I've always been slightly obsessed with the pursuit of happiness. Not the movie. The real thing. How do we attain happiness and how do we damn well keep it.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm probably just as happy as the next person. But I can't help to feel as if I've always been waiting for The Big Happy. You know, that moment in life where all will be exactly as it should. When my career, finances, relationships and health are in a beautifully perfect place. The moment when I can say to myself - "Well done, girl. You've achieved all your goals." As I write this I am obviously totally aware that this moment will never come.
The moment where everything is absolutely perfect in every aspect of your life will never come.
Unless... unless... we learn a new trick.
The trick is to start seeing perfection as it is in our lives right now. Yes. Right now.
Yes, I'm talking to you in the size 18 pants with the failed business who moved back to your Mom's.
Let me tell you: It's a great skill to practise gratitude and happiness while you perceive your life to be shit. Sidenote - have you seen how happy those families are in Africa, who live the simple life, only with their family, basic foods and very basic shelter? Unhappiness is way more prominent in our first world countries!
Bacon not quite crispy enough this morning?
I don't mean to trivialize anyone's (or my own) problems. In fact, I am the biggest drama diva of all. Poverty. Violence. Scary Childhood. I wear all those badges very proudly on my victim jacket. But to some extent I am learning that if I do not accept the status quo and find contentment in any situation, The Big Happy will always elude me.
Okay, so I have to admit that when I started studying the guru's and Deepak Chopra's of the world, I could not see life as a lotus flower and feel a sense of total gratitude for the journey that has been bestowed upon me.
But something must have stuck, because now almost naturally I continuously find myself saying thanks. I pray and say thanks for everything that I am grateful for. And when I start, there's no stopping! My mind starts rolling and the list of amazing things gets longer and longer. From an amazing super duper hero husband to wonderful friends in my life. From an awesome paradise I call home to my warm flannel sheets in winter. And despite not being my dream size 8, I am actually totally happy with my curvaceous smoking hot body. So I say thanks for that too! For goodness sake, I live in total health with the fitness and strength to do anything I put my mind to. What's not hot about that?
Having gratitude for the small things every day, seems to bring me much closer to The Big Happy.
But I found that together, with gratitude I needed something more.
In my studies (and obsession) with human behaviour I found an interesting concept that many experts were agreeing upon. The concept is that we, as human beings, set subconscious rules for happiness within ourselves. We don't always consciously know about them, and we are not always able to articulate these rules. But if you focus on it you may be surprised with what you find.
So that's what I did. I focused and became aware of these rules. I did this by simply listening to my inner thoughts, yet not reacting to it.
Greatest thing I could have ever done.
"I can only be happy once I have the perfect career. I can only be happy once I've lost 7kgs. I can only be happy once I find my partner. I can only be happy once I have $1,000,000 in my bank account."
Yes, these were once my personal rules that I was living with. Didn't even know they were there. Turns out my subconscious is quite a superficial little bitch, who measured happiness in all kinds of arbitrary figures.
Lastly, experts claim that our level of happiness will be largely affected by our personality traits (those things ya Momma gave ya), your personal experiences, your culture and your beliefs about yourself.
Therefore, listen up ... it will NEVER (Ever, Ever, Ever) be possible or natural for all of us humans to reach the same level of happiness.
No one has the same unique combination of traits, experiences and background as you. No one has your unique identity and special God given purpose. Comparing and concluding that everyone else is happier than you is a very exhausting hobby. And when you look a bit deeper, you will find that it's all bull shit anyway.
Your ultimate level of happiness, does NOT have to mean you are laughing all the way to the bank on your jet-ski, showing your bedazzled bleached teeth as you take a selfie for Facebook.
No. Your ultimate happiness can include some bitching. It can include some swearing.
It can even include the occasional overconsumption of cheap wine on weeknights.
It's YOUR happy. And you can cry if you want to.