If you are searching for the answer to "How to be Happy", then you already have a sense that happiness is available to you and also within your power to have, but perhaps you believe something is eluding you in bringing it about. Perhaps you are seeing it as something to be accomplished and outside of you?
That you recognize that there is a glitch somewhere means you are in touch with your feelings and more importantly, that we are meant to be happy, and this is progress towards connecting to happiness.
But the deeper questions beyond asking how to be happy remain: What is happiness? and What is its Source?
I grew up believing that doing what others expected of me was as good as it was going to get. My primary motivation was making sure others were not upset, and if I was lucky, making them proud.
Diligently following all the world's rules seemed to be the answer to both safety and accomplishment. But it was not until I started college that I realized that that was certainly not happiness.
I remember a teacher telling me as she tried to help me decide on a major, "Just think back to a time when you were happy. What were you doing?" To my disbelief, I could not pinpoint a single time!
Not connecting to a single memory in my past where I felt happy was a “wake up” call for me. It was obvious that I did not know how to be happy. I further discovered that very early in life I came to the conclusion that how I felt about anything did not seem to be important or matter.
Though it took months of practice for me to identify and reconnect with my feelings, I was grateful to feel emotionally connected when I did. I now pay attention and welcomed my emotions good or bad because they provide valuable information to me.
As I explored my feelings, I noticed how happiness seemed to be associated with certain places, circumstances and with certain people in my life.
I assumed that if I could just get all the “right” people and circumstances (make money, have someone love me, etc.) I would magically find happiness.
Happiness to me meant feeling special or proud. When I had high self-esteem I seemed to be happy and unhappy when I felt devalued. But to be happy all the time seemed impossible.
The key to how to be happy escaped my grasp. Life circumstances changed and people came in and out of my life, there was no external constancy. Soon, I turned my attention inward for answers.
In asking how to be happy, perhaps you are also assuming the Source of happiness is outside of yourself and you want to know the secrets to acquiring it, as if it was something to accomplish with our own doing, or a reward for doing the "right" things.
In my experience there is nothing outside of me that holds the key to “How to Be Happy” within. Happiness is an internal function that we connect to when we recognize the inherent value of our essential being, which does not need to become "something" or "somebody" to trust that it is loved, valuable and without lack.
As a student of A Course in Miracles I have learned to equate true forgiveness with happiness
In my search for how to be happy, I discovered that my desire to find happiness masked a deeper longing, call it spiritual in nature if you like, but it was a desire for a state of being that could not be shaken, that was permanent and made me feel complete.
As I observed my thoughts, feelings, beliefs and choices, I realized that they were like ripples on a lake, life’s drama being played out, forming patterns of disturbance on what was only a very thin layer of my consciousness. What lay beneath was the unchartered depth of my subconscious mind.
Fortunately, Emotional Freedom Techniques came to me and soon became my favorite tool for diving into the murky waters of my subconscious mind. I made important self discoveries.
For one, I found that my feelings do not have an external origin. In fact, I found that all unhappiness seen in a situation, oneself or another person (registered emotionally as sadness, anger, fear, dissatisfaction, etc.) are just reflecting an internal disturbance, or reaction, arising from negative thoughts, beliefs, and or judgments and which is fundamentally a choice based on an incorrect belief of who/what I am.
What an incredible discovery: unhappiness, and therefore happiness, is the reflection of what I believe I am!
As I learned to release the conflicting images of who I
thought I was, positive and negative, with EFT, I connected to that permanent Self or state that is
always within us and reflects perfect peace, fulfillment and joy: our energetic essence or life-force called Spirit, Prana, Chi, God etc.
The guidance I can offer to answer "How to be happy?" is to look within, find the blocks that are covering up the happiness that is already there, and yours by divine right, and release them.
The question to ask as you look at your unhappiness is not "How to be happy?" But rather, “Where within me is this dissatisfaction coming from?”
