How To Find Happiness – It can’t be acquired
Hello, my name is Noah Elkrief, and in this blog post I’m going to talk about how to find happiness. So, the nature of the question sort of suggests that happiness is “out there”, and I need to find it, get it, acquire it, achieve it, attain it, or do something to make me happy. It almost seems obvious that this is true, right? It seems like we need something out there to give us happiness. But, I’m here to tell you that this is not the case at all. You can’t acquire happiness from some activity or achievement, and I’ll tell you why. In fact, I’ll show you why.
How to find happiness? Not in the ways you were taught!
Lets examine some of the things that we are taught can make us happy.
- You may think that an activity will make you happy. You might have been taught that if you just find a hobby that you enjoy, then you’ll be happy. But, how often can you engage in that hobby? An hour a day at most? So, that can’t make us happy.
- You might think success is the key to happiness. But, is everyone with success happy? No, of course not. So that can’t make you happy.
- You might believe that a marriage or a romantic partner can make you happy? But, is everyone in a relationship or married happy? No, of course not.
The reason why these types of things can’t make us happy is because they don’t address the cause of our unhappiness. So, instead of asking the question how to find happiness, let’s reverse it. Let’s ask the questions “What’s making me unhappy?” and then figure out how to I eliminate the cause of our unhappiness. That’s the shortcut here. Even more than that, it’s the only way to any type of lasting happiness or true fulfillment.
How to find happiness? Discover the cause of unhappiness and eliminate it
How to find happiness? Rather than do what everyone else does and try to get everything you ever wanted in life to make you happy, why not ask the radical, yet completely logical and obvious question of “What makes me unhappy?” And then take it from there. If we don’t first understand what makes us unhappy, it is practically impossible to ever truly find happiness.
So, what makes you unhappy:
- Thoughts that make you feel insufficient and unworthy.
- Thoughts that make you feel ashamed about your job and your life.
- Thoughts that create your anxiety about the future
- Thoughts that make you worry about what other people think
- Thoughts that judgments others, creating anger, resentment, and distance from others
- Thoughts that make you feel sad, angry, and guilty about events from the past
Thoughts are the only thing that makes you unhappy.
An exercise to see that thoughts are the only thing making you unhappy
Please take a moment to think about something that you enjoy doing. For example, you might enjoy watching a movie, hanging out with friends, cook, eating dessert, dancing, playing a sport, or playing with your kids. When you’re engaging in an activity you enjoy, aren’t you happy? Doesn’t all of your worry, anxiety, unworthiness, sadness, or anger disappear for a little while?
Well, why is that our unwanted emotions just vanish when we do something we enjoy? Simply because the activity is distracting you from your thoughts. When you don’t give attention to the thoughts that make you unhappy, you are left happy.
If you’re situation itself made you unhappy, then you would continue be unhappy as long as your situation was the same. For example, if your job directly created your feeling of being ashamed, then as long you had that job, you would be forced to feel shame. But that’s clearly not the case. When you’re distracted from your thoughts, you’re happy.
Now, you might be thinking that the activity itself creates your happiness. But, if the activity itself created happiness, then you would have no choice but to be happy every time you engaged with that activity. But, as you might have noticed, there are times when you are continue to worry about the future, think about the past, or judge the situation, when you are doing the activity you normally enjoy. And when you give attention to these thoughts while doing any activity, you don’t enjoy it. Therefore, the activity itself can’t be what creates happiness.
So, if you want to learn how to be happy, how to find happiness, just find the thoughts that make you unhappy and then address them. That’s it. It’s that simple. And luckily, that means you don’t need to get everything you want, and spend years trying to achieve it, worrying about whether you will ever achieve it, and so on and so forth in order to find happiness. No, it’s much, much easier than that.
How to stop thoughts from making you unhappy? Stop believing them
Now that you recognize that thoughts create unhappiness, you’re probably asking, “How do I address these thoughts? How do I get rid of them?” Well, the simple answer is, discover that they’re not true. Our emotions actually aren’t created by thoughts. Emotions are created by believing thoughts to be true. When we don’t believe the negative thoughts in our minds, they don’t create emotions. When we are experiencing an unwanted emotion, and then disbelieve the thoughts that’s creating it, our emotion will instantly dissolve.
Let me give you a quick example of how this works. Imagine that a friend calls you while you’re at work and tells you that your house burnt down in a fire, and you believe them. How do you think you would feel? You would probably feel sadness (and some other emotions perhaps). But, now imagine a different scenario. Imagine that a friend calls you while you’re at work and tells you that your house burnt down, but you don’t believe them because they are always playing practical jokes. How do you think you would feel? You would probably feel nothing at all.
What this demonstrates is that when you believe someone’s words to be true, those words create emotions. But, if you don’t believe those same exact words, those words won’t create an emotion.
To take it one step further, lets imagine one more change to this hypothetical. Imagine that a friend calls you while you’re at work and tells you that your house burnt down in a fire, and you believe them. You then immediately feel sad. But, a minute later, your friend starts laughing on the phone. So, in that moment, you stop believing what they said. What will happen to your sadness? How will you feel? Your sadness will instantly dissolve, and you will feel relief. This occurs simply because you stopped believing the words that were creating your unwanted emotion.
Next steps for how to find happiness
If you want to know how to address the thoughts that make you happy, how to stop believing them, it’s really a simple process. I have a free web app called the 5-steps of the present moment that you can use here, you can download my free 40 page e-book on how to disbelieve your thoughts here, or you can download/buy my book “A Guide to The Present Moment” here.
The 5 step process in each of these resources will take you through is 1) Pick an unwanted emotion. 2) Identify the thought that is creating your unwanted emotion. 3) Recognize that your emotion is created by a thought and not your circumstances. 4) Discover that your thought isn’t true. 5) Question the validity of any reason to continue suffering. This will help you to instantly dissolve your unwanted emotions, and live with an increasing amount of happiness, laughter, gratitude and fulfillment in your life.
Thank you for reading this post about how to find happiness. If you have some questions or you’d like some help with how to find happiness, please feel free to contact me. I’ll see you around. Bye.