“You will never be happier than you expect. To change your happiness, change your expectation.” Bette Davis
We are told over & over that happiness is an inside job but a good percentage of us look for outside feed-back or inspiration to ‘up’ the vibration or energy of who we are. Recently I read an article written about a year ago which states, “True happiness isn’t about being happy all the time.” Lowri Dowthwaite wrote, “Martin Seligman is considered the founding father of positive psychology. He describes happiness as experiencing frequent positive emotions such as joy, excitement and contentment, combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. Studies have shown that the way we respond to the circumstances of our lives, has more influence on our happiness than the events themselves.
Apparently there are 2 pathways to happiness. The Hedonistic view that in order to live a happy life we must maximise pleasure and avoid pain. If we see happiness from this point of view, then we have to continue to seek out new experiences and pleasures in order to continue to ‘up’ our happiness. The other path says we should live authentically and for the greater good. We should pursue meaning and potential through kindness, justice, honesty and courage. This may involve unpleasant experiences and emotions at times, but often leads to deeper levels of joy and contentment. So leading a happy life is not about avoiding hard times; it is about being able to respond to adversity in a way that allows you to grow from the experience. Tolerating distress can make us more resilient and leads us to take action in our lives, such as changing jobs or overcoming hardship.
Unlike feeling happy, which is a transient state, leading a happier life is about individual growth through finding meaning. It is about accepting our humanity with all its ups and downs, enjoying the positive emotions, and harnessing painful feelings in order to reach our full potential.
Enjoy finding happiness in your adverse experiences by changing your expectations!