I came across a really cool quote the other day:
“Happiness is like glass, it can be all around you, yet be invisible. But if you change your angle of viewing a little, it will reflect light more beautifully than any other object around you.” -Lelouch Lamperouge
Lelouch Lamperouge must have been a wise man, I thought, after reading this. I pictured him as an old man with a long white beard and round glasses. Boy was I mistaken. Fun fact: Lelouch Lamperouge is actually a character from a Japanese anime series. Young, energetic with some stellar violet eyes. I like his take on happiness.
“Happiness is like glass…” How accurate, right? Because glass, of course, is transparent, fragile and can easily become muddy if we don’t care for it.
Our Search for Happiness
We search for happiness, we strive for happiness and much of what we do is intended to make us happy. If not today, maybe tomorrow. Or the day after, who knows?
I think we can agree on the fact that many of us are confused about what makes us happy.
And I am not talking about the 2 minute high we get from buying new stuff. Because the value of something decreases once we get our hands on it. I mean sustainable happiness. When I was contemplating over this the following came to my mind:
“All I want is a happy life. Now, don’t you ask me how I imagine a happy life to look like or what I need to do to get one. I just know I want one.”
We don’t know. So we try different things to discover that a lot of these things don’t work. At least not in the long run.
Searching for happiness inevitably implies that happiness can be found and collected somewhere or at some point in the future. Happiness as a consequence? Happiness as contingent on conditions that need to be met first and then get rewarded with happiness?
If…then. If…then. If…then. Oh wait. Somehow still not there. If…then. If…then. If…then.
You get the idea.
Most of us turn to external factors, outside ourselves to find happiness. This lifestyle doesn’t come from nowhere. We can trace it back to the media that loves to tell us on every channel possible that we will be happy once we attain a certain status, gain this much money or buy that item. And only if we meet these conditions will we be happy. Finally.
Transparent, Fragile and Muddy
What if, however, happiness is not something to be chased but something to be seized. Because its already there, within us. All we need to do is pay attention and refocus. On what we have, not what we are lacking.
We have become so habituated with the miracles and blessing that surround us every day that we take them for granted. We don’t see them as miracles anymore, we see them as given. It appears we are better at complaining than praising. We find plenty of reasons to feel bad, complain, get upset and only few to feel good.
We will always, always find enough reasons to feel bad. Because we find what we are looking for. BUT there are also always, always enough reasons to feel great and happy.
The good old reliable saying that the cup is either half empty or half full depending on how we see it… Perspective my friends, change angles. And obviously we want the cup to be overflowing so you have enough to give to everybody else.
Mindset <-> Happiness
On planet earth, we are probably the only species that can make ourselves stressed with one thought, but also happy with one thought. So feeling happy stands in direct relation with what we think. This is where we can detect the fragility of happiness, because it can easily shatter when we are not mindful of our thoughts but let those control us.
From an evolutionary perspective our mind is wired to focus more on the negative. The precise reason for that is that in our former days of being hunter-gatherers, we had to watch out for bears and tigers to survive. So logically, during that time it was more effective to focus on the bad stuff. After all it was a matter of life and death. Happiness wasn’t a priority, survival was. Times changed though. This kind of mindset doesn’t serve us in today’s world anymore. So lets update our system and learn to focus on the positive.
To live a great life means to have a great mind. A mind full of appreciation with what is and what we have, because the more we know we are blessed the more capacity we create for ourselves to feel happy and content. Remember to feed your mind with sunlight. You are not your thoughts. Set things in relations.
Practice gratitude. Ultimately, gratitude is the answer. And becoming more mindful of all the great things that surround us. Acknowledge your own good fortune even if it seems minimal in certain moments.
Happiness starts with us. With our decision to be happy. We should really not wait for this thing or that to happen first.
Also realize though that striving to be high on happiness all the time is unrealistic. In the end the feeling of happiness is caused by hormones. Its a biochemical process. And to feel sad and down at times is part of the game. Don’t worry about it. What we always can do is choosing to ‘change angles so the glass will reflect light more beautifully.’
Make your own happiness.
Originally published at sunflowerminds.com