What makes you happy?
My wife asked me this question one morning recently. It sounds so simple, “What makes you happy?”, but I found it difficult to answer. It felt strange and I had to stop and think.
I realised that I don’t often think about what makes me happy. I seem to more often think about what is not making me happy. That’s bad. Does this happen to you too?
I really had to put my usual thoughts on hold to ponder the answer to this apparently simple question – “What makes you happy?”.
What makes me happy?
After some effort, I found I could actually begin to think of what makes me happy. Here’s the list I came up with;
- seeing the dawn break over the countryside
- sharing all of life with my wife
- chatting about everything and nothing with my family
- spending time with my family and friends
- seeing something I’d been working on coming into reality
- a really good sleep
- a funny movie
- skiing down a snow covered mountain
- having a fun karting session
- knowing that I’ve done the right thing and helped somebody
- seeing the goodness in other people
- a loving, loyal dog
- having a positive impact on the community
- helping someone who’s in trouble
When I look back on this list, I’m a little surprised to notice how so many of these things seem really simple and are actually free.
My initial feelings
I was surprised how hard it was to come up with this list. I couldn’t do it on the spot and wasn’t able to give the above answers to my wife at the time when she asked. I found I had to resist a feeling of me against the world, or that the world is against me.
I had this feeling that I was too occupied being unhappy to even consider what makes me happy. I could easily say that lots of things make me unhappy, like commuting to work, having obligations, needing to earn money, pollution, people being rude, companies ripping off the world, being ignored, etc., etc.
Really this is the result of my ego. The ego is just the version of ourself that our mind has created. It’s the ego (or simply the mind) that creates everything negative in our lives. Our soul is pure and good. It’s the ego/mind that can create things that are not-pure and not-good. At the same time, the mind is an infinitely capable tool with which to do good and have fun. By aligning ourselves with our Soul and eliminating the damaging ego, we can use the mind to create amazing things.
Giving really is better than receiving
Love is infinite. It doesn’t run out. In fact, by loving someone, love is being reinforced, not diminished. By sharing my love with another, we increase the chance of the love within them being strengthened and further shared. Giving or sharing love makes the love stronger. The more love that is given, the more love there is. Isn’t that amazing?
The more love that is given, the more love there is.
I think this is true will all things that are really important. If it’s limited, rare and expensive, then it’s almost definitely not important at all. If it’s infinite and reinforced when shared, then it’s a gem to be enjoyed. The best things in life are free. Almost everything on the list above can’t be bought.
We don’t need anything to be happy
We don’t need anything to be happy. We we born with everything we need. We have a fundamental joy just from being. As babies, we are born happy and ready to explore the world.
When looking at my list above, most of the things that make me happy are free and have always been available. If, at times, I’ve chosen to ignore these things and be unhappy, that’s simply my choice. There was never any real reason for me to be unhappy.
We are fundamentally happy. We don’t need anything to make us happy. But we can make ourselves unhappy. That’s what most of us learn to do as we grow up.
Time to unlearn that.
We don’t need to make ourselves happy, just stop making ourselves unhappy. It’s as simple as that.
I’m trying to stop making myself unhappy. I know I do this (thanks a lot, ego!) but it’s a hard habit to shake.
Now, “What makes you happy?”