All of us seek happiness: that wonderful, peaceful feeling when we believe our personal universal stars are meticulously aligned, giving us that oozing and satisfying feeling. It can be found everywhere, and can hit you when least expected, sending you soaring to new heights along your life’s super highway. Many of us think we know what will make us truly happy: that winning lottery ticket, a romantic relationship filled with never-ending butterflies, or perhaps becoming eye candy for paparazzi-infused photographers hanging on your every thought or gesture. Once again, we all think we know what triggers those warm feelings, but happiness is not all that hard to find, it’s simply a balancing act.
I recently saw an article by international bestselling author and humanitarian, Matthieu Ricard in which he gave ten items to avoid while seeking happiness and having a fulfilled life:
1. Becoming rich, powerful and famous.
2. Treating the universe as if it were a mail-order catalog by expecting it to gratify our every desire.
3. Yearning for the "freedom" to achieve every last wish. This is not freedom, but being the slave of your own thoughts.
4. Seeking too much pleasure. Pleasurable sensations soon become dull, and often become unpleasant.
5. Maliciously taking revenge on someone who has hurt you. By doing so, you become like them and poison your own mind.
6. Assuming that any one thing will make you happy. Such predictions usually don't turn out to be true.
7. Expecting all praise and no criticism. Without criticism, you won't progress.
8. To vanquish all your enemies. Animosity never brings happiness.
9. To never face adversity. Refraining from doing so will make you weak and vulnerable.
10. Expending all your effort on taking care of yourself alone. Altruism and compassion are the roots of genuine happiness.
Any of these look familiar? Look back at number one, ah… I wonder why it’s at the top of the list?
Now, don’t misinterpret me here, I like money and all which comes with it. There’s not a thing wrong with wanting to become successful and thought of highly among your peers. Realistically, most would agree. But, if you had this one item, probably sitting at the top of everyone’s personal list of what would make them happy, would it really? Or would it only give you happiness for a while, making you continue to search and strive for other things to experience fulfillment?
Whitney Houston’s recent death, along with so many other mega-sized celebrities leaving this earth at such a young age, has always made me pause to wonder, why? After all, looking from the outside, she had everything: A huge fortune, unbelievable fame, beauty, incredible talent, a family who loved her. Yet, her personal life was consumed with alcohol and substance abuse—a need she depended on deeply and couldn’t shake till it stole her final breath. Most would argue looking at her life: Boy, if only I could step into her shoes for a day I’d have everything I ever wanted! Would you really? Apparently and sadly, like so many others, it wasn’t enough for Whitney Houston. And it’s a lesson learned that what most would hold atop a pedestal as being the picture of blissful fulfillment, well…Of course, there’s lots of opinions running around (like any sudden celebrity death) about what led to her final collapse. But, I’m using her as an example to understand why someone who literally had it all; obviously didn’t.
Happiness, like so many other things in life is best achieved using a simple term: Balance. If you have money and fame, great, but could you be happy without it? If you had the relationship of your dreams would it make you happy, or increase the happiness you already had? If you were granted one wish from a Jennie-In-A-Bottle and it was granted, would that wish define your happiness? Hmm, that reminds me of the old saying, “Careful what you wish for, and you just might get it.”
Most of the happiest people I know are that way because it’s just who they are. They choose to be happy. They experience it from within regardless of how much money they have or success they achieve. They don’t allow outside influences to steal it and have learned to block out those things and people who try. They say “no” to destructive personalities and forces that come like a thief-in-the-night. They’ve learned to walk the balancing line between what truly makes them happy and what the world and others think will make them happy.
Of course, we’re all guilty of believing what we see: that what the world has to offer will paint a permanent smile on our faces. But, the only smile I really trust is the one I see in the mirror every morning. It’s the one that always tells the tale.
May your smile be completely, balanced.
To see more of Randy Mitchell's writing, visit his website @ www.theinspirationalwriter.com
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