One thing that many people struggle with is finding their own unique happiness. We’ve all seen a version of the following scenario: a happy birthday party at home for a friend or family member’s child and amidst all the cake, presents, and fun toys in what would seem like a fun environment for the child, the child cries and appears completely upset. I have experienced moments where everything would seem to be going as planned in my life; however, on the inside, the inner turmoil of different stresses drown out whatever light may by trying to enter.
A perfect example would be when I graduated high school and was off to the University of Georgia. (GOOOOOOOOO DAWGSS!) I was going to the school of my dreams, I was about to have the best summer before I left, and I was rooming with one of my best friends. It would seem like I had my life together and was going to have the most enjoyable time. But in fact, the week before I left for college, I had second thoughts and at one point considered taking a gap year and re-thinking the whole college thing. I thought my happiness was going to a school that so many people considered amazing and that I needed to go to have the right college “experience” and get this big corporate job to “make it”.
Unfortunately, many of us go about happiness in the wrong way. Despite what we may believe, quite often, we don’t really seek out our own happiness at all. Many of us don’t know ourselves well enough to conceptualize what we actually want. We conform to the notions and ideals of our society, our family and other influences that can drown out our own point of view. Many times within our communities, workplace, and group of friends, we fail to differentiate ourselves and realize we have a unique value in the society around us. Quite often we have outside ideas and influences that creep into our conscious slowly, but surely and overtake our mindset, causing us to try and seek out someone else’s form of happiness. The solution to dealing with this is separating your mind from those thoughts and ideas. In this sense of separation, I don’t mean completely alienating yourself from those around you, but more of peeling back unwanted layers that shield you from achieving your unique purpose. Many times we have internalized tendencies based off of how other people treat us or have treated us in the past. Their direct or indirect actions deeply affect our conscious effort to create a happiness we are proud of and embody.
To seek happiness, we have to realize the personal power we already possess. It’s important to constantly remind ourselves of the profound effect that we alone have over our destiny. This means both dropping the baggage from our past and resisting any urge to play the victim and allow the happiness to be drained. When we acknowledge our power, we have a much stronger sense of resilience and can better handle any hardships that arise. Happiness involves transcendent goals. What I mean by this is that people are much happier when they create goals that are bigger than them and have a deeper meaning.
I have heard from many friends that they get more pleasure out of giving than getting, and that they are the happiest when they consider a positive change has taken place. When you acknowledge your true potential, and strive to achieve your goals and long sought after ambitions, you are embracing what makes you unique. Being unique and different is an amazing thing when it leads to the realization of your inner happiness. When we are authentic and happy individuals, we are far better for the people around us, for our businesses, and for society at large. We are better family members, students, parents, better bosses, coworkers and friends. As you follow the path you carve for yourself, you can expect old influences to seep in and critical inner voices to flood your head. Yet, finding your happiness means silencing those inner demons and celebrating the unique, fun-loving, creative, and worthy individual that remains.
By Christian Alexander