by Kelvin Chin, Life After Life Expert
Let’s just start with the easy answer that I think most people who’ve given any thought to this subject have agreed upon... that it comes “from inside.”
Sure, there are still many people on the planet who believe that they will be happier if they buy more things, own more fancy clothes, cars, anything with a price tag. There are many who still take a very materialistic view towards happiness — that they can “buy happiness.”
But there is increasing awareness that this is a myth, that no matter how much “stuff” you own, you can still be very unhappy.
So, let’s just start this discussion by agreeing among ourselves that happiness comes from inside, not from our external world.
OK, now that’s out of the way.
But if we dig deeper, let’s look at how we really think and feel if we are honest with ourselves. Let’s “turn within” and see if we can learn a little bit more about ourselves, and perhaps increase our ability to be happy a little bit more.
After all, the pursuit of happiness is what life is all about, isn’t it?
Have you ever tried to help someone, only to find that they were either unreceptive to your advice, or unable to act on it for any number of reasons, leaving you bummed out when that happened? I think all of us have experienced this at least once (more likely, many times) in our lives.
I think it may be helpful for us to ask ourselves — “Where are we drawing our happiness from in that experience?”
The obvious answer is that our happiness is coming from whether or not they follow our advice. Because if they do, then we think they will be happier, and our goal of helping them be happier will have been reached. We will have succeeded.
Our happiness is dependent on their happiness. Or at the very least, our happiness is dependent on their listening to us.
And we think that if they are not listening to us, then we need to be more persuasive, we need to come up with better arguments to convince them, or we may need to exert more effort, speak more forcefully, maybe even louder. But does that work?
Sometimes it may seem to work, they may actually start to listen, take some of our suggested actions, and in fact become happier. So, sometimes it does work — at least so it seems…from that perspective.
However, even when that happens, there is often an inherent negative. The other person may harbor the feeling inside that they have been forced, cajoled, or at least artfully persuaded. And if that’s the case, there may be a “bad taste in their mouth,” feeling like their proverbial “Free Will toes have been stepped on” — that you did not give them a choice, that you took their choice away from them.
But, even if that’s not the case, and they feel thankful, have we perhaps fooled ourselves in the short-term? Fooled ourselves into thinking that by helping other people experience happiness, we ensure our own happiness?
Said another way, does our happiness need to be dependent only on the results of our actions? Does our happiness need to be dependent on whether or not we are “successful” in helping other people be happy?
Now, keep in mind, when I say “happy” I’m using that in the most general sense of the word — so that could mean “be successful in their business,” “successful in their relationships,” “successful in whatever pursuit in their life they are focused on.”
Instead, I think our happiness is and can be more internally driven, more “self driven.”
What do I mean by that?
I think we can choose to derive our happiness more from how we interact, behave and communicate with others, rather than on the result of whether or not they follow our advice, and listen to us.
So, it’s a process focus, rather than a result focus.
This does not mean that we don’t focus on results. Results are very important, and do need to be focused on to accomplish actions effectively.
But remember, we’re talking about happiness here. And placing our happiness in the “hands of others” and on whether they choose to make life choices that make us happy is risky at best and unpredictable for sure.
Now, I am a realist, and I am fully aware that the world we live in is a “Win-Lose” world. Our culture focuses excessively on winning and losing as the measure of happiness. This is of course flawed, but it is the reality of the culture we live in. And we are affected by it.
Look at the NFL — it’s the #1 sport in the United States, an $11 billion business in which another $95 billion a year exchanges hands through gambling on NFL and college football. This is not a sport that could survive based on looking at process only...it is Win-Lose, result-oriented.
However, the NFL does not represent the “game of life.”
And those who have viewed the game of life as only a win-lose proposition, as a “results only” proposition, have left trails of broken relationships in their wake. Because that is not how life operates.
Life is relationships. A series of many relationships of many different colorations, types and qualities. And how we navigate those relationships determines our level of happiness in life.
Perhaps we might be happier if we took a more process-oriented approach towards those relationships. Helping others in and of itself may be a source of happiness for us that is equal to —maybe even greater than — the happiness that we might derive from our friends following our advice.
And maybe our suggestions have affected them in ways that are not readily apparent, so the “results” are not readily visible yet. Maybe we have had a positive effect on their lives and yet the seeds still need some time to germinate. Maybe this is another way to measure our success, another source of happiness for us.
Food for thought.
Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you.
Kelvin H. Chin is a Meditation Teacher, Life After Life Expert, and Author of “Overcoming the Fear of Death.” He learned to meditate at age 19, and has been teaching Turning Within and coaching others in their self-growth for 40 years. He helps people understand their life challenges through their individual belief systems, and helps them find their own solutions. His past life memories reach back many centuries, and he accesses those memories in his teaching and his coaching in the same way all coaches draw on their own available experiences for perspective and effective analogies. He can be reached at www.TurningWithin.org.