The Paradox of Happiness

If you had a magic lamp, and in it was a genie that could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?

Over the years I’ve come up with many different answers.  Answers ranging from world peace to the perfect lover, to a new lego set.

What would you wish for?

Here is my latest answer, and it’s been my answer for the last couple years.  I would only have one wish.  I wish for a deeper acceptance of what is.

That’s it.

No Ferrari, no unshakable confidence, no love for all mankind. Why? Why with all of the things I could wish for would I choose something so… seemingly not different than what I currently have? I finally figured out what makes me happy. The more deeply I accept what is and who I really am, the happier I become.

The less I fight reality, the more I embrace life with love and happiness.

We see it time and time again, people with more things and more awesome skills aren’t necessarily happier. We see it, yet we forget it every day. What if you were so in love with yourself that every day of your life was pure bliss and joy? Would you need anything outside of yourself to achieve that? Is there anything in the world a genie could give you that would match the kind of intense happiness someone feels when they are totally and fully in love with themselves?

Let me clarify what I mean by “in love with yourself”. For me, love is not passionate affection, personal attachment or adoration, it is uncompromising acceptance. When you are in love with yourself you are in total acceptance of who, what, where, when, how and why you are.

The strange bump on your nose?
Accept it.

Your less than ideal childhood?
Accept it.

You are five foot nothing?
Accept it.

Your physical disability?
Accept it.

You were raised by alcoholic parents?
Accept it.

The love of your life dumped you?
Accept it.

Uncompromising acceptance.

If it’s true that all you need to do to be happy is accept yourself, how then can we achieve that? How do we become happy? I find that to be a misleading question.  If we are to become happy, then we currently are not.  Happiness is like the sun, it stays put while weather around it changes to create emotions.  If we want to find the sun, we simply need to look for evidence that it exists.  Sometimes we can look up into the sky, sometimes we see it shine through clouds off in the distance, sometimes at night there is no sun at all.  We may not always see the sun, but the evidence of the sun is all around us.  Look at all the life the sun has created.  To find what we seek, we only need to gather evidence.

What do you want to become in your life?  What do you want more of?  Are you waiting to see it in the future or are you looking for evidence that it already exists?  We never know what the future will reveal to us, but we can look for evidence today of the things we want in our life.  If you want to be happier, look for the happiness in your life right now.  If you want to be more confident, look at the things in your life that confidence has created.  If you want to be more loved, look at the ways in which you are already more loved than you could ever imagine.  You may not see it, but the evidence is there.

Think of something in your life you want to become.  Instead of stressing about how to get it, why not look for evidence that it already exist?  Instead of looking for it in the world, look for it in yourself.

Right now, as you read this, relax your body and feel the warmth radiating from you.

Feel the heat on your skin.
Pause.

Feel the warmth that has always been inside you.
Pause.

Maybe right now you are not in the sun, but can you feel it?

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How do you stop yourself from loving people fully?
Come find out at IntimacyFest, happening June 15-18


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