This blog has been written by one of our readers in London who wanted to share their story.
For years every morning I would wake up with a feeling of dread – I dreaded getting out of bed, I dreaded the commute and I dreaded going to work. I always felt miserable for no apparent reason. I knew I wasn’t in a happy place, but didn’t know why. There wasn’t anything bad happening in my life, it was a feeling I woke up to and I couldn’t control it (or so I thought).
It was clear this was not a good way to live. I changed my life in so many different ways hoping I would be happy again, but none of it worked – the magical happiness switch didn’t turn on. The problem was, I thought external circumstances were causing these negative feelings. I didn’t realise this feeling of emptiness was coming from within.
We’re all born happy
Every human no matter who they are, if you ask them what they want in life – happiness or unhappiness the answer most definitely will be happiness. What we want for our enemies might be a different story, but undoubtedly what we want for ourselves is happiness. It’s an innate feeling. It’s not something we learn, we’re born happy.
“Every time we see a giggling baby or young child we’re reminded that we are all born with this natural and innate sense of happiness, that it is actually our birthright.”
But that was the issue, somehow the innate feeling of happiness had gone. I couldn’t tell you when, how or why, it just seemed to have faded away over the years. Perhaps it was eroded away by life’s stresses; providing for a family, paying off a mortgage, working in a high pressured job or just trying to get by and have an ordinary life. I didn’t understand that my inner world was playing a huge role in my unhappiness.
Your inner world shapes your happiness
This may sound crazy, but apart from physical hurt, emotions and experiences are all happening from within and projecting outwards. How I see the world is from my own perspective. I thought I had a really bad job, which is why I dreaded going to work, but to another person, they may have loved my job and would have been happy to have one!
Perception is my making whether I consciously realise it or not. When I started to understand this concept it got me thinking. If the nature and quality of my life is mostly determined from my core, then I needed to stop spending time trying to fix external factors in order to make my life better. I had to start renovating my internal world.
Yes, actually, you are in control
More often than not, it’s your own mind preventing you from happiness. The reason why I was unhappy is because I thought everything was out of my control. When I created an inner battle, it only made my life difficult and unpleasant. I never once looked within and realised that my own thoughts, perceptions and attitudes were the cause.
You may think ‘why would you do that to yourself, why purposely create an unhappy life?’ Well, I thought it was normal, I had no idea I was engaging in a form of self destruction every morning. I took no responsibility or ownership for my own happiness and got stuck in a cycle of negativity and pessimism.
While I understand there are exceptions and circumstances that are totally out of our control, for the most part I was in control and let others determine my own happiness. Before, I used to think everything and everyone was the problem and didn’t realise I was the problem.
To react or not react?
What really helped in this whole process was learning about how reactions primarily affect our internal world. When I reacted negativity to something happening externally to me, such as someone jumping a queue I was in, it made me very unhappy.
Anger was my natural reaction, but the problem was, the only person my emotions affected was me! I would feel a burning rage inside and to my detriment, I wasn’t able to magically transfer this emotion to the person it was directed at – the queue jumper! They didn’t give a damn they had pushed in front of me, nor did they know or care about the emotions bubbling up inside of me – it had no significance in their life.
Thankfully I know that I have a choice in how I react and don’t let these minor things get to me. Nowadays, when someone is getting annoyed at me, I now think that’s your problem not mine – I’m quite happy continuing on with life and not giving it a second thought.
“You can not control the situation but you can control your reaction to the situation. The words are much easier said than practiced…Learning to separate ourselves from what happens to us and beginning to see how we respond to it is the best gift you can give yourself.”
What you experience is totally up to you, you can create misery out of anything like I did. When you’re happy, your mind, body and emotions will function at their best. How effectively you harness your internal world forms the basis of your success.
Happiness is not a state of mind it is the foundation of your quality of life…It’s the minimum thing to do in life.
From London with thanks!