Is Being Happy A Mystery?
Nearly everyone you talk to will tell you they want to “be happy” but very few can really tell you – when pressed – what that means.
Being happy isn’t a state of being, it’s really a choice…
So often, people think, “When [this] happens, I’ll be happy.”
Then, [that] happens and they find they don’t feel as ‘happy’ as they thought they would.
This paradox is why – for many – there is no such thing as ‘enough money’, ‘enough free time’, or ‘enough…’ of anything!
So what does it take to be happy? Is being happy a realistic goal?
Perhaps the biggest reason why happiness – or being happy – is so elusive is because a lot of people don’t really know what happiness means to them. Or what – exactly – will make them ‘happy’. And then, if they do happen to obtain ‘happiness’, they find they can’t stay happy – or be happy – for long.
While we obviously won’t solve the mystery of lasting happiness in this one discussion, I do think there are things we can do to make happiness more probable and possible and last longer so we experience this state more often than not.
How is being happy related to work life balance?
Many spiritual experts point to balance – and balanced living – as the key to a positive life experience. Since most of us have to ‘work’ – or earn a living somehow – that means we must be able to find that balance while navigating our personal and professional lives.
Without balanced living – including work life balance – it is going to be very difficult to find fulfillment in one’s life.
Since fulfillment is tied to a feeling of ‘being happy’, in order to be happy, we must be able to achieve work life balance and balanced living in general.
Here are four (relatively) simple tips to help you understand what it means to you to have work life balance, enjoy balanced living and experience greater fulfillment to hopefully feel and be happy more often and for longer periods of time…
Get clear on your values
This is not the same as setting priorities, although, it is related. Sit down and make a list of what is important to you – what you think it will take for you to be happy. But drill way… down into this list. For example, don’t just list ‘more money’. Think about what this really means to you. You don’t really want a bigger number on your bank account. You really want something else… something more money represents to you. Maybe it’s more freedom. Maybe it’s more time with your family. In other words, don’t be superficial – be VERY specific about what EXACTLY it is you think will contribute to your being happy.
Guard your time
We know achievement and fulfillment – and thus, ‘being happy’ – are interconnected. While nearly all of us get fulfillment both in our personal lives and in our career, a lot of us get our sense of achievement in our professional lives or outside of our family. Therefore, we often find ourselves ‘chasing’ achievement to the detriment of other areas of our lives. Yet, achievement alone won’t create happiness so why are we neglecting or delegating fulfillment for the sake of achievement when both are necessary?
A key to achieving balanced living – or a balance between achievement and fulfillment – is guarding your time. Obviously, you don’t want to over-manage your time to the extent you’re a slave to your schedule (penciling in “Relax at [4:00]” isn’t exactly the key to happiness), but you DO want to make sure that you aren’t consistently seeking fulfillment over achievement and vice versa. This is the crux of work life balance. BOTH fulfillment and achievement are vital to happiness. You must not sacrifice one for the other. If you find one suffering, it’s time to re-evaluate where your time is going and how to balance it better.
Be in service
Our minds are incredibly powerful. If we begin to dread work or even feel like spending time with family or friends is a drag, it diminishes the feelings of achievement or fulfillment we may otherwise get. The key here is to remember to always be in service. If you change your view to be that you are freely giving of yourself, your time, and your energy in exchange for what your job or relationships provide to yourself and to others, you change the energetic harmony surrounding those things.
Ultimately, we are so busy – so much in movement here, there, and everywhere –we forget to just… be. To be still. To relax. To reflect. To recharge. Sometimes, being still may enable you to be happy more than anything else.
Hopefully, what you learned from all of the above is that the real key or secret to being happy – to achieving balanced living and your ability to be happy longer – lies within you.
It is not outside of you or outside your control. It is something only you – and your perceptions, beliefs, and actions – really have the ability to change. The power is yours.