You may be surprised to know that “how to be happy” and “happiness” are the most searched terms on Google. This tells us that people are generally unhappy and searching for an answer on an internet search for happiness. And the answer is actually yes, there is a way to be happy, and it resides in how you view yourself, others, and gratitude.
Know Your Why
One of the biggest hurdles in finding happiness is finding a deep connection to your why – your purpose in life. Happiness stops being an elusive concept when you are aware of what you are passionate about and find a way to live your purpose. It comes from knowing what you are doing, why you are doing it, and then living out your purpose. But we tend to get sidetracked by constant messaging that contradicts that belief. In the marketing that we consume daily, we are bombarded with messages that tell a myth about where happiness is found – money, perfect relationships, the way you look, a certain weight, being super fit, looking youthful, not having cellulite – you name it. These are constant reminders that you don’t measure up, creating a culture of unhappiness.
Recognize Negative Thoughts
You may hear the line – Be yourself; everyone else is taken. That is hard to believe when “being unapologetically you” doesn’t match what you see as valued through the constant messaging. You may feel good about being yourself, but then someone says something disparaging or treats you negatively or hurtfully, and you begin to question yourself – Are you good enough? Did you say something wrong? What is wrong with you? And you begin to let your wheels turn in your mind and rewind everything you have done and said. If you are the type of person still awake at 1 AM with the voice inside your head going and going, rethinking and second-guessing everything you did in the day and all the ways you screwed up, then you know exactly what I am talking about. If this sounds like you, there are ways to stop this cycle of negative thoughts that keep you from being happy.
Acknowledge the Superhuman Paradox
I coined a concept in my book, Happy Woman, Happy World, that I call the Superhuman Paradox, which addresses the idea that you feel like you have to be the best at everything. Because of this all-or-nothing thought process, you feel like you never measure up. To step out of this self-loathing phase where you chase an unattainable viewpoint, you have to understand the concept of the Superhuman Paradox. This paradox happens when you look at the image of people you admire – one person is super fit, the other is an amazing chef, another friend is a wonderful parent – and you decide you want to be like them; you want to become the things you admire in them. You see all of these things that they are exceptional at, and you begin to make a list – I want to look like her, I want to parent like him, I want to cook delicious meals like her, and before you know it, you have a list of 10 amazing things about ten amazing friends, and you think you can become a compilation of those ten things from 10 different people. How realistic is that goal? It’s not.
You don’t stop to realize that your friend who is super fit never cooks a single meal; he stops and gets a protein shake or has premade meals delivered to his house. The friend that is a fantastic cook’s house is always a mess. These people you idolize are not ALL things; they are great at something. Much of your unhappiness comes from the pressure you put on yourself to perform in every area of your life at a perfect 10. When you can detach yourself from this false reality, it takes a great deal of pressure off you, and you can stop feeling the unrealistic pressure to be excellent in multiple areas.
Be Aware of What You Have
When you grant yourself the freedom from the constraints of your thoughts and skewed way of thinking, you can learn to let these pressures go. Then, what would things look like for you? How different would things look when you stopped focusing on what you are not good at and what you don’t have and began looking at what you have? When you learn to look at your life in terms of what you do well and where you have an opportunity to make a difference and an impact on others’ lives, then you realize that you have the power to bring feelings of worthiness and happiness to others; that is the trick. Maybe you said something kind to the person at the bank, showed server patience at the restaurant, or took the middle seat on your flight even though you wanted to throw a fit.
When you can train your mind to look at people with the assumption that everyone is doing the best job they possibly can under their circumstances, it is hard not to be happy. When you choose to see the world this way, you stop thinking of things that happen from the standpoint of – why are people doing this to me – and you can settle into a mindset where things feel much better, and you are not in a constant battle.
It’s All About Focus
Learning to be happy is simply contingent on grace for yourself and others. By recognizing that you are not supposed to be a combination of the best attributes of everyone you admire and beginning to believe that others are doing the best with what they have, happiness becomes much easier to achieve. When you choose to remove anger and discord from your mind and heart, it enables you to recognize the gifts in your life and live your life focused on gratitude. And gratitude — a critical element to being happy.
At the Growth Architect, we want to help you break through the mindset that keeps you defeated and provide you with the strategies and tools to shift you into a positive mindset that allows you to be happy. If you enjoyed this article, watch my video How To Be Happy.
Beate Chelette is The Growth Architect & Founder of The Women’s Code, a training company specialized in providing companies an ROI on Balanced Leadership. She has been named one of 50 must-follow women entrepreneurs by the Huffington Post. A first-generation immigrant who found herself $135,000 in debt as a single parent, she bootstrapped her passion for photography into a highly successful global business and eventually sold it to Bill Gates in a multimillion-dollar deal.
Beate works with business leaders and supports organizations by developing and providing training the training, tools, and expertise to create and maintain a balanced, equal, and inclusive work environment that fosters creativity, employee engagement, and corporate growth.
Recent clients include Merck, Women’s Legislative Caucus of California, Cal State University Dominguez Hills, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), NFTE, CreativeLive, the Association of Corporate Growth, and TracyLocke.
Beate is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome” a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.
To book Beate to speak or train please connect here. Your Time Is Valuable!