The pursuit of happiness

 If someone were to ask you, “What should I do to become happy?” what would you advise them? Probable answers likely range from maintaining a positive outlook to doing nothing at all since you are not in control of what happens to you. Is personal effort involved in achieving happiness at all? 

And how does one differentiate between happiness and joy? 

 Things that elicit a happy response and bring a smile to our face may be as elementary as the music that resonates with our emotions, a hug from a loved one, or even a surprising shopping discount. Everyone responds with differing impulses of emotion, and the unsuspecting customer may value the hug over the discount, while the musician may value his music over the hug. Regardless of who we are, what we feel, or how we react, happiness emerges in the everyday moments of our lives, clinging to the mindset, choices, and thoughts we create, and rising from the serendipities of life. 

Joy, however, is the ultimate state of being, arising when one finds peace, harmony, and fulfillment in life and does not look to people or material things to fill the voids. Happiness is temporary; joy is lasting. 

 We hold the ability to attract happiness by sowing the seeds of joy in our mind, and there is nothing preventing us from being happy all of or almost all of the time. Think of it, everyone you know has the potential to dwell in a state of happiness, even you. You may wonder then why so few people consistently consider themselves happy. In my mind, I believe the initial and most challenging step to entering an lasting state of happiness is to fully accept and believe in a boundless level of joy. While I say nothing prevents us from exuding joy, there are certainly obstacles that affect everyone and can make the road to happiness feel like a daunting journey.

 No one can consistently balance their emotional state with the uncertainty of feeling a particular way. In other words, if you are happy, you must do happy things, think happy thoughts, and truly feel happy. Convincing yourself you are indeed happy (when you know you are not) will only bring discouragement when life does not unfold the way you imagine it to. The definition of happiness varies, or at least it should, to the majority of people. Why then do people try to achieve it in similar ways?

Do what brings you joy and you will find happiness in the people around you.

Be happy, my friends, and may joy flood your hearts in 2017. 🙂

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