found the CD set at Title Wave Books here in Anchorage. It was on sale in their clearance rack for $1.99 and it was money very well spent!

I have listened to the first CD in the set of four so far. Dr. Wallnau spoke about how people who are self-actualized are not stressed out but are instead moving in a state called “flow”. He spoke about¬†synchronicity and coincidences and divine appointments. I don’t know about all that, but I have experienced the state of “flow” he is talking about and it is wonderful.

Dr. Wallnau also spoke about how happiness doesn’t come from having money or possessions. It comes from within when we are living our passions and are present in our lives 100%. We feel frustration when some part of us is not being fully expressed.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)

We also need to have a vision. People like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had a vision that was calling to them, a future that was seeking to be manifested. I too have a future as a fitness professional that is seeking to be manifested! I must become more so that I can help others to become more than they currently are, to be more physically fit than they currently are!

Self-actualization is what I am after. I wish to learn how to be “in flow” more often so that I can connect with others more effectively and help them fully express themselves and realize their dreams!