Dalai Lama XIV: Happiness

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
— Dalai Lama XIV

We’ve been talking about happiness a lot lately. Over the past three weeks the Clutter Healing blog has covered positivity, self-talk, and inspiration. Today we want to talk about what can go wrong for a lot of people in the pursuit of happiness.

Many of us were conditioned to think that if you work hard enough, someday you will be able to earn or buy the things that will allow you to be perpetually happy. This simply isn’t true. There is no magic salary, boat, family size, car, or partner that will make you happy. The problem is that when you treat status symbols, life milestones, or the attainment of objects as markers of self-worth and happiness, you set yourself up for failure in the long run. Once you get that particular thing you were looking forward to, more often than not the bar resets itself. Once it does, there’s something brand new to aim for that you just know would make your life happier. It’s like a rabbit chasing a carrot on a stick.

The basic problem here is our understanding of happiness. Happiness isn’t a prize at the end of the tunnel, but a state of mind you have to intentionally create for yourself every single day. It’s not that your partner or financial successes can’t bring you joy at all (of course they can!), but you have to remember that the only person who can ultimately give you lasting happiness is you. Listen to your inner voice, strive to see or bring out the positive in the world around you, and do your best to live in the present moment. Even if it’s difficult. Especially when it’s difficult. It helps if you learn to remind yourself that as the Dalai Lama said, “happiness is not something ready made, it comes from your own actions,” and the only person who controls your actions is you.