A significant number of people are suffering from depression in the world today. This is a hint for us to pause and ask if we are doing enough for our mental wellness, which is directly connected to emotional wellness. If we experience stress, anger, fear, hurt, jealousy, our emotional health suffers. Basically, we are caught in these negative emotions in pursuit of happiness. Most of us begin chasing dreams since childhood and do not pause thereafter for decades, because of the biggest incorrect belief that our happiness is what we acquire — that happiness is a byproduct of our belongings. So, we seek happiness in accomplishments, possessions and relationships. Let us scrutinize these three popular but misleading beliefs.
Belief 1: Accomplishments make me happy.
Suppose I am an employee who knows that it takes two years to be promoted as a manager, I sincerely work for it. But my own conditioned thought often reminds me – I will be happy when promoted as a manager. So I do not permit myself to be happy today, I will not permit for two more years. Some day if I sense that my promotion may not happen due to my inefficiency, issue with team members or a management decision, I create stress, anger and anxiety – as I believe these are not only affecting my career but snatching my happiness. I may resort to unfair means to get the promotion. So I create and transmit negativity, going into pain for two long years. If in this state I become a manager, can I be happy? Also such happiness does not last as I will focus on the next promotion, then the next…
Truth: Happiness is not in our accomplishments. It is not to be postponed until our goal is reached. Happiness is in our way of thinking along the way, while working towards the goal.
Belief 2: I can buy happiness.
Suppose I believe that buying my dream car gives me happiness, I may purchase and own the most expensive car. I have essentially bought physical comfort. While on a long drive in it, I could get one phone call conveying an unpleasant news which finishes my happiness. If my car gave happiness, happiness would stay despite the call. Even after the call, my car continues to give physical comfort and my physical body is comfortable. Since happiness is an emotional comfort, it disappeared when I (who is looking for happiness) went into pain after the call. Why do we feel happy upon buying a car? Because when we create a thought – I bought my dream car it generates a feeling of happiness. So we used an object (car) as a stimulus to create a response (positive thought).
Truth: Let us not purchase objects seeking happiness in them. Everything physical is designed to give physical comfort. Happiness is an emotional comfort.
Belief 3: Family and friends give me happiness.
Oscillating between acceptance and expectations, our relationships are getting strained. We focus on what to get from relationships rather than give. Our expectations from each other is getting long. We are accepting people only when they, speak, behave as per our needs. If I equate my happiness to others obeying me, it cannot last. No sooner than someone obeys the first time, I hand out my next expectation. So happiness leaves me at this point, only to return if the person obeys again. Else I get upset. People have their definitions of rights and wrongs, so setting expectations will always hamper relationships and ruin happiness.
Truth: No one can make us happy or sad. Happiness is our emotion, our internal creation regardless of quality of our relationships.