Several times we have been programmed to believe that happiness comes from the outside, that if you have a successful life, if you have money, if you have material assets then you're happy! If you're liked by almost everyone, if you're charming and good looking, etc...
There's an amazing amount of stereotypes that have degraded the concept of happiness and have put a lot of pressure in achieving more things constantly!
Nevertheless, what the new merging roads of science and spirituality are finding, is that happiness is mainly more enjoyable and accessible with five core pillars: The Pleasant Life, The Engaged Life, The Meaningful Life, Accomplishment and Positive Relationships (1).
Being the last two just recently added to reflect more the modern life that we're experiencing.
If we analyze this pillars we certainly can find a lot of congruency and coherent messages that are going to give us the direction and many times the comfort of knowing we're not navigating through life just bumping in the next big challenge or worse drowning in victimization.
So let's start this reflection of how in a world that is facing us with new paradigms that are constantly appearing as more and more challenging, we still can find that light of feeling happy, enjoying the new we're living and also embracing the space that we have with others in spite of any kind of restrictive health measure!
The Pleasant Life.
Since ancient times of Greece, philosophers have reflected about the purpose of life, have also diverged about the concept of hedonic pleasures, attracting happy and positive emotions and detaching from the negative ones.
Nevertheless, here there's has to be a clear distinction between becoming obsessed with positive thoughts and emotions and always trying to seem like everything is fine, and the reality!
We're not designed also to be happy all the time and the compulsive need to be always find can cause you more problems than happiness! There has to be some contrast in your life with situations that will not always be easy to have positive thoughts, but it is exactly that kind of contrast the one that will help you appreciate more some things that you have accessible to you and many times you were not even paying attention to them!
That's why, in my opinion, the word pleasant, can be found in some things that might not seem your best scenarios, but still are giving perspective of the things that you're allowing in your life, and they are indicative of the new road that you should embark!
It is that curve or deviation road the one that many times, even with some struggles, pain and of course some negative thoughts about the change, in the end have given you many of the tools that now you have! A lot of the resilience, that now you're able to handle, and also the bouncing energy to pass from one negative state to the positive state.
During that transition, you have also learned to be grateful about the process, you have also gained a lot of perspective of what are the lessons in your life, which ironically is what is going to take you to the next pillar!
The Engaged Life.
In this pillar of life, is where we accept what is happening to us, is where our true character is going to be forged, is where all the struggles, pain and challenging situations encounter one common goal, which is making you stronger!
All your inner values are put to the test, many of your versatile abilities start emerging, without you noticing that you're doing it!
The situations that you're living require for you to be different, require something extra, which only in those kinds of situations, filled with pressure you can take out! Many times, if we're not pushed by life to these kind of situations, we can stay in the comfort zone or comfort life for quite some time, and take for granted many things, which eventually from there, we certainly are going to experience more degradation of our persona!
When, you finally understand in your life that the engagement and compromise that you show with it, is one of the most valuable assets to really enjoy some of the moments, whether they're good or bad, those kinds of labels are not really relevant to what the experience is demanding from you!
Probably these aspects of engagement are better depicted by a very simple example:
When you want to loose weight and have a healthier life, can you agree with me, that it has to start with your will to really think you will be able to do it?
If you're just going to start to enroll in a program where you want to loose weight, but you simply don't want to stop eating certain toxic foods, you simply are complaining about having to get up earlier, or to do some extra changes to your life! That's certainly not the best way to start, and most likely you're already foreseeing the future which will be the same as all the other times you tried to loose weight!
Why does that happen? Well, your attitude, your compromise and engagement is what will give you the result of what can happen in any given situation!
That's why we have to maintain an open student mindset, where you're able to take a different attitude, where you better develop some positive thoughts around the situation, using your first pillar the pleasant life! Is always better try to enjoy the journey than resisting it!
The Meaningful Life.
What is the purpose of this whole physical experience, if you don't even find the flavor of it? Can you imagine eating a delicious chocolate ice-cream, without being able to taste it?
Meaning, is the flavor, is the spark of life, and it has to do of course with that inner voice, that amazing inner intuition and guidance that we all possess and that should be more readily available for us at any given situation!
However, in order to enhance this amazing quality of intuition, we should look inside of us what ignites our passion, which have been the most enjoyable situations that we have had?, what were the characteristics of those situations? We should also be more encouraged to look in the struggling and challenging situations what was the lesson?
If we let ourselves be filled with more curiosity, just like when we were children, we would probably be more sensitive to find those traits and specificities, that many situations in our lives are having, and inside all of those small details, is where a lot of meaning and value is hidden!
For instance, we just experienced globally something that has shifted us for all the future experiences that we're going to have, and all the events that have recently happened for sure have a deeper meaning in all of us, have shaped already the way we see the world, the way we experience nature, the way we experience relationships, the way we experience communications and mostly the way we experience the love for every human being! Which for me is the most amazing lesson, the connection that we all felt through being united by one challenging experience!
Hence, the juice of life, is always and will always be available for you whenever you want to feel pleasant, whenever you want to engage in the amazing physical experience that we all have!
Accomplishment & Positive Relationships.
These last two pillars as mentioned were just recently added due to the fact that our lives are also now packed with these two major components, that thought research, scientists have been able to find in people that are enjoying the feeling of happiness in a more constant base!
So let's try to dive deeper into them!
Accomplishment, is something that for sure we all need to feel satisfaction in what we do and how we do it, otherwise, it would seem that your life experience is more similar to a plant or tree, not to diminish their amazing value and contribution, but if you were given more skills, more inner assets, it is to fully engage with them!
Ironically, this pillar has been so disturbed and labeled, that is no surprise that many times is one where many people are struggling, because is hard to find the perfect job, or the perfect experience, as we're being constantly bombarded with messages that perfection is the only way to feel pleasant, fulfilled and satisfied with your life!
Far from that, real accomplishment is always packed with a sour taste, as all life has that flavor, in order for you to be able to appreciate the sweet moments and spots! Your journey through accomplishing more things in your life, is also more about being and feeling grateful with the challenging situations, trying to extract the meaning and lessons of every kind of situation and fine tuning the clarity of what we want in our lives!
And it is also about finding what is making you feel complete, whole, and that you're expressing your message! Is not about what any kind of media platform tries to drive you, or how do they frame you in the school to be in life! Is navigating your own waters and discovering what feels like you're accomplishing your mission! And you already know what that is, but probably you have been misled by all the information that we have outside!
Finally the fifth pillar, positive relationships, well we all love that, we all enjoy the feeling of belonging with someone, of fitting in, of being accepted!
However, this has to start with the relationship that you with yourself first, learning what are the things that trigger you, that you most enjoy and then by knowing more about yourself and the things you like you start emanating those vibrations that will match the frequency of the people that you're most likely going to feel comfortable and have a positive interaction!
And this pillar is also not the exception, to find the negative contrast situation, where some of relationships are not as pleasant as you would love to! But, thought these situations is where we also find aspects that are from us reflected in the conflict relationship, or probably those people are supposed also to be in your lives at certain moments, to allow you to appreciate some other that look out for you but you don't seem to pay attention!
If we really learn how to see the situations and in this case the interactions, we certainly are going to have a much better experience of life, being more able to bounce back from situations that are just pointing us to the correct direction and are just signals that something is wrong or fortunately when you finally have a lot more positive relationships that means that you are getting to the place where you wanted to be!
In the end life is about having desires, expectations and also is about having challenges, struggles and frustrations to savor all the different and amazing experiences that are in this physical world, that are tailor designed to you, so you can have the best experience of this short time in your Earth Suit!
So, my advice, learn to live fully, engaged completely in the experiences, look for more pleasure without obsessing, cope with dissatisfaction and the downsize of things, to also be guided to a different direction but also to allow the transformation to happen within you! Be a student of life and feel amazed with all that it has for you!
1. Lee Duckworth, A., Steen, T. A., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Positive Psychology in Clinical Practice. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1(1), 629–651.
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