At certain times in my life – often when I’m feeling particularly unhappy – I’ve fallen into the trap of trying desperately to cultivate happiness; to become happy. As if it’s a ‘thing’ that I can find – when lost ten pounds or managed to drink 2 litres of water every day for a month.
Of course, there’s a chance that this may work, at least in part. If I’m focusing on habits for happiness – exercise, mindfulness, eating colour etc. then my day-to-day feelings may well improve.
But even so, there’s a problem here, in that I’m treating happiness – which is in itself is a concept we’ve created as a society – as something that I can find and own.
I’m focused on the end result.
Experience and failure has taught me time and time again, that this doesn’t work. Even when I have visited happiness in this way, the destination always seems to lose its shine very quickly, leaving me disappointed and empty.
So what’s the answer?
Instead, we might focus on cultivating a real sense of mindful appreciation for all that we have; connection with the world and people around us; respect for said world and people, and our own minds and bodies; and we might focus on using our talents to support and serve others.
When we do these things, happiness is a natural byproduct.
Cliched as it is, it’s all about the journey, not to the destination. In fact, if you think about it: the journey is the destination.