So, everlasting happiness... I have the secret to it (honestly), just read on...
Lots of people talk of happiness, in particular how very, very important it is to be happy. I believe in getting the most out of life and this is something that I work with my clients on every day (and it's a gorgeous thing, obvs) but to be honest, I do get a bit irritated with the thought that being happy, as the media often use it, is the holy grail.
Wellbeing? Yes, contentment? Yes, understanding and love for my fellow man and animal kind? Yes, I'm there with you. But when we're sold 'happy' as a goal? I'm just not sure about that one.
I don't know about you, but I'm a human person being in the world and I experience up states and down states and I prefer to be accepting of all of those ways of being. As an aside, I find Christmas - a time when we are supposed to be happy, happy, happy! - quite annoying (am I alone in that?). How many other animals have their mood dictated by a season?
So, throughout my life and with my clients I have been working to accept all sides of ourselves as being useful - the happy and the sad, the elated and the grumpy, the carefree and the worried. I don't think you can have one without the other being fully present and accepted into the fold and embraced in all its power. You don't have to be stuck in those down states, but you can't get away from those being part of our experience.
So we hear the word all the time but how often do we actually stop to ask what happiness really is? I would argue that as a culture we confuse it with other feelings and emotions but most importantly we tend to forget the truth that:
Happiness is the journey, not the destination.
You get happy by creating something, experiencing connection, giving and receiving love, and by having the most fun it's possible to have being you. It isn't the moon you shoot for, it's the rocket you travel in.
The other thing about happiness is that I would argue that it really only comes as an assessment after the event - even if it's momentarily after. In order to feel happy about something we must first step out of the event to assess it. Now that is cosmic irony for you. You have to get out of the rocket to really experience it. In fact, it might only be later, on the moon, that you really notice it at all.
So I suggest that we focus on something else instead. How about feeling connected, fulfilled, contented and elated through serving and creating a legacy that is bigger than ourselves? Making a positive mark on the world and the people around us that only we could have made.
There it is - the secret to everlasting, real, deep, widespread happiness.
If you give many other people a chance to experience feeling good through your actions, the chances are that you will too and in every minute of the day that happiness will spread itself around - everlasting happiness becoming possible. A positive legacy. A happiness meme that comes from you and spreads out wider than you could ever imagine.
So if you want a shortcut to everlasting happiness, work out how you can leave that positive legacy. How can you serve the world? What is it, when you've gone, will be your positive marker on our universe? Perhaps it's as simple as spreading more good feeling - maybe in a smile that you could give freely on a grey morning? Would it be in creating a foundation or charity and asking everyone you know and many you don't, to donate, changing one life or thousands? Perhaps you would find it in mentoring someone who will then go on and spread so much more goodwill and happiness around the world than they might have previously have imagined possible, or maybe you have something else that you could create in your world that positively impacts others?
I have a goal for 2015 and beyond: To coach people around creating a legacy. Something that will impact the world and create a greater sense of wellbeing than they ever thought possible. That's what makes me happy. How about you?
There's a formula that can help in the game:
Create - Connect - Give and Receive Love - Have Fun (in no particular order)
I wonder how we could all go out in the world and use that formula to positively impact on the world and leave a legacy of happiness that really isn't about us but that impacts on our global levels of happiness, contentment and wellbeing so much more positively.
How can you create happiness? True, connected, created, love filled, fun-giving happiness? I'd love to hear your thoughts and if you'd like a conversation about how I can support you just let me know.
Kirsty Hanly is a Inspiring Lives Coach and Cognitive Hypnotherapist, working with individuals who want to live more connected, magical, inspiring lives.