Waiting for Happiness

by - December 17, 2014

...to come knocking on my door.

How can I be happier? Why can't I stop crying? Why can't I be happy? Will I ever be happy again? What is that horrible heaviness in my chest and why won't it go away? I'll never be happy. These are just a few of the thoughts I have been having the past few years and I've made many attempts to do something about it. Some worked, some failed. In this post I'm not promising your happiness or telling you how to be happy because there is no happiness guide.

Most of your happiness depends on your own mindset and a small percentage on your environmental factors, such as living conditions, finance, upbringing and even genes! This is a most important and reassuring thing to remember. Your happiness is within your control. Though you shouldn't seek to control your life, you'll find out why further down this post. As psychologist William James put it 

"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude." 

There is hope.

My 2014 Jar of Dreams
I've done a lot of growing up while trying to 'master' the art of what we all seem to be looking for. Happiness. I spent one block of my life waiting for happiness to come knocking on my door and when that didn't happen I spent the other block of it searching for it. Out of frustration I watched motivational vloggers on YouTube, listened to motivational speakers, read self-help books and blogs that promised to improve my life, set myself monthly challenges and endlessly googled "How to be happy" to fill the gap in my life. It turned out that though I have been through some rough times (especially the past year) there was no gap, nothing taken from me. I only gained in life experience. My happiness? Well, it was there the whole time even in the darkest of times. I just never thought to practice it in my dark times.

Waiting to be happy

Through my teen years if ever a bad time were to arise I'd wait it out, ploughed through it thinking that happiness would come to me one day. I never knew what form it would take but I had some sort of idea. In the form of love. Now there's a common one, I thought that I'd find love and live happily ever after and that I should just wait for that. In the form of money. When I become a fashion designer or published author one day I'll never be this sad. In the form of freedom. When I move out and lead my own life I'll never be this sad

Fast-forward to my 20s. I found love, earned enough money to excessively shop and became independent but was still so unhappy.

I decided then that I would try to find ways to be happy. There must be a method or secret that happy people employ and I need to try that. Here's my journey...

Trying to be happy

In 2012 I read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. It was a month-by-month project to improve her happy scale in the smallest possible ways, like focusing on her marriage and cleaning the house, and it worked. I went on to follow her journey, taking tips and improving my life too.

So I cleared out the clutter in my house to clear my mind. I also decided to undertake the most daunting task of all, clearing out my loft which had for a long time become the dumping ground for my unwanted clothes, shoes and other bits. I sold a lot of them on eBay and threw out 9 bin bags. This did increase my happy factor, but only for a while. So what was really wrong with me?

Turning on the light

I didn't set out to turn on the light this year. It just happened when I stopped trying to find methods to be happy and expecting a result from them. 

At the start of the year I made my Jar of Dreams. It was literally a jam jar with each of the dreams I wanted to accomplish during the year They ranged from starting YouTube to dancing in the rain and I had so much fun with it. I picked each one out at my will whenever I wanted to. It worked because I stopped looking for and expecting happiness to come from the challenges I undertook like my previous years. Instead, I took my Jar of Dreams as an opportunity to try fun things without expecting an outcome. This resulted in happiness only because I was already unknowingly happy.

Happiness was already there

It still took me until October to realise this. Happiness is already there, you just need to learn how to use it! 

I spent a lot of time trying to find and work a happiness manual. What came of the result? Nothing. I was still the same person I had been, the one waitingsearching and actively trying out new challenges all in vain. The biggest lesson I learnt this year was that happiness is not something to be 'mastered' or found but rather something that is already unknowingly there. We have it in us even in the worst of moments. We just need to learn to use it and from there nurture it.

In my anticipation for happiness to land on my doorstep I continued to feel down. In my search for happiness I only found what had already been.
You cannot 'master' happiness, you can only realise that it was already there the whole time untended to. There was no gap in my life. My mind was clogged with the should-do's and must-do's. 

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