Happiness is a popular subject. It seems everyone wants more of it; there is even a conference about happiness and its causes. But as long as you associate happiness with the “I” you call you there is always going to be a sense of unsatisfactoriness with your life.
Think of the sentence…
“I feel happiness”
Reading this there are three elements:
1. you (the person/entity experiencing happiness)
2. the feeling/emotion or process that brings you the experience
3. happiness (what’s present in the moment)
Now take away the first two words… what’s left?
Because our “I” (sense of self) desires happiness we are setting ourselves up for feeling inadequate and incomplete. We need to get rid of (or at least not hold onto so tightly) our sense of self identity.
Whoa! Now wait a minute Niall, I’m not giving up who I am, no way! Well I’m sorry it’s fairly mainstream thinking now that wanting stuff (including happiness) is always gonna make your “I” need more and more in order to be satisfied.
Ok so if wanting stuff is not gonna bring me peace, happiness, fulfilment, what will? The answer is surprisingly simple but extraordinarily hard to implement. Be self-less instead of selfish. Helping others without expectation of receiving anything in return is not only the best way to transcend the “happiness trap” but also is effective in all aspects of life (work, family, relationships). Just do good using your intellect and common sense as your guide, let go of the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) mentality. People will pick up on your new self-less vibe and will want to work and socialise with you. Then when happiness comes, it is there, you don’t own it, it’s not your happiness it just arose naturally out the good work you do.