Happiness is something to become, not to acquire.
I used to think happiness was something to achieve or acquire. I would think “once I get that promotion, lose weight or graduate from college I will achieve happiness”. I achieved all of these things and found out that I was still unhappy with my life. Happiness was always around the next corner. The next promotion, weight loss, or achievement. Sure, I was very happy the month after I graduated from college, lost weight, and got a promotion within my corporate job on the mainland. This happiness was very short-lived because I wasn’t content with who I was as a person. I was holding onto years of emotional baggage, insecurities, fears, and stories of the past. Stories that only spoke of half-truths, more focused on the negative than the positive. I have learned in the last year that happiness is not something to achieve but something to become through our actions in the world. Happiness is getting out of your comfort zone. Long lasting happiness for me is living in line with my core values instead of what feels good or is more comfortable at the moment. True contentment for me is spending more time on what I’m truly passionate about and less time focused on wealth and status. Through living in line with my values, I have felt more joy than I have ever thought was possible.
Happiness is always an inside job. Your job, relationships, money, and material goods are just “icing on the cake!”. You want to make your cake(life) as delicious(happy) just the way it is. No amount of material goods, fast food, drugs, alcohol, or sex will bring long-lasting peace. These are just fillers that mask true happiness and leave us craving more and more until we feel sick inside.
This lesson was truly learned when I moved to Maui last year. I thought going to beach, hiking, and living on Maui would make my life cherry (Local slang for good). I was still not happy and I couldn’t figure why! I had to look myself in the mirror and slowly start to live in line with my values. It hasn’t been easy, but nothing great comes out of being comfortable all the time. By inquiring within, I have shown compassion, forgiveness, and love to myself. By letting go of what was causing me mental stress, I have become more peaceful.
I suggest writing down your core values on a piece of paper or word document. Next, write down what you do all day and cross-reference your values with your actions. You choose your values and you choose to live in line with them. No one is forcing you to live more intentionally other than yourself! Here are my core values and what I let go of(or added) to live inline with my values
Peace- Coffee, Sales job, unlimited data on my phone.
Compassion-Meat, dairy, eggs, and plastic water bottles.
Love- Self-hatred, and judgments.
Contribution-Started a charity:water campaign(https://my.charitywater.org/jonathan-hoffman-1/clean-water-for-all)
Health-Cigarettes, alcohol, processed foods, oils.
I don’t feel deprived at all! I drink green tea, kombucha, and eat healthy anti-oxidant rich plant foods! These are just trade-offs for a more peaceful, healthy, and happy life for myself. Everyone’s journey is different, there are no right or wrong paths but only different ones!
What are you willing to let go of to be at peace? Choose love over fear and you will find that you will be living a life you love instead of a life you fear.