If you Google happiness, about 77,600,000 links pop up, many of which are meant to help make you a little bit happier. As far as books on happiness, the results are overwhelming. The longing for happiness seems to increase the more we search for it. We are all searching for the fairytale “happily ever after.”
But what is happiness? Isn’t happiness a feeling that takes over us when something positive happens in our lives? We become dependent on outer circumstances to make us feel good, and this is an incredibly tough position to base one’s well-being on. Life has its ups and downs, and we need to have the skills to navigate through them all.
I want to share with you some of the keys I have found that can help you unlock a feeling of lasting well-being.
The first is to reframe our concept of happiness. The Greek word for the state of happiness is “euphoria,” and the noun “euphoros” means the bearer of goodness. One of the fundamental elements to finding euphoria is to be that euphoros — bearer of goodness — for yourself and for others. This means radical generosity, starting with yourself.
If we see ourselves as the bearers of good, wherever we go we will create an atmosphere of goodness around us, and we will spread a sense of well-being to others. @AgapiSays (Click to Tweet!)
We will start to do good things for ourselves without thinking about it, and we will start having good thoughts about ourselves. We will experience positive emotions and produce positive outcomes because we will be connecting to our innate goodness. And from that place we will bring it to others.
It can be challenging, however, to hold onto this sense of goodness and sustain it throughout life’s transitions. When things happen that cause us stress, worry or anxiety, the tendency is to hold onto those feelings and make us question our goodness — even though in reality, it does not have anything to do with our circumstances.
The second key is to let go, as fast as you can, of any feelings that trap and suffocate you. Face them, name them, accept that they are happening and forgive them. As we name them, they start to get out of our way and our goodness shows up like a sunbeam.
I have identified seven patterns that cloud your sense of goodness. Take a look and try to identify which one(s) are standing in the way of experiencing your own sense of goodness.
1. Discouragement: When something negative happens in life, you go down the roller coaster of negative thoughts and feel bad about yourself. This blocks good things from happening to you.
2. Guilt: When we do something that we think we shouldn’t, and then we let it linger instead of forgiving and letting it go. (Again, blocking you from experiencing your own goodness.)
3. Comparisons to others: Thinking that those around us have a better life, and thus abandoning our own potential. (Nothing good can then happen to us that is “as good.”)
4. Making other people responsible for our happiness: (Feeling completely dependent and victimized.)
5. Feelings of unworthiness: (Blocking good things from happening to us, and attracting things that undermine our value.)
6. Judgements: We are our harshest critic and we never feel good enough.
7. Worrying about the future: We think the worst of the unknown future, which then causes us great unhappiness and robs us of the present.
These patterns all boil down to the basic feeling that we are not good. Each one of us must find the cause of this and uproot it. Where did it start?
From a very young age, most of us are conditioned to find validation in how we measure in the world and our levels of achievement. We must learn to separate the two. Our goodness is our goodness, and what we do is what we do.
Become aware of what the recurring theme is that denies you that sense of goodness. We must take mental dominion over these negative unconscious patterns. As Pema Chodron says, “You are the sky. Everything else — it’s just the weather.” When we get hold of that reality, the light of our goodness will beam high and bright, and the lesser thoughts and patterns will not be able to sustain themselves.
So, let’s take a sabbatical from being happy or unhappy. Forget it! It’s putting too much pressure on ourselves, and making us very narcissistic and self-absorbed, which is definitely cutting off the circulation to our happiness.
Instead, practice focusing on being the bearer of goodness, regardless of the things you have or don’t have, or what happens or doesn’t happen to you. You will then become a magnet that attracts good things and people to your life.
In psychology, they say it takes 32 days to form a new habit. So start now. For 32 days, stop looking for happiness and instead run a tape inside your mind and heart that says “I AM the bearer of goodness.” Let that feeling fill you up to capacity. Go to bed affirming this knowledge and let it steep in. If you prefer, say it in Greek: “Ime Euphoros.” You never know, your subconscious might take to the sound of Greek!
You will attract good things into your life and you will most likely land into happiness without thinking about it.
It’s amazing what happens when you decide to be the bearer of your own goodness. You’ll start to experience that life is rigged in your favor. This, my dear friends, is the secret of the ages.
Please share with us your experience of connecting to your own goodness, and what patterns are showing up in your life that block your own sense of well-being.
* Originally published on The Huffington Post.
Agapi Stassinopoulos is the author of Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love (Hay House). While her sister, Arianna Huffington, was doing research for her book about Greek mythology, Agapi’s love for the gods and goddesses was ignited and led to two books of her own—Conversations with the Goddesses and Gods and Goddesses in Love—as well as a one-woman show and a PBS special. She also co-produced and co-hosted a documentary called “Quest for the Gods,” shot on location in Greece. For more on Agapi please visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Erika.