For many people, happiness is an elusive butterfly in the garden of life. I remember seeing both my sons do this, they see a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower. They want to see it close up, touch it, and hold it in their hands. They go towards the flower that the butterfly is resting on, with arms outstretched, only to find as he just gets in reach, the butterfly moves to another flower. Undeterred he follows the butterfly to the next flower, and then the next, but the butterfly always stays just out of reach.
As adults, happiness can seem just like that butterfly, always just out of reach. It becomes almost an obsession and the words 'if only' become an increasingly large part of our thoughts and vocabulary. If only I had more money I would be happy, if only I was in a great relationship I would be happy if only I could have a different job. The list goes on. I also call this 'I'll be happy when-itus! Even if we achieve one of our 'if only' desires, the happiness we seek is still just out of our reach. The truth of the saying 'The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' becomes our focus and perception. If this becomes our focus, we find that dissatisfaction and unhappiness increasingly keep growing in our life and experience.
Happiness within us can not be completely satisfied by external events or circumstances. To find happiness in life we must first be at peace and be happy with ourselves internally. External events and circumstances can bring us happiness in the moment, but they do not have a lasting effect on our inner world. Life experience brings a mixture of good and bad circumstances for everyone. To rely on our experiences for our source of happiness would mean living life in a constant emotional roller-coaster ride. Which is exhausting!
Deepak Choprah says "Be happy for no reason like a child. If you're happy for a reason, you're in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you." I love that!
Happiness comes from within. The inner contentment that survives the roller coaster ride of life comes from finding and embracing who we are as a person, and living a life of purpose. We need to find peace in every aspect of our life- the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. To discover acceptance, purpose, and peace in all of these areas will give a sense of calm in life. If we neglect any one of these areas, we experience a sense of emptiness and feel something is missing.
I believe that the most common element people are missing is the spiritual side. My discovery that you don't have to be religious to be spiritual was an enlightening one. When you find a connection to something that allows you to believe that you are supported and guided it gives you hope! Hope that you don't have to figure everything out on your own.
There is not a solid foundation for building happiness within so because many of us don't even know that's the issue let alone how to do it we typically start to try to fill this incompleteness by looking for outside solutions. That is the point when we can fall into the 'elusive butterfly' syndrome, and experience the frustration.
Is happiness an elusive butterfly for you? Spend some time in a bit of quiet reflection. Are you neglecting one of the four important parts of who you are and experiencing a sense of emptiness within? The more you discover, embrace and accept your uniqueness and purpose, the more you will experience the butterfly of happiness resting right on your shoulder.
To start to understand how this all sits in your life. Join my December challenge!