Are you happy? I mean, are you really happy? Not happy with the model of your current car, your current relationship, your current job, or house, or wardrobe. Happy with your life? And how would you know if you were, anyway? After all, isn’t happiness subjective? Isn’t it something that’s ever-changing? Doesn’t it depend on all sorts of external factors over which you have little or no control?
Well, you could be forgiven for thinking that happiness – real happiness – is subjective and down to external factors, because the media and the world around you peddles that message with incessant vigour. Even an article in Psychology Today puts true happiness down to external factors – the things that you have in your life, stating “[to be truly happy] all we have to do is focus on what we have and not focus on what we don’t have”.
So, yes, you could be forgiven for thinking that happiness is subjective and down to external factors, but, not to put too fine a point on it, you’d be wrong.
You see, you can be thoroughly discontent with your car, your house, your sound system, your wardrobe, your job, your relationship with your significant other, or whatever, and still be truly happy. And that’s because real happiness has zero to do with external factors – its source is 100% internal.
But you only tap into that source – you only catch a glimpse of real happiness – when you connect with, and step into, the real you. And therein lies the problem.
You see, the real you knows what true happiness looks like for you. The real you understands your passions, your values, the cry of your soul. The real you is fully conversant with what makes you tick. And, if the voice of the real you was all you had to listen to, then no problem. But it isn’t, so big problem. Because the voice of the real you is just one voice among many, and those many voices are loud and persistent.
They are the voices that scream out of billboards and TV commercials, magazines and websites, each telling you what a great life, and therefore happiness, looks like. They are the voices of family that tell you the career, guy or girl, degree, or whatever, that will give you deep and lasting happiness. The voices of friends who tell you that a particular holiday, hairstyle, physique, party, or some other material item or social event will be the thing that scratches that itch and make everything just-so.
And so you buy that car, move to that location, style your hair that way, pursue that career, marry that guy or that girl, each with the promise of real happiness attached. But, somehow, that happiness that you feel in the moment doesn’t last. It fades. That itch comes back. That sense of discontent resurfaces. That feeling that, no matter how happy you are with your partner, your house, your car, your career, or whatever else it may be, something – something you can’t quite put your finger on – is missing.
And that something is missing because the only voice that truly knows where real happiness is to be found for you – the voice of the real you – has been silenced by the cacophony of the world around you.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You see, when you learn to pick out the voice of the real you from all the noise around it, and to tune your senses to its whispers, everything changes.
Oh, for sure, you may still buy that house, get that hairstyle, pursue that career or marry that guy or girl, but, where once those things were the be-all and end-all, now they are merely incidental additions to a much richer, deeper, lasting happiness that is grounded in, and flowing from, who you truly are. A happiness that aligns with your values, releases your passions, taps into your strengths and amplifies the cry of your soul.
But how do you pick out that voice? How do you tune into its whispers?
You get to know the person behind that voice. The person you were always meant to be. The person you already are. You don’t need to become someone else; you simply need to cast aside the versions of you that you became as the years passed by, and allow the real you to step forward.
And a great place to start is with your values: the things that sit at the core of what makes you, you. The things that truly matter to you. The things you will fight for, maybe even die for.
When you know what your values are, and how they fit into your life, you can make informed decisions. Informed decisions about the roles you play, the relationships you have, your finances, your career paths, the leisure pursuits you engage in, even the TV shows you decide to watch, or avoid.
And, when you make informed decisions, you put yourself in control, and eliminate (as far as ever you can) the opportunity for chance to put itself in the mix.
Your values are revealed through the things you love now, and loved in years gone by, and that you like, tolerate, and despise, both now and in the past. The themes that lie within what truly matters to you paint a picture of who you truly are. The real you.
So, what do you love? What do you like, tolerate and despise? And what values do those things reveal, and what do those values tell you about who you truly are?