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Why Money (and Other Things) Can’t Buy Happiness

There's no doubt that getting what you want feels good, but that sense of euphoria is always fleeting. Here's how to find a more lasting sense of happiness—no credit card needed.

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Meditation Advisor

If you ask someone what they want in life, there is a good chance that they will respond: “To be happy.” If you ask them how they plan to achieve this, they may tell you that they’re waiting on a certain event to happen in their lives. This “event” may range from getting a new job, making more money, buying a bigger house, owning a faster car, going an exotic vacation, etc. It’s as if they have lost something and they’re trying very hard to find or acquire it. But what if I told you that it’s impossible to truly “lose” your happiness? You might just be looking for it in the wrong places.

Picture this: Suppose you lost your car keys in your bedroom, but you’re looking for them in your living room. You’re never going to find them unless you’re looking in the area where you actually misplaced them. As humans, we have two rooms in our minds. One is the inner room (our subconscious) and the other is the outer room (our conscious). So you may have “lost” something (in this case, happiness) in your inner room, but you are looking for it in the outer room by trying to take outward actions to get it back. The idea that your happiness can be found in this outer room is a delusion. Anything that happens out there is only a temporary fix. In fact, if you look in the inner room, you’ll find it without much effort at all.

It’s important to understand that happiness is never lost per say. It’s more of a disconnection. The reason that material things, financial success, and even our relationships don’t actually bring lasting happiness is because it’s a state of mind that can only be found within yourself. You are born in your own nature, and your most basic nature, is happiness. When you feel disconnected from this happiness, it’s usually because you may have tried to be somebody or something you’re not.

Related: The Quickest Road to Happiness Is Surprisingly Simple

Let’s say you’re an apple, but you have been told that the best way to live on this earth is to be an orange. You naturally believe what you’re told by those around you, so you start to pursue the goal of trying to become an orange. The only thing you are going to get out of that process is unhappiness. No matter how hard you try, you will never ever be able to become an orange because you are an apple. On the other hand, if you live your apple-ness to the fullest, then you can live your whole life to the best of its potential.

To find real happiness you have to be a rebel in the sense that you have to realize that no matter what anyone has told you about happiness—whether it was the school system, your peers, your parents, your community—you know that you can find it inside yourself. If they told you that you must become an orange to be happy, you have to say, “I am going to find my own happiness within me. I’m not going to follow your process and belief system. I’m going to take my own journey and experience it myself.”

The moment you rebel against that structure and realize that all these people have suffered in the attempt to become an orange, then you can start to find your own real happiness. Many people who are trying to look like an orange are doing so to fit in and survive, but they’ll never be satisfied. There’s a huge difference between surviving and thriving. So be that apple, and let everyone else be an orange.

Your own happiness starts from and ends with you. It’s not outward, it is inward. Simple processes of going inward, like meditation and self-reflection, can change your perspective and allow you to connect with the inner source. Your circumstances are never going to be absolutely perfect at any given point in time. True happiness that is grounded deep inside is when you are 100 percent comfortable in your zone, and that comes from your acceptance of where you are in your life in the now. If you accept this moment totally as it is, you will notice a shift in your happiness level. You can be contented and be happy because you already are.

So next time you find yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when…,” remember that you can have happiness now, as long as you’re looking for it in the right place.



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