If we’re going to free ourselves from lies about happiness, we must find truth to counteract them.
Luckily, when it comes to the two biggest lies we tell ourselves about happiness, there is one single, simple-yet-powerful truth that dispels them both.
It is this: “I can be happy now.”
The truth versus the lies
Consider the first big lie: “I will be happy when (fill in the blank).”
The truth—”I can be happy now—” counteracts this lie, revealing to us that no matter what position we’re in, no matter what possessions we have, and no matter what our lives look like, we can be happy with all of it. We can be happy at our current milestone, and at every subsequent one, for the rest of our lives.
Similarly, this truth counteracts the second lie as well. Believing that you can be happy now, regardless of circumstance, will help you look past your weaknesses, overcome your struggles, and move to a place of positivity and progress, rather than one of negativity and stagnation.
Believing “I can be happy now” is transformative. And by recognizing that as the truth, we can and will start to live by it.
What it looks like to be happy now
So many of us live by the lies we tell ourselves about happiness that it’s hard for us to even imagine what “being happy now” would look like.
Because we’re all individuals with different talents and tastes, there are going to be distinct variances among happy people. That said, there are also certain characteristics that happy people tend to have in common.
Happy people are positive people. They can see the good side of bad situations. They have hope that things can get better. Similarly, living with this optimistic outlook helps happy people to focus on the positive changes that could come, rather than the negative circumstances that exist now. High optimism has been correlated with high effort and more chance for success.
Showing gratitude for the things and people around them is another common characteristic of people who are happy now. Without gratitude, both of the big lies about happiness exist in full force: you aren’t happy with what you have, and therefore, you want more, and you’re upset that you don’t have enough. Gratitude is also tied to improved health, stronger relationships, and the ability to handle difficult situations.
When you’re happy with who you are, there’s no need to be anyone or anything else. Because of this, happy people allow themselves to be authentic. They think, dress, speak, and act for themselves. Living in this way fosters more happiness, and a positive cycle ensues.
Happy people tend to have greater self confidence. They accept challenges, try new things, and recognize their own strengths. They’re also likely more open to failure, since they recognize that their self worth isn’t determined by the outside world, but rather that it comes from within.
Some people are driven by a promotion, a raise, or material possessions. Happy people, however, tend to be driven by intangible motivators—things like relationships, love, family, or adventure. They realize what truly brings them happiness, and they allow those things to motivate them, rather than acquiring more “things.”
Happy people feel more capable. The world is open to them, and they see any goal as being within reach, as long as they are willing to work for it. This sense of empowerment tends to lead to less stress and improved performance.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the qualities of a happy person, but this sample is enough to demonstrate that happy people seem to be more at peace with themselves, more comfortable with the world around them, and more willing to make meaningful connections with other people.
Breaking free of the lies
Now comes the big question: how to break free of the lies we think and live by a greater truth?
It’s hard to break free from the lies we tell ourselves about happiness, because we want so desperately to believe them. We want to believe that happiness is something we can find in a new car, a new job, or a new spouse. Those are relatively easy to find, when compared to self-realization and deep inner change. That’s the hard work. We want to believe that unhappiness isn’t our fault, and therefore, it’s also not in our power to live any differently.
Not only that, but these lies are often instilled in us at a young age. We are told that happiness is dependent on our grades in school, our natural abilities, our career of choice, and so on.
But if we are going to find true happiness, break free we must! And it means applying some effort…
First, you have to realize that you are lying to yourself. This is no small feat. It requires honesty, humility, and a willingness to change. Which of the two big lies about happiness are you telling yourself? Or do you struggle with both of them?
Next, you have to identify and acknowledge the truth. The truth is here: “I can be happy now.” Say it aloud, write it down, embroider it on a pillow—whatever will help you remember. Once you acknowledge this truth, you are reclaiming responsibility for your own happiness. It may feel funny, it may seem silly, so smile and laugh with yourself while you do it. And do it.
Finally, you have to live according to your new truth. You have to believe that you can, in fact, that you are in fact, in happiness in your life. You have to start making choices based on this simple but profound truth.
These three steps are simple to repeat, but difficult to do—sometimes extraordinarily so. In fact, the work that we do here at Design.org, including our personalized coaching messages and daily affirmations, helps you through this process. (To learn more about this, check out this page and this post.)
Lying to yourself about happiness won’t help you discover happiness. In fact, it will keep you from it. Conversely, this truth, “I can be happy now,” is a powerful tool that can help you as you start to make real and meaningful change in your life.
After all, as we all know, “the truth shall set you free.”
Start implementing this truth in your life today by taking our free assessment.
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