“Don’t worry. Be happy”. The lyrics of Bobby McFerrin’s song are simple. Why then are so many of us sad?
In #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, I wrote this definition of what I consider are the two essential kinds of happiness:
1. Relative happiness — relies on external factors. It is when everyday wishes are fulfilled, one by one, such as having a fancy house, a new car, a good job, a beautiful partner, straight teeth.. The list goes on. This kind of happiness is temporary and fleeting. We always need more stuff to feel better. It is addictive. And ultimately leads to sadness.
2. Absolute happiness — is a state of inner joy and peace. It is a sense of fitting inside your own skin. You might have some of those external factors that make people relatively happy. Yet these things are not vital for true contentment. If we lose some of the relative things, our inner happiness does not disappear.
Absolute happiness is a feeling of belonging. Of being complete just as we are. Nothing and nobody can increase or decrease this sense of wellbeing. It is, well yes, absolute.
“Ain’t got no cash Ain’t got no style, Ain’t got no girl to make me smile but don’t worry, be happy”
Absolute happiness cannot be bought or bartered or captured. We only attact and maintain it when we have a strong life force, integrity and wisdom. With this kind of happiness it is possible to enjoy the challenge of overcoming life’s hardships just as waves make surfing exhilarating.
How do we realise absolute happiness?
1) Give less time and energy to pursuing relative happiness: fewer material things, less competition or one-upmanship. Stop running away from truth.
2) Lean towards being kind, connected and together: notice beauty in unexpected places. Sit in small moments and listen to the story. Does it resonate? Celebrate ourselves, life and the journey so far.
And remember, absolute happiness is never a passive thing. We have to keep taking action for happiness by trusting our own judgement and practicing respect and grace.
Hippy rant? — Maybe. Feel good? — Certainly.
Message me for more tips on getting back onto the sunshine route.