Lessons about Happiness from a Wacky Culture
What if happiness has always been there and all we ever have to do is remove the blocks that we have built against it?
What if happiness is our birthright and nothing would have the power to take away what is ours unless we grant them the permission?
Well, I can tell you these are not the questions I heard growing up in a crazed Iranian culture that believes everything and everyone except you is at fault and to blame for lack of happiness.
And if you are a parent, you are in luck because you have extra powers to blame your children for your unhappiness. Naturally, raising them and “sacrificing” your own happiness for their well being, is, well, all their fault.
I grew up constantly hearing how this husband has stolen this wife’s only chance of happiness and how that ungrateful child had stripped away all hope of happiness from those parents, and how sad and twisted the world was when someone was always stealing someone else’s happiness.
Never once did anyone ask “Excuse me but just how can someone (or something) take away your happiness? It’s not a piece of furniture they could carry off your living room!! It lives in your heart and soul, your happiness!”
What a waste of true happiness to hold grudges and to blame others for your happiness. Even as a child, the idea to blame others for my state of happiness was absurd because I knew enough to understand that whenever I decided to be happy, I was happy (imagine that!) and whenever I decided to be sad or angry, well, guess what, I was sad or angry.
Then the first command of happiness is to know and believe that it is in your doing and undoing, at your hand and in your heart where it all starts and ends. Happiness comes from within you. You are the one true source of your own happiness.
The great news is that nobody is going to arrive one day with your package of happiness. You can stop waiting and be happy right now.
“If you want to be happy, be.”
The bad news is that you get in your own way of happiness with random acts of self-sabotage, most of which you wouldn’t call anything more than harmless little thoughts or actions, but they kill your happiness little by little.
My moment of awakening came when I realized how much I had come to live by that false idea, that someone can steal your happiness. And so I had lived a lot of my life resisting happiness. I was more interested in being right, being busy, being proper, being successful than just being happy. That, you see, was my form of self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage is when you want something but you go around making sure it doesn’t happen to you. Crazy ugly beast, isn’t it? Yet that’s what we all do. Read more about the anatomy of self-sabotage.
You mess things up on purpose. You do the wrong thing. You create blocks and you resist the very thing you want. That’s self-sabotage, honey! You purposely ruin the thing you want the most in this world. Perhaps you fear losing it, or perhaps you can’t afford to handle the happiness it brings. For whatever wacky reason, we human beings love self-sabotage, and hate to admit it.
Well, admit it or not, let’s put an end to it because happiness is far worthier and mightier a companion than self-sabotage on this journey called life.
9 Ways You Sabotage Your Happiness
If you want to be happy, you need to stop the acts of self-sabotage. then we want the same thing but first, let’s wash away the acts of self-sabotage. Let’s let happiness flow.
1. Stop lying to yourself. Stop being deceitful with yourself. Tell yourself how you really feel, what you really want, and what you don’t want. It’s a giant waste of time to lie to yourself, because you know better and one day you will be sick of it. Stop with the lies. Start telling yourself the whole truth about, well, everything.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
2. Stop doubting yourself that you can do it, have it, be it. Trust yourself. Without question. After the lies, you must have complete trust in your own ability to come through. Trust comes with accepting who you are and respecting all of yourself.
3. Stop crushing your true powers with your fears. Happiness cannot exist where there is so much fear and you are letting your fears and worries crush all your powers. With trust, you begin to acknowledge your inner powers and then the fears wash away. You are stronger than you think.
4. Stop feeling that you are unworthy of success and happiness. You are worthy of it. In abundance. Before success and happiness happen to you, you have to believe you are worthy. Worthy of that promotion at work. Worthy of the best partner in life. Worthy of it all in abundance.
“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.”
~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
5. Stop looking for validation or approval in everything. You are your own validation. You give yourself permission. If you are following your dreams, the only validation you need is from yourself and that’s the only one that gets in between you and your destination.
6. Stop being a hero who tries to do it all alone. Learn to ask for help in the right places. Asking for help takes courage and patience. When you are in need of help and guidance, ask for it. Ask the right person who is likely able to help. Ask without shame or guilt. Why do you think you have to do everything on your own?
7. Stop comparing your happiness to your assumptions about someone else’s happiness. It’s an assumption we make about how happy or not happy others are, so it’s really pointless to compare since we have no idea what’s right or wrong. So stop comparing your happiness even ever so slightly to anyone else. This brings the focus back to you and you alone.
8. Stop letting others walk all over you and your dreams. You have got to stand up for yourself when someone walks all over you or your dreams. You have to learn to let it roll over your shoulders, affirm your position to them instead of pretending it’s okay and ideally, create a healthy distance from them. Anyone who mocks or crushes your happiness is a coward not strong enough to pursue his own.
9. Stop ruining the good opportunities that come your way. When you have your chances, take a moment to show gratitude for them, say that you won’t mess them up, take care in how you handle them. Self-sabotage wants you to mess up your opportunities subconsciously so you can end it when you bring the act to the surface and make it very conscious.
“Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.”
~ Marcus Aurelius
Today, happiness is my primary goal when I wake up, when I work, when I travel, when I practice yoga, and even when I argue with my beloved. Happiness is the ultimate state of being I yearn to be in. If something doesn’t contribute to my happiness, I don’t do it.
What about you? Do you consciously think about making a choice to be happy? Do you sometimes destroy it with random (or predictable) acts of self-sabotage?