How I Am Happier: The 3 Principles & Me
“Do you enjoy being you?” Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you genuinely like other people? And do you easily contribute your gifts, your talents and your opinions to the world? (Or could you even care less about these ‘definition of happiness’ questions, because you know that you’re OKAY?)
Let me share my own answers, anyway – and what I mean by “innate happiness” (and what that has to do with you)…
Hmm, so for the longest time, my answers to the questions above used to be a dejected, yet defiant NO. I did not feel comfortable being me; or people puzzled, irritated or disappointed me (so I played the Blame Game with them – and always won, on my own!); or I usually kept my gifts, talents and opinions to myself.
Being miserable, joyless and serious felt like the only option to me.
Self-help strategies felt contradictory and confusing. Inspirational quotes on happiness were a tease. And so-called true happiness was an unattainable Hollywood fairytale (where I needed to have perfect white teeth, or else!)
Then I discovered the 3 Principles (Inside-Out) Understanding in October, 2012 (via Michael Neill’s self-study Coaching From The Inside-Out program) – I started to see the way life really works, I started to recognise my own “innate happiness” that had always been there. (Yellow, crooked teeth, and all.)
Yes, finally – at last, phewee and hurrah! – the world started to truly make sense to me, I started to make sense, I started to relax and fully ease into the mystery that is me.
And now? Now I still play around with notions of ‘unconditional happiness’ – in my work, and in my play – still toy with definitions of happiness, still wonder on quotes of happiness. But I take it all so much less seriously, I do (I do)…
“Happiness doesn’t depend on what we have, but it does depend on how we feel toward what we have. We can be happy with little and miserable with much.” – William Dempster Hoard
My Definition of Happiness, Then:
- Understand (and remember) the Inside-Out nature of the human experience
- Be at ease with what you create, moment to moment – your thoughts and your feelings, and what it all might mean to you (in that moment)
- And be at ease with not being at ease (if you can)
Or what if happiness is simply you getting out of the way! A natural thing, then – “innate” – with nothing to ‘do’.
What would it be like if you could forget EVERYTHING you’ve ever read about how to be happy, and STILL be okay?
Or, more simply, remember that you are okay, that true happiness is innate, a birthright, and there’s NOTHING you need do to be happy.
Yes it’s true, a lot of nonsense is often spoken about happiness – scientific studies, self-help techniques and strategies and the like – but the fact is the happiness I’m interested in, and what this definition of happiness post is all about, is the natural, innate happiness available to us all.
(And I’ve written more about this, here: happiness strategies versus happiness truth.)
Definition of Happiness – How I Am Happier
“Until you have learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with you; until you have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word of those whom you do not admire; until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy.”
– Napoleon Hill
I’m going to model this answer – this ‘what is happiness’ for me – on the module structure of my soon-to-be-published book called, Happiness NOW – How to Be Happy in a Sad, Mad World (opens new link on sister site, SteveMNash.com). Each module is more or less an example of how I am happier and more at ease with my experience of myself and life.
It’s all going to be common-sense stuff, but I can’t tell you how much difference it makes to me, especially when I’m lost in troubled thinking and feeling (again), and I’ve become the victim of a cruel, unloving world (again).
So, here goes for a ‘definition of happiness’…
- I THINK LESS
Yes, I think much less than I used to do. (And they used to call me Mr Worry Beads. True.) I still vex and angst and frown a little, don’t get me wrong, but I am so much more relaxed and at ease and out of my head than I used to be. Head is good (if you’ll pardon the expression!), but body is best. Body, trust, and awareness of OKAYness.
- I’m MORE GENTLE With Myself
Yes, I’m so much more gentle with myself, and others and with my experience of life. With the stern, self-critical voice. With the ‘mistakes’ of others. With my unmet expectations. So. Much. More. Gentle. And… gentleness feels good (most of the time, anyway!)…
- I LISTEN MORE DEEPLY
There is so much more communication going on than just words, or even body language. There is what is said, and where what is said is coming from. And I listen to that place more. A feeling. The silence in between. The tension (or ease) behind the words. And I am able to listen more deeply like this (even to myself) because… I think less.
- I LET GO MORE
Whether you call it “letting go” or “letting be” or “getting over yourself” or “chilling out” or simply relaxing more. I do that. More. I’m less on guard, less concerned for myself, and more open to the next moment rather than the one that’s just gone.
- I NOTICE EBB & FLOW MORE
I notice the ebb and flow of life more, the ebb and flow of moods and thoughts and feelings. Yes, I’m so much more aware of the transient nature of life, the yin and the yang, the up and the down. And this awareness gives me perspective; perspective allows me to pause. And I end up taking everything so much less personally – I do not get offended so easily anymore.
- I “SEE THROUGH” PROBLEMS MORE
Yes, I see through ‘problems’ more than I used to. Before I’d head to my head – often in a panic – and I’d work out what to do. Now, with perspective and understanding, problems either disappear or I more quickly find the right answers. Through thinking, yes, or through ‘out of the blue’ inspiration (that always shows up, eventually).
- I TRUST MORE
I put my trust in ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ more. Call that faith. Call it trust. Or call it knowing, deeply so, that nothing is really at stake. But I do that. Trust more. I know that I’m not really in charge, that I’m just along for the ride. That there are patterns in life, currents and movements, and that the more I tune in to them (naturally so) the better things turn out.
And ALL of the above is an unforced, natural consequence of my awareness of the 3 Principles description of life and of my “innate happiness” or OKAYness. (I still remind myself of these ‘natural ways’ of being, from time to time, but more often than not I don’t need to.)
Definition of Happiness – How Else am I Happier?
“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” – Agatha Christie
Let’s take a final look at me, and my own definition of happiness, as I evolve into an ever-more relaxed human being and human doing.
1. I’m no longer interested in finding happiness, anymore. Or in being different to who I am. Or in understanding more. In fact I am no longer a seeker, as I really do get that ‘YOU are what you seek’.
2. I like people an awful lot more than I used to. In fact, the more I experience this, the more I realise I only ever really liked people like me (or who liked me) before.
3. I’m much less bothered about being bothered. Whether it’s bothered about my thoughts or my feelings (or my behaviours), or being bothered about the thoughts/feelings/behaviour of others, I’m less bothered.
4. I am much more able to create, to offer, and to share what I have without expectation or achieving a required outcome.
5. I take what I think far less seriously than I used to. Thoughts about the past. Thoughts about the future. Thoughts about my values and beliefs and SHOULDs and SHOULDN’Ts. Because thoughts are… just thoughts. Not facts. Not true. And they’re not going to save me, because I’m already safe.
AND I know I am still a work in progress, and that I’ll most likely forget everything I’ve written here today (and be ‘lost’ again until I’m not), but I know that’s okay too.
How to Be Happy in a Sad, Mad World
I wrote a book - about happiness - based on blog posts like the one you've just read. It's called Happiness NOW! – How to Be Happy in a Sad, Mad World, and it contains 7 simple questions, the answers to which help point you back to the "happiness within". Are you ready for Happiness NOW?...