This will take you to the self-image, belief, judgement or memory where you misperceived life and yourself and learned something that is not in alignment with spiritual truth. That is what needs healing.
By recognizing that the outer world reflects our inner world, we empower ourselves to begin to change our mind about our self, so the outer will reflect what is truly our nature: love and happiness.
There are many tools available to us for releasing non-serving negative beliefs, emotions and misperceptions of our self. I already mentioned EFT.
Observing how your mind works will give you greater power in changing your negative patterns of reacting. A spiritual practice like Meditation or Yoga are helpful in doing this too.
For those of you that are familiar with self-muscle testing, I offer the technique that I use called the Ramos Clearing Technique and is available as a free download to help you let go of non-serving beliefs and help you keep your attention in the present moment.
Here are some of the blocks and patterns that I have found interfere with happiness:
1. Blaming our negative feelings (our unhappiness) on external things, on what other people do and say or/and blaming ourselves.
2. Powerlessness--believing that our unhappy reactions are caused by external forces and we can't change them.
3. Attachment to the idea that happiness is something we can lack and resides outside of us in a thing, situation or person and “if only” we had that, or had achieved that, or lived over there, or had not gone through that, etc." we would be happy.
4. Comparing and judging ourselves and others.
5. Finding ourselves unworthy of happiness.
5. Holding on to resentment and unforgiveness.
6. Believing/feeling that there are benefits to suffering
and unhappiness (i.e. that it can make us special).
7. Being afraid of happiness, of our true and loving divine nature.
A Different Approach to How to Be Happy:
I ask, "What is making me feel unhappy?"
I focus my attention and tune in to the unhappy situation noticing any feelings that showing up. I pick one to focus my attention on and as I to EFT tapping, I ask myself, "Where is this feeling coming from?"
Information will surface, maybe a thought, an event, an image or belief.
Tune in to what shows up then. Often it is a judgement, a belief that says I "should", or a limiting self image that has been "written on my wall". It is an internal program that we accepted and that runs our life mostly subconsciously giving rise to our feelings, reactions and personal perception of the external world.
The blocks to happiness are found at the level of our "programming" or stored information in our mind. It is hard to see this because we don't usually question our thoughts and beliefs (please see my book Beyond Self-esteem for more information on how our programming works).
Practicing EFT daily has taught me that I have a choice in how I feel and how I see things. When I change my mind, I shift my point of view and see the “unhappy” situation differently.
I don’t ever need to feel unhappy or disappointed or angry, etc. about anything! That is freedom and a part of happiness! See "Feeling Angry? Let it Go With Emotional Freedom Techniques.
If I let go of all conditions and limitations to happiness that are "written on my wall", I am free to be happy under every condition and at every moment! This is a permanent state of being!
Try this exercise: Look back at your past and remember a moment when you felt deeply fulfilled and complete and it was not triggered by something external (an achievement or something someone gave you, etc.).
Go as deeply as possible into that memory. Notice that your sense of self is in a state of being, of “I am” and not in identification with a concept of yourself that has a label like, “I am special, I am a great mother, I am a good daughter, I am a winner, I am top dog, etc.”
Here the “I am” has nothing following it which allows the mind to open up and receive the knowing that it is a part of everything!
This knowing is what brings about the deep feeling of wellness and connection will All.
Now, think about an unhappy situation in your current life.
Make a list of how you feel and how you are judging yourself, others, and the world. Notice the corresponding physical sensations that go with those thoughts.
These are the internal blocks to your happiness that need clearing so that happiness can be revealed. Not sure that you want to experience happiness in that situation?
It could mean that there is psychologically reversal, meaning that you are divided in your desire for happiness. Who would not want to be happy? You would be surprised at how many contradictory beliefs we subconsciously hold.
We can be quite vested in remaining unhappy. Perhaps we learned to fear happiness or may find some benefit in unhappiness. This split in desire prevents our true desire from manifesting.