First of all, there is no such thing as perfect happiness. We can come close, but if we determine in our head that we have to have “perfect” happiness, we will always fail.
I’ve recently done some research in this area, so I know what I’m talking about. Happiness is fleeting. It comes and goes. Pleasure plays a part, but that’s even more fleeting. And too many people wait to be happy thinking they have to be successful first. Not true. In fact, Shawn Achor, a psychologist from Harvard, wrote a book called The Happiness Advantage. In it, he reveals the backward thinking that most people have about finding success and then being happy. His work over decades has proven that you have to be happy first - and only then will you be successful. Too many people do it the other way around and end up in a high-paying job feeling miserable and anything but happy.
True happiness comes from within. John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost, “The Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” This tells me we have the power within us to be happy - or not. Happiness is a choice. It’s not an event. It’s not something that happens to you. It’s what you choose for yourself. It starts by being grateful for what you have - and not wallowing in self-pity for what you don’t have. Now, it’s not essential that you pair this gratitude with a spiritual belief, but for me, it is essential.
I have always been a glass-half-full type of person. I’m optimistic for the future and appreciate what I have now. In recent years I have added to that philosophy by actively writing down the good things in my life and giving thanks to God. It began as just a list - 3 to 5 things I was grateful for each day - and now it has become a dialogue with God, written down so that I can focus and not let my thoughts fly by.
What am I happy for? It changes each day. The sun shining on my face. The cats playing on the patio or purring softly nearby as I write. My home. My pool. A hot cup of coffee. They might not seem like earth shattering things to be thankful for, but when you add everything up, I feel truly blessed. Of course, I am thankful for my family, my health (and theirs), and the people I have met. Those are more meaningful, but you have to include the little things, too, in order to truly appreciate life.
Happiness comes from within. It is your attitude and your belief system. It is appreciating what you have, and even when things get rough, knowing you have all of those little things - and some good relationships - will get you through the bad times, with your positivity still in tact.
As I say my nightly prayers, I always ask God to bless my children and let them be content and find their happiness. I know success will follow soon after.