Happiness isn’t a pursuit, it’s an essential ingredient of life. It is your default factory setting as a human being. Naturally, you will always find it difficult to function without contentment and happiness.
If that’s the case, what causes unhappiness? What is the origin of sadness and suffering?
As a human being, you function via your deeply held beliefs. When your beliefs and ideas are not in line with the reality of existence, you form a false perception about life. You experience sadness and suffering only within this false perception. When you live in reality, or better said when you live “the reality”, you no longer suffer or become unhappy.
Beliefs act as a basis, as a ground where your thoughts, choices, and behaviors take place. All your thoughts and actions are the manifestations of your own beliefs. These operating instructions (beliefs) were established early in your childhood when you were learning from culture and education. You hold onto your beliefs so firmly that you never bother to question them. Thus, your invalid beliefs are seldom (or never) identified or updated.
A natural process in every living creature is normalizing after any intense activity. As a human being, you will always be driven back to the state of happiness no matter how many false beliefs you have. Below, I have pointed out some popular beliefs in the society that are founded on unwholesome ideas and need to be verified.
Beliefs that stifle your happiness:
1. You need the motivation to work hard: Your actions are the manifestations of your deep driving desires. Unless and until your desire is powerful enough to initiate the action, you cannot make a difference. No matter how motivated you are on the surface. Ironically, counting on motivation for doing something productive will end up making you unhappy. Motivation goes on and off depending on feelings — here today, gone tomorrow. Practically speaking, only when propelled by a strong desire, will you take action according to your skills and put in efforts until the result is achieved. That said, it is also important to understand what your purpose as a human being is, in order to determine the right course of action.
2. No pain, No Gain: Yet another belief that you have to be hard on yourself to achieve something. It is as much wrong as it is popular. Widely accepted beliefs like this one lead to the habit of negative self-talk. A constant inner monologue about how you haven’t worked hard enough or don’t have potential only builds up depression, anxiety, and stress. Working like a beaver with directionless hardship gives rise to only pain and mental turmoil. The truth is that you have infinite potential. Your acquired inhibitions keep your talent subdued. If you are in pain it simply means your direction is unnatural and wrong. The belief that you need to go through pain is damaging and arises from the prevalent unhealthy ideologies in society.
3. Self Worth = Net worth: Materialism is dominating the culture and money is the measure of all things in the world today. Your self worth depends on what you drive, where you live, and how much you earn. In this unwholesome atmosphere, you measure your self-worth based on how much you have accumulated. It is tragic to go through life believing that you are only significant and lovable if you are successful materialistically. The belief that happiness is followed by material success is wrong and needs to be rejected. The solution here is not to stop working hard or to stop aspiring for success, but to better understand the concept of self-worth.
4. Social validation amounts to happiness: Human beings are driven by “social validation”. Especially in these times of the Internet and social media, approval of others has become a necessity for individuals. The problem with seeking constant social validation is, you try to fit in, instead of coexisting naturally’. You live for superficial ‘acceptance and approval’, instead of living the naturally occurring harmony between you and other humans. When you fail to live upto the trends and ways of society, you feel unhappy, left out. You try even harder to fit in because you want to be happy, and a never-ending cycle of disappointment and sadness begins.
The reality of happiness…
You are a human being who is the union of two parts: the conscious soul and the physical body. The body has needs that are of physical objects. They bring comfort but not happiness. It is the non physical things called thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that bring happiness. Some points to consider:
- Happiness comes from doing meaningful things, having a sense of purpose in life.
- Happiness comes from interacting with other human beings and creating beautiful experiences.
- Happiness comes from having the answer to every why and how that comes in your imagination.
- Happiness comes from harmoniously coexisting with other human beings and with everything else in nature.
- Happiness is a feeling that is not measurable and needs to be always present, for it’s the default state of mind.