Why Does True Happiness Come from Within?
The Internet is flooded with blogs, vlogs, journals, and videos on inner peace, internal happiness, and tranquility. But think about when you hear these words; what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Do you think you have ever experienced “peace of mind” or inexplicable happiness? Did you truly understand Master Shifu’s doctrine on “inner peace” from the movie Kung Fu Panda?
It goes without saying that all of those words and ideas mean different things to different people. Continuing with our reference – because we love Kung Fu Panda! – finding inner peace for Master Shifu was to “…harness the flow of the universe.”
For some people, however, peace of mind comes from things that are more, well, superficial. One example would be when people find their real happiness by seeking validation from strangers on social media platforms like Instagram. Then there are some people who are only ever really happy when they’re shopping. For them, there’s no problem in the world a Yves Salomon Fur-Lined Parka won’t solve.
We’re not here to judge people. We’re here to tell you what you already know: validation from online strangers and materialistic possessions are both external sources of happiness. That form of happiness is like a spring (the mechanical device, not the season), because it might go higher when it’s pushed harder, but it also falls back to the ground equally hard. That’s because its motivation is coming from external sources, so it’s pretty short-lived. Once there is a drop in likes and comments, or once someone at work bought a more expensive parka, the happiness levels plummet back down.
Don’t agree with us? Well, then answer us this: why do some celebrities and public figures get so depressed, even though they have enough money to buy anything they could ever wanted in life? Why do so many of them give up, when they have what most of us envy? Are their riches powerless to satisfy them? We think the answer is pretty simple: they are not happy.
So, what is true happiness, then?
To understand the real meaning of happiness and contentment, let’s go back to the beginning. We’re born with a complete absence of preconceived ideas or predetermined goals – a clean slate, so to speak. Our minds are free from judgment about what’s “good” and “bad.” Think about a newborn, squealing with delight and laughing out loud when they see a rattle. Then they get fussy and cry when they’re hungry or sleepy.
But as soon as we grow up, our minds become more aware of our surroundings, and we start letting our experiences shape what we like and don’t like. When we like something, we want more of it, and, on the other hand, when we don’t like something, we do our best to push it away. Over time, we categorize the world as “good” or “bad,” seeing everything as very black and white.
Eventually, we develop strong desires once we understand how the world works. We realize that money is necessary to thrive, sure, but it’s also crucial just to survive, so we try to make as much money as possible. Those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have found that special someone are haunted by our need for a soulmate, so we spend the better part of their lives searching for “the one.” We also understand the significance of wisdom, so we spend our time trying to get it from various sources.
But, as we move forward in the journey of life, we realize that we can’t get everything we desire, and we face many breakdowns and setbacks. We also endure a lot of suffering when we decide to change our present, upsetting circumstances rather than just accepting them.
Think we’ve gone off on a tangent? We haven’t, actually, because the key to receiving the immortal gift of inner happiness is to remind yourself that these thoughts – the ones that make us always want more of the things we desire and less of what we don’t – are just learned habits. In other words, you have to remind yourself that your desires and fears are just patterns you’ve developed from a young age.
You also have to understand that the fulfilling experiences you yearn for are among the biggest causes of your suffering. How can that possibly be true?, you might ask. Well, because these experiences, fulfilling as they are, leave you wanting for just a little more (and then some), so you’ll always feel like you don’t have enough. Secondly, there’s always the looming fear that comes with good experiences, as you know they will come to an end. Think about how you feel when you’re eating that last slice of a classic cheese pizza; don’t you wish it would never end? And don’t you feel kinda upset when there’s no more to eat?
So, coming to our main point, true happiness is when you conquer all these thoughts of desire and fear you’ve harbored since childhood.
If you achieve this, you’ll truly be happy, no matter how much money you have in the bank. You’ll immediately stop comparing yourself with others, meaning you’ll learn to be confident about who you are and happy with what you have. This also means that you won’t feel sad if you don’t get what you wanted, because you’ve snatched back your thoughts’ ability to impact how you feel. This will leave you happy pretty much all the time.
This is why they say that true happiness always comes from within. Once you’ve trained your mind and understand that happiness is a by-product of your own mind, outside circumstances will never be able to affect your feelings and emotions.
Now, to the meat of the matter:
How to create true happiness?
As mentioned before, if there’s one thing you have to do to create true happiness, it’s training your brain. The following are some of the tried and tested ways you can do that:
You have to learn to control your mind instead of letting your mind control you. What better way to go about it than meditation? With the help of meditation, you can let go of the negative self-talk and harmful thoughts, no longer accommodating them.
2. Eat healthy
It’s been proven that your eating habits have a direct impact on your mind’s well-being. While meditation will help you detox your mind, healthy eating will help you detox your gut, which is like your second brain.
3. Analyze your company
With whom you congregate and spend your time can also have a significant impact on determining your mindset. Therefore, surround yourself with positive, inspiring people, from whom you can learn something new, something constructive. Nurture your time with them, and stay away from people who suck the energy from you, making you feel mentally and physically drained. You know who we’re talking about.
4. Do not forget your values
If you do things because of peer pressure and go against your values or principles, then it’s highly likely you’ll suffer from negative thoughts, an upset mood, and a restless soul. So, make sure that you hold onto your values and honor them. This will uplift your spirits, giving you a sense of inner peace.
5. Find your life’s purpose
If your only aim is to buy a fabulous house or earn a million dollars, then you’ll suffer from a pessimistic attitude, and your never-ending desire for materialistic possessions will never let you be content with what you have. If you get a fabulous house, you’ll want an even-more-fabulous house. Make a million dollars? Now you desire a couple million more. Therefore, think about the more significant meaning of life, and find a purpose that gives you a sense of fulfillment, such as contributing to humanity’s well-being.
6. Bask in the simple pleasures
If all these philosophical teachings aren’t sitting well with you, here’s some plain food for you to digest. To get a real sense of happiness, enjoy the simple moments – warm and sunny days, starry nights, silly jokes, old photos — and they’ll surely make you feel better. Lastly, remember that true happiness and inner peace are within your grasp, but also just out of your reach; they live inside of you, and you just have to find ways to bring them out of their hiding spots.