Are We Happier Today?
By Piercarla Garusi
I am sure you would agree that people would like to be happy, but are we happy? Are we happier today? If not, why? What is preventing it?
Perhaps first we need to ask ourselves, what is happiness? Of course for each person happiness means something different, but are there some common traits? And are there some common causes for people not to be happy? Is happiness feeling good or is it something else?
I was recently reading a blog related to an art Peace Project to help people in Sierra Leone and I wept. People there have almost nothing and they were so joyous and grateful because someone cared. I was watching a video of young people at a refugee camp playing football, amputees without one leg or arm, and they were laughing, with the sense of warmth and connection that comes from a community feeling. There was no bitterness or anger, no fear or despair. Do we have that in Western countries or is there a growing sense of isolation, separation and loneliness?
Happiness first of all is a mental state, it is feeling good. This means we need to find the freedom from negative emotions, thoughts, memories and beliefs. Some of us may be familiar with the fact that everything in the Universe is made of energy and if the energy of negative emotions gets stuck in the body, it causes problems. It is like having a bottle of sparkling water, when we open the bottle the bubbles come out, we cannot keep pushing them down, otherwise the bottle bursts. It is not about controlling the emotions, we need to release them. Do we do this normally?
Then how about feeling good about who we are? If we look at society, why is that that more and more people are suffering from depression and social anxiety? There is a lot of social pressure to conform and criticism, which could cause people social anxiety and fear to show themselves for who they truly are. Isn't it that perhaps in the past people were more themselves with simplicity? How can we know what would makes us happy if we are disconnected with who we are?
Happiness comes from feeling in control of our life, from feeling free to be ourselves and doing what we choose. Alongside social pressure, there are also the 'have tos', rules we should follow, things we should do, etc. They are mainly subconscious and come from society, culture, etc - it is the conditioning. We need to find the freedom from conditioning if we are to be ourselves and live the life we want.
Nowadays there is a lot about 'more' and 'not enough'. We want more because we don't have enough, we try to be someone because we are not enough, because we have not achieved enough. But more is never going to be enough. This is the ego mind game. It keeps telling us that we are not ok, that we are not enough, that we do not have enough. This is going to cause us just unhappiness and pain. This is why today consumerism makes us actually unhappy.
Happiness is then about connectionWhat is connection? What does it mean feeling connected? Real connection comes from daring being ourselves, being honest with ourselves and others, opening up, showing our vulnerabilities and how we are, it is about daring to love. There are people with whom we immediately feel 'at home', with whom we know it is safe to open up and share ourselves. What do they have that is so special? They respect, appreciate, give; they love us because we are the way we are, let us free to do what makes us happy and are ready to help if they can. People yearn for connection and warmth, that is why the development of social networks is huge. But do we really connect? Or are we afraid to?
Happiness comes from allowing what is to be, which means not resisting it. There is a saying that "what we resist, persists", and that's true. Resistance keeps the problem in place and creates more of the same energy; and it is often accompanied by negative emotions, like anger for example, creating even more negativity. When we do not like something in our reality or in the outside world and we resist it, it increases. We need to be very aware of this and allow what is to be; then we can create something different. Do we do this or do we resist what is?
Happiness then comes from knowing that we matter, that our life matters. We need first of all to matter to ourselves, but how many times do we beat ourselves up? How can we feel good about ourselves if we beat ourselves up? If we keep looking for approval from outside, it will always bring us pain. We need to love ourselves. And in order to feel that our life matters, we need to do something for other people. This is closely connected with finding meaning.
Happiness in fact comes also from meaning, from living a meaningful life. And living with meaning is linked with our purpose. When we do something for others that we feel is part our purpose, what we are here to do on this planet, we feel peace. And our purpose is always linked to our joy, to what brings us joy, to doing what we love. Do we do that today or are we told to follow the market when for example we decide to start a business?
We need to become aware and free from what I call anti-happiness beliefs. There may be beliefs we have picked up, maybe from culture, society, upbringing, television, peers, etc., which actually cause us to be unhappy. For example, if we have a belief that we need to please other people, that we need to conform, that we need to follow the trend, etc., how can we be happy?
Happiness finally comes from having a sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves, something that reunites and encompasses us, other people, the planet, the cosmos, and All that Is — something that now some scientists are beginning to call Consciousness. There we find true peace, connection, oneness.
Copyright Piercarla Garusi 2010‚ all rights reserved.
Piercarla Garusi is a professional certified coach, NLP master practitioner, hypnotic practitioner, Release Technique graduate, spiritual painter and mathematician. She is preparing new coaching workshops on Sustainable Relations. For info on paintings for a shift in consciousness please visit www.piercarla-paintings.co.uk and on coaching www.pgcoaching.co.uk.