Nationalist Laois – How open are you to happiness?
As a mother pondered the abrupt end of the good times, she said to me, âEverything was going too well. It couldn’t have lasted.
It was as if the shutter had closed on happiness.
While it is more than necessary to recognize and honor the past, it is more important to attend to the present and commit to taking the next step towards true happiness. What will be your next step? Put the sign in the window of life so that you and all passers-by will see it: âopen for business – open for happinessâ.
Research studies confirm that most people’s relationship to happiness is U-shaped. We are naturally happy at first. Then comes the fall and we get lost and finally we remember what happiness is and our score goes up again.
Robert Holden, author of ***be happy***, invites us to do the exercise he calls ‘The Chronology of Happiness’. The horizontal line measures your life at five-year intervals, starting with birth, through your current age, near future, and the rest of your life. The vertical line measures your happiness score or the percentage of happiness corresponding to that particular moment in your life. Your past scores are based on memory, the current score is based on how you feel now, and your future scores are based on what you imagine and hope for.
The âhappiness lifelineâ is made up of significant life events during these five-year intervals. These events include both very happy and positive occasions and they can also include childhood traumas, family struggles, personal backgrounds, failed hopes or dreams, or health issues. The “Happiness Timeline” teaches you to respect your whole life. It helps you see that happiness is an open road and that every moment can teach you something about happiness.
The open road is not really a physical path; it is your open mind and your open heart. Your openness is the key.
So how open are you to happiness? Your answer is meaningful because it indicates the degree of happiness that you are likely to enjoy today and also the degree of happiness that you will block and reject. The younger you are, the more optimistic you will be about your future happiness. With young people on their side, young people believe that they can be happier than their parents. Their ambitions and expectations motivate them and encourage them to be adventurous.
However, when times are tough and optimism is strained, the temptation to give up becomes real. The more hits you get, the more pessimistic you might become about happiness. It might even lead you to think that you don’t deserve to be happy, or never will be. This is where it takes courage and openness.
The willingness to be open and to stay open is essential for both happiness and healing. It’s what helps you stay alive your whole life. Openness creates possibilities, invites help and gives you strength. This openness frees you from the past and puts you back on track for a better and changed future. Your openness allows others to share themselves fully with you and help you take the next step.
To be happy, you have to be open. Happiness is not about closing in on yourself and embarking on a lonely, independent or self-sufficient journey. You might feel safer, more secure and more protected, but Robert thinks of all his work that “happiness is a big letting go”. Happiness is giving up your ego. Concretely, this means being ready to abandon your projects, to drop expectations and to abandon ego crises â.
Planning is a great discipline that can help create positive results. That said, life doesn’t always go as planned. A common cause of unhappiness is clinging to an old plan of happiness that is too limited, too small, too focused on the future, and not imaginative enough. To be happy you have to be willing to give up on your plans for something better. Like everyone else