While all of us define success in different ways, most people agree that what we really want is happiness. These seven keys to happiness will help you to determine how happy you are and what you can do to get rid of any unhappiness in your life:
Most people believe in luck, fate, fortune, the will of the universe, the will of God or in some force which is out of their control. No matter what you call this force, the degree to which you believe it is on your side plays a big role in how happy you are. Do you believe that your higher power (even if that higher power is only your subconscious mind) is on your side or not?
If you think it’s not, you might need to change what you believe it means to have “luck” on your side. Perhaps you’re leaving too much up to your higher power and you need to work harder to take charge of your own life.
Happiness Key #2: Do You Love Your Career/Job?
If you hate your career/job, it’s probably time to make a move and start doing something which makes you happier.
Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so if you hate your job or your career you’ll probably be very unhappy. This unhappiness will spill over into other areas of your life, affecting your relationships, your health, your spending habits and your self-image. Life is too short to hate what you do for the majority of it. Most people never even get to retire any way, and even if you do…why wait until you’re old to enjoy your life?
Happiness Key #3: Your Romantic Life
If you’re unhappy with your romantic life, you’ll probably always feel a void in your heart. You can fill this void with work, emotional eating, spending or other things…but nothing can fill it quite like a mutually healthy relationship. If you’re unhappy with your romantic life, there are only two possibilities: either you need to become the right partner, or you still need to find the right partner.
Becoming the right partner is the first and most important step, and until you do that, even finding the “right partner” won’t make you happy. However, by becoming the right person, you might find that the person you’ve been looking for all along is either right in front of you, or just around the corner.
Happiness Key #4: Your Appearance
If you’re unhappy with the way you look, you’ll always have the fear that your partner will reject you or “better deal you” for someone else. You’ll probably get more insecure as you get older and you might even abuse your body in the attempt to change the way you look.
People who are unhappy with their appearance usually also try to make up for it through addictions to spending, eating or work. To overcome this, learn to love and accept yourself just as you are. Even if you end up changing something like your hair, your face, your clothes or your weight, learning to love yourself just as you are first will make a big difference in your long term happiness.
Happiness Key #5: Peace with Your Past
For many people, regret is a lifelong cause of unhappiness. People who aren’t at peace with their past can never be completely happy in the present. Since the past cannot be changed, the only way to keep your past from ruining your present is to make peace with it. The hardest part of this is forgiving the people who have hurt you, especially if the person who hurt you IS you.
Mr. Gandhi once said that bitterness does more harm to the vessel it is contained in than it does to the vessel it’s poured out on. By holding anger or judgment against someone else, or against yourself, you rob yourself of the right to be happy. Even if you don’t feel like it yet, the choice to forgive those who have hurt you (and this includes you) will liberate you from the past and eventually the pain will heal too.
Happiness Key #6: Comfort with Imperfection
Perfection is impossible to define, and those who pursue perfection usually do so at the expense of their happiness. This is why being happy beings with the gaining the ability to tolerate imperfection both in yourself and in others. Tolerance of imperfection can help you to survive the failures and the bumps which everyone meets on the road towards happiness and success.
Comfort with imperfection also takes the fear out of failure and helps you to be completely present and of sound mind amidst the most stressful situations.
Happiness Key #7: A Healthy Balance Between Contentment and Hunger
While comfort with imperfection is a key ingredient to happiness, complacency can also cause a person to settle for less than what will truly make them happy. The happiest people are those who can effectively balance their hunger for better things with their contentment for what they already have.
Being content with what you already have will also make you more grateful and therefore more likely to take care of what you already have. The better you are at caring for what you already have, the more likely you are to attract and to keep the things which you really want.
So stay hungry and keep your standards high, but learn also to be content with and to care for what you already have.
These are the seven keys to happiness. Which of these will unlock your ability to be happy in the present and in the future? Take them one at a time and get to work on them until they become second nature, and you’ll discover that happiness can be both pursued and won.