One of the most profound questions we can answer is, “what does happiness mean?” There is no one right answer to this question. Contemplating what happiness means to you is the first step in being able to be truly and sustainably happy. The second step is making happiness a definite goal, with actions to take and trackable progress. After we have created our happiness goal, it is time to take action. All of this sounds easy. In reality, it is quite hard. It is hard because it requires us to be completely honest with ourselves about what happiness means to us. For some, it is contentment and joy; for others, it is challenge and change. Whatever it is for you, it is achievable. The key is owning your definition of happiness.
How you define happiness is your truth, and there is power in owning it. With power comes the ability to take action and create change. When you are unhappy or dissatisfied with your life, you are the only person who can change this. Others can help you, but you must do the work. Defining what would make you happy and deciding how important each aspect of happiness is for you creates a clearer picture of what would truly create happiness in your life. For example, many people would list making or having more money as a key component of them becoming happy. It is vital to ask, “What would more money get you?” If it is travel, there are many jobs that include travel. If it is more free time, there are many flexible jobs that pay a living wage. If it is security, what areas of your life are you trying to secure with money?
Money is not the answer that everyone gives, but the example shows how to get to the core of what happiness means to you. Once you have your core list, organizing it in order of most important to least important will help because sometimes what we want will require sacrifice. Knowing what you will, and will not, sacrifice is important. As you work toward being happy, you may find that you did not actually know what you valued. You may need to reorganize or recreate the list. Happiness is a process: as you grow and change, so will your definition of happiness. Happiness is not a final destination to arrive at and declare the work over. The work changes. Once you achieve happiness, the work becomes tending to your happiness: regularly looking for things that could lead to unhappiness, then ushering them out of your life.
Happiness upkeep can be challenging for some. You may have bad habits that allow unhappy things into your life. The work of becoming happy will teach you how to stay happy. If you let go of something on your way to becoming happy, don’t pick it back up once you are happy! You let it go for a reason. If you let go of people on your way to becoming happy, don’t reconnect once you are happy. You let them go for a reason, too. Trust yourself and your process. Trusting yourself and not undoing all your good work will be challenging, but you can do it. Once you master happiness, you will be able to take the same steps to find your bliss.
About Kisstopher: Kisstopher is an American psychologist who has been helping individuals, couples, and families have more good days than bad for over 20 years. In 2009, Kisstopher opened Adjustment Guidance, a mental health and wellbeing therapy practice located in Nagoya city, just 5 minutes from Ozone station. Kisstopher sees clients Tuesday through Saturday between 9am and 8pm.
All communications are confidential and your first appointment is free.
Memberships: American Psychological Association, Japanese Psychological Association, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan