It seems odd to suggest that in this world, you can accelerate happiness in your life. But you actually can create a sense of peace and genuine happiness within your soul if you so desire. If that’s the case, then why are so many people unhappy?
In a recent article from Discovery Magazine, I read the following; “The richest countries are not happiest, the healthiest countries are not always the happiest. The happiest countries are the ones who do have the highest levels of a whole range of things,” says John Helliwell, an editor of The World Happiness Report and professor emeritus of the Vancouver School of Economics. “They include, especially, a willingness to trust each other to work for each other and to come together in times of difficulty.”
From that and our everyday life experiences, we know this to be true. I’ve heard from countless people that “money can’t buy happiness.” Or my favorite, “stuff can only make you temporarily happy.”
I’ve written plenty of things you can do to increase your happiness, but here are four things that genuinely happy people DON’T DO.
- Genuinely Happy People Don’t Compare Themselves to Others. Eckhart Tolle once said, “Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love — you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” Staying in comparison mode will rob you of the lovely soul that the Divine created to be you. God made no mistake when you were created. Every molecule that helps make you the incredible, fantastic you are unique, and wonderful has a purpose that only you can deliver into this world. To compare your awesomeness is a discredit to both you and God. You know what you’re worth, right? Happy folks do because they don’t seek validation outside of themselves. Happy people understand that it comes from a sense of self-awareness — in their way.
- Genuinely Happy People Aren’t Selfish, They Serve Others. Every study on the planet proves this to be true. Give a bit of your time, your skill, your kindness, and yourself, and watch happiness wash into your soul. A Chinese saying goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Our passion should be the foundation for our serving others. It is not how much we give away but how much love we put into giving it. It should not be simply a matter of choosing the right thing, but also the importance of deciding what is suitable for us. God said that He loves a cheerful giver. Like all of life…it’s a matter of our hearts.
- Genuinely Happy People Aren’t Rigid. Every time I meet a happy person, I seem to discover this truth – they are naturally flexible. If I could add one piece of scripture to the New Testament, I’d add another Beatitude to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. When we remain flexible, we remain less stressed and less anxious. Hence, we are happier. Staying fixed in our certainty can steal the happiness from our soul. Discover the joy and margin found in your flexibility. My addition? Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
- Genuinely Happy People Guard Their Yes and No. Happiness is often connected to having a margin in our calendar and schedule. When we say yes to everyone and everything, we might be fueling an addiction to please people. I’ve discovered that this addiction is as powerful as alcohol, cocaine, or nicotine. Without guarding our yes and no answers, we give away our margin, grow frustrated with others, and punish both ourselves and those we love. If you want to choose happiness, guard your yes, and no’s.
Don’t settle for temporal happiness when you were created for meaningful, purposeful, and eternal happiness. Get grounded in your faith, your family, and your community. Then stop comparing yourself to anybody, give yourself away, get flexible, and guard your yes and no.