If happiness is based on how good the situations in our lives are, e.g. how much money we have, how good our relationships are, how healthy we are, then it would be to say that we have little control over how happy we are. You can work hard to make as much money as you want, but regardless of your predisposed social standing or hard earned education, there is no guarantee of having financial wealth. Having good, healthy relationships is a wonderful goal and I believe completely obtainable, but you still have a limited say in how and when this happens. All relationships take work, and when and how you will come across those people that you are the most compatible with is not really something that you can control. And you can work your whole life to be a healthy, fit individual and still have any amount of tragedies health wise.
If we are to admit that we have little control over the outward circumstances in our lives, to say that this is the source of our happiness is really a sad concept. However, if we look inside ourselves first to find inner peace, happiness, joy, we find a completely different outcome. I believe we all have it within ourselves to find these things if we allow ourselves the time and energy to do so. If we allow ourselves to see the beauty inside of our own beings, you are not only less dependent on the world around you to bring you joy, but you are also more likely to see the beauty in all that surrounds you.
This has been my recent endeavor: to change my way of thinking about happiness. My whole adult life I have done what so many of us do. I have worked so that I can make whatever amount of money I felt necessary for me to make at the time. I have searched for those relationships that made me the most happy at the time. I have focused on goals and things in life that I thought would make me feel complete in life and bring me more joy. While I don’t think it is a bad thing to work for things you want in life, all of these things are only situational and subject to change at any time no matter what my efforts. And if and when they do, when that amount of money no longer seems enough, when that relationship goes through hard times, when that sought after good health fails, what are we left with? If we change our way of thinking, though, if we look at happiness as something that dwells inside us always and is a part of us, then we no longer depend on these outer circumstances to make us so. And if we can find that inner peace and knowing of oneself, then doesn’t it seem logical that all those other things in life are more likely to fall into place? If your focus is finding peace within yourself, it seems more likely to me that your life will naturally reflect this, and you will almost subconsciously put yourself in those situations that are more conducive to that state of mind. If you take the time to give grace to yourself and learn the inner workings of your mind and heart, doesn’t it seem more likely that you will make better choices in the important areas of your life like career and relationships?
So, I am attempting to take myself out of the rat race, if only for moments at a time. I’m not quitting my job or pawning my parental responsibilities off on someone else. I still have many, many duties to take care of in life, and I will continue to embrace these. But I am making more time for myself. To meditate. To write. To read. To contemplate. To get to know myself again. To breathe. To be present. To look inside myself and attempt to listen to my heart and mind and relearn what it is that truly brings me joy. To try to see the world as it is: a constant state of change over which I have little control, but is still simply life rearranging itself.