“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.” ~Eckhart Tolle
We have this strange need or conditioning to not take responsibility for our own happiness. We expect it to come from an outside source.
It can happen, but it’s fleeting. True happiness has to come from within.
True happiness comes from a connection to our true being.
Years ago my family and I took our dog to obedience school, and the trainer told us, if we have more than one dog, to never let them share a crate. Yes, they would become best friends, even inseparable. Then one of them would die and the other would be completely heartbroken.
Imagine putting all your happiness on another person. This could be a friend or a soul mate. You share your dreams, relying on each other for companionship and future plans. Then tragedy happens, a split of some kind.
It’s natural to be heartbroken when you lose someone you love—but how could you survive this if all your happiness was contained in this one person?
This same thing can happen with the material world. We easily put our happiness on getting that prized possession, the big house, the new car, or a job that we think we want.
I spent most of my life up until now in the shadow of fleeting happiness. It followed me everywhere.
It started when I was young. I searched for acceptance. I did ridiculous things to my hair, and I lost my virginity way too young. I thought these things would bring me a sense of happiness, but I never felt truly happy.
Then my young adult self emerged still on the search for “when.” When I get to do this… when I go here… when I do that… then I will finally be happy.
I spent my days waiting for various things to happen, to in turn bring me the happiness I longed for.
I married young. I moved to a city that wasn’t conducive to my nature. I got the corporate job that would make me feel established, following society’s definition of success.
With two young kids I moved to a way too expensive house that fit the mold of a successful, acceptable young adult. And—gasp—I bought a minivan. I was a mom, after all. Wasn’t this my road to happiness?
With all these misguided beliefs of happiness under my belt, the waves of discontent still threatened to drown me. I kept treading water with no movement.
I realized in time the truth behind my happiness, and it didn’t lie in things or people or society’s definitions. I had always had the ability to feel happy; I just hadn’t realized it.
I realized it when I was able to accept myself, fully, in who I was.
I realized I didn’t need to edit who I was. I was able to look in the mirror and see the perfectness in all my imperfections. I was able to go to a social event and be okay with myself sitting quietly in the corner. I learned to just be without worry or concern about what others thought. I was okay just being me.
I would often find myself sitting quietly, taking it all in. These were the mindful moments that allowed me to acknowledge all that was around me. And you know what? It was full.
The world was full of the richness of life—nature, people, laughter, smiles, wind, noise, and breath. I started to notice my breath and breathe a little deeper in gratitude for all the experiences of my life. The realization came with a flood of tears, joy, and intense connection…with myself.
We believe in a happiness that really doesn’t exist. We search for it in many ways, rarely finding it in the form we are seeking.
Happiness can sometimes comes from things. “When I get this car, or these shoes, or this job, man, will I be happy.” And you do, you get the position and you drive to your new job in your new car with your shiny new shoes on.
The world is oh so perfect. It couldn’t get any better. Then the company you work for goes bankrupt, you can no longer afford your car, and now you have no place to wear your shoes.
Are you happy anymore? Not if you banked all your happiness in those fleeting things.
But let’s say you already discovered true happiness from deep within your soul and felt happy with yourself. Then you got your dream job. Would you be happier?
You might feel more fulfilled but not happier, because your inner happiness was already infinite. If you lost your job, would some of your happiness diminish? No. You might feel disappointed but you wouldn’t lose your happiness because it was already infinite.
Your happiness cannot come from the outside world. It must come from within you.
When you are able to acknowledge that happiness already resides in you, a pressure will release because you’ll no longer feel ruled by your ego’s need for more.
Still, it is important to know that true happiness may not always feel great. Realizing true happiness doesn’t mean you will be skipping through a field of daisies without a care in the world.
You will have bad days. You will feel overwhelmed with normal life at times. You may even look beyond the horizon to see what lies ahead. This is all okay.
Happiness doesn’t have to look like a storybook. Happiness is simply the realization that life is just fine as it is.
You’ll experience true happiness when you allow yourself to be content in your true self, recognize the innate greatness of the world that surrounds you, and know that the people and things in your life hold no power over you. You are the master of your happiness.
You are already complete. When you realize this, there will be happiness in everything you do.
Smiling woman on grass image via Shutterstock