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Finding Authentic Happiness - Part 1

Long lasting happiness had been illusive in my own life for many years. Oh yes, I had moments of happiness -- we all do. But does it last and is it meaningful?

I think the main reason for my lack of happiness was my lack of understanding of what authentic happiness was and how to experience it. The following will not give you all the answers but I hope will raise questions that will start you on the journey to finding authentic happiness in your own life.

We all have those moments like when we drive a new car or how we feel in a new relationship. However, is this authentic happiness or is it an emotional illusion of happiness? On the other hand, maybe it is another form of happiness, which is temporary. Well, I used to think it was the real thing and then I would pursue this temporary feeling of happiness through things outside of myself, through other people and, of course in my case: through alcohol.

Let’s define our terms here. What is authentic happiness? For me it is the feeling of contentment in my life, wherever I am and whatever is going on. This is true happiness.  It is the knowing that I will always be taken care of and I will never be given more than I can handle, which for me is the experience of genuine security.

I am not quite sure when I began to notice that authentic happiness comes from within, that it does not require you to purchase, eat or drink anything. More importantly, expecting to get your inner happiness from someone else will only lead to disappointment. Most of us have experienced this, too. Of course, this is not to say that we cannot experience a form of happiness through these experiences, but the type of happiness I am talking about brings about a sense of pleasure and joy that cannot be shaken when the car is wrecked or the relationship goes away. We have all experienced this temporary kind of feeling and it is far from being pleasurable, joyful or as content as you can get.

The following paragraph was reprinted from museconsulting.com

In his groundbreaking work on ‘authentic happiness’, Dr Martin Seligman describes how we can build happiness by deliberately creating more pleasure, engagement and meaning in our daily lives. The Pleasant Life consists of thinking and feeling positively about our past, present and future until we are experiencing life at the top of our ‘set range’. The Engaged Life grows when we know our highest strengths and recraft our lives to use them as often as possible. We experience fullness and flow; we lose track of time and feel a deep sense of satisfaction. The Meaningful Life is possible when we use our strengths and talents to serve something greater than ourselves. There is no limit to meaning – it is completely adjustable and plastic.

Having a pleasant, meaningful and engaged life will allow us to live in authentic happiness. Most of us have gotten sucked in by social conditioning that life is about the job, the relationship, money, appearances, and acquiring things. This gives us a false vision of what brings happiness and we end up losing sight of the actual truth about life and what brings us real happiness, peace and a truer understanding of who we are so we can live a more authentic life. Too often we get comfortable where we are or allow fear to keep our spirits from revealing themselves completely. We forget our real purpose here: to live, love, share, be of service, HAVE FUN, enjoy life and seek out what life has to teach us. Be mindful of what is taking place around and in you, and then start doing what brings you AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS.

Please see Tim's Tip developing mindful triggers in the February 2007 newsletter.


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