Is real happiness, or your current interpretation of it, a lie?
Would having the right amount of health, wealth and love in your life truly bring about the deep and moving fulfillment that you think it will?
And when you achieve all you wish… then what?
Happiness is something the majority of us all wish to attain.
I’ve been a student of happiness and personal development for a number of years.
Since I’m a firm believer that happiness is not just a feeling, but a choice, I was very excited to receive a copy of The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy but Does, by Sonja Lyubomirsky, to review.
There are a number of critical areas in one’s life where having the wrong conceptions can do a considerable amount of damage to your general well-being.
Why You Aren’t Happy
One true way to determine if you’ve been (or are) lying to yourself is to take an inventory of the type of beliefs and ideals you attach happiness to.
“I’ll be happy when… I find the right partner”
“If only I had… a better job”
“I never be happy if I don’t… lose this weight.”
Fill in the blanks as you see fit.
These types of beliefs and inernal-statements can be applied to all the main areas of your life.
Your marriage, family and children, work and professional life, finances and mental/physical health can all be affected by your perspective.
[note]How you think will ultimately determine how you feel. Tweet this[/note]
By placing your expectations of happiness on the external – you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Yes, achievements and reaching goals can certainly aid you in being happy.
It’s when you hit those milestones and time starts to pass where the elusive sense of happiness begins to fade.
Hedonic Adaptation is the Culprit
By making the generalization or assumption that just having something, by association, will make you happy, you are blindly leading yourself astray.
The Myths of Happiness does a very good job covering this and explaining the process of hedonic adaptation.
This is when something new comes along, no matter how grand or wonderful (spouse, promotion, success, fortune, etc.), and eventually we end up taking it for granted.
We get used to it.
It becomes the norm.
Given enough exposure to an event or circumstance, happiness will begin to level off and return to where it was (prior to said event or circumstance).
This is why marriages get boring, work gets dull and parenthood becomes trying for so many.
Finding Happiness Through Variation
Like it or not, adaptation is going to happen – we get used to our circumstances, routines and situations.
Marriages will get dull, work becomes monotonous and even being wealthy or rich will lack in luster eventually.
These truths are not meant to discourage you but rather provide you with a wake up call to be proactive and responsive to their effects.
The key is to find the variation and ways to implement or increase the positive in your life.
[note]Are the expectations you hold realistic or are you asking too much? Tweet this[/note]
You can work together to find new and exciting ways to enhance your marriage.
It is possible to bring new life to your job or career.
Sonja does a great job providing the evidence, research, data and stories explaining how to do just that.
You’ll find a number of practical examples on ways you can improve your marriage if the spark is gone, or fading, or if the joys of parenthood are becoming less than joyous to you.
Like many books and resources there is a lot of great information to be found.
Some may not apply or work for you and others ideas will make you question or think about things differently.
Part of the magic behind reading is finding things out for yourself and in the way it gets the internal gears and thoughts moving in the right direction.
If you’d like to check this book out and explore for yourself, click here: The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy but Does (affiliate link – If you choose to purchase Amazon will toss a few pennies my way).
So, what do you think? Are your expectations about what will (or would) make you happy set too high? Do you rely too much on what you have, or don’t have, to determine the level of happiness in your life? Leave your thoughts and share your stories in the comments section below.
Special thanks to Trish, and TLC Book tours!