“Why are you always so happy!”
Stéphane would often ask me this, exasperated at my lack of strong emotions of anger and frustration when things went awry.
And each time, my answer would be: “I am not ‘happy,’ this is just my way of being.”
A few years before, after a winter of severe depression, I had promised myself to never return to that dark place, thus began my journey in the pursuit of happiness.
Somewhere along the way, I read or heard somewhere that if we seek happiness outside of ourselves, it will always be conditional. The moment that “source” goes away, so does our happiness. This idea latched on to my mind, and I started to train my mind to not perceive happiness as a reaction to external events.
I wanted “happy” to be my default state of being. It doesn’t mean we will be cheerful and laughing all the time. There is suffering in the world, in our lives—there will be moments when we will be sad, or angry, or distraught, but we don’t need to internalize these.
Being content and being in the present were two major elements that helped.
It took a long time, a lot of practice, and many changes—some minor and some that required a whole mindset shift.
This is a continuing process, and a good starting point is to observe and identify things that might be contributing to your unhappiness.
1. You’re extremely goal-oriented.
2. You value possessions over experiences.
3. You’re holding a grudge.
4. You spend a lot of time in the past.
5. You’re overly frugal with your money.
6. You’re not contributing.
7. You avoid all your problems.
8. You allow distractions to guide your day.
9. You deflect compliments.
10. You’re taking life too seriously.
I liked the following video as it also talks about what we can do about these. May it be of benefit.