delighted friends having lunch in cafe

Finding Unconditional Happiness

I’ve heard of unconditional love, but never of unconditional happiness. I was always taught that my happiness was dependent on my condition. This is going to be one of the belief systems that is going to be hard to shake off. Even babies cry when they are uncomfortable in just about any kind of way. It almost feels unattainable, but all we have to do to have unconditional happiness is to choose it. 

The hardest part of choosing happiness is being happy when the circumstances don’t allow it. When my father passed away in 2022, the grief was too much for me to be any kind of happy. If someone had told me to be happy, I would have been offended. I didn’t know I had a choice in the matter. Knowing that I could be happy despite the sadness might have shortened the grieving process. It’s being happy when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Being angry at the cars in front of you isn’t going to make them go faster. We could be perceiving the worst of the worst and even then we have the choice to be happy.

Happiness… All the Time?

You’re probably reading this how am I supposed to be happy all the time? In the world we live in, it might be impossible. We are still susceptible to our emotions rather they be happiness, sadness, or anger. The idea is to not dwell on those negative emotions. We have to remember that our happiness doesn’t come from the outside world. The sooner we can detach from what’s happening on the outside, the sooner we can go back to being happy.

Again, we find it hard to detach because of our ruminating minds. Our mind is trying to make logical sense out of everything our eyes see and our ears hear. If your mind is like mine, it typically goes even further than that. If I have had an unpleasant conversation with a friend, I can’t just stop the unpleasant conversation. My mind is trying to figure out if it was what I said that was wrong. Are we even still friends? If that person talks to me tomorrow then I know that we’re back to normal. But what if they don’t? We have this full-blown conversation about absolutely nothing.

Our instance in life turns into worry about something that may never happen. That worry turns into unwarranted emotions of fear, anger, and sadness when everything that we are thinking about can only be found in our minds. Once we become observers of these feelings, we start to separate ourselves from them. These feelings are as real as the outside world. I hope by reading this that I’m asking you to suppress your emotions. That’s not the case at all. When we start to feel emotions that we don’t want, we have to accept that they are there. Feel the tightening of the chest and the emotions that come with it. Feel the pain in every bone in your body, but don’t get attached. Breathe, relax, and let these emotions go.

No Longer Giving Power Away

Irritation shouldn’t be a factor in how we live our lives. Being frustrated is a way of giving up my happiness without me knowing it. What if we treated happiness as can we treat money? I wouldn’t give dollars away just because someone was selling something. Why would I give my happiness away to something that irritates me? I’m paying for irritation?!?! 

One might ask, “If I’m not retaliating to something that I find disrespectful, am I giving away my power.” I’ve had this conversation with one of my best friends. Someone said something to her that was highly disrespectful, which I didn’t condone. However, what I wanted for her was peace. The mere presence of this person would completely change her mood. It felt like she couldn’t let the incident go because it would reflect a weakness. Observing our own emotions and thoughts doesn’t mean we are providing a solution for the hurt that was given to us. We are by overlooking it. With forgiveness, we are saying that confronting the disrespectful person is not worth my energy. Rehashing the incident in my head every time I see that person isn’t worth the cost of happiness.