Have you figured out the secret to happiness yet? It’s really a lifetime process of self-discovery. You may already know that material wealth and money are not prerequisites. Read on as we bust four common myths about happiness:
Myth No. 1: Optimism isn’t realistic.
Negative, pessimistic people think that optimists are delusional; they pity them for their inability to see life as it really is. In contrast, they see themselves as understanding the “truth” about the world. They tend to be critical and cynical, even putting a negative spin on their humor. They seek proof for their pessimistic ideas, interpreting ambiguous situations as negative.
While these negative observations may seem correct, the dynamic at play is really a vicious self-fulfilling cycle. Doom-and-gloomers think negative thoughts, which lead to pessimistic feelings and actions that are in keeping with that negativity. The negative behavior that results prompts others to shy away, thereby confirming the doom-and-gloomers’ belief that the world is a lousy place.
Escaping this cycle is relatively simple. Your take on a situation (glass half-empty or half-full) determines how you feel, and how you feel influences your ability to behave in an optimistic, uplifting way. So change your perspective, and you’ll change not only your feelings, but how others respond to you.
Myth No. 2: Other people are happier than I am.
If you believe this myth, you probably pay too much attention to other people and idealize their relationships. You see a couple conspicuously displaying affection, and you assume that they have no real problems. Then you examine your own life and intimate relationship (or lack thereof), and decide that everyone is happier than you are.
But no one has a perfect life or relationship. People who enjoy great blessings often find themselves grappling with considerable challenges. Money and material possessions don’t equal happiness, and lack of wealth shouldn’t prevent you from being happy.
Myth No. 3: Other people and things make me happy.
Although statements like “You made me feel awful!” and “You make me so happy!” make for colorful speeches, they imply that the responsibility for your happiness lies in the hands of others. If your mental state is determined by another person’s actions (which you can’t control), then you’ll never experience true stability.
The good news? Just as money can’t make you happy, other people can’t make you think, feel or do anything. Your reaction to people and things determines whether you feel happy or sad. If you stop waiting for circumstances to change in your life, you can experience true happiness every day — no matter what life brings.
Myth No. 4: I can’t be happy if I’m single and alone.
If you believe that only being in a relationship will make you happy, then you probably also believe that only your mate can make you happy. Talk about a precarious situation! If at any time in the relationship you feel unhappy, then you’ll blame your mate — and the relationship will suffer. If the relationship ends, the source of your happiness is gone!
Because happiness is a state of mind, not a reaction to a person, thing or event, you can be happy no matter what happens to you. You can be happy at any age. You can be happy whether you’re married or single. As long as you’re alive, you can make yourself happy, no matter what. Accepting that truth and acting accordingly will make you an extremely powerful — and joyful — person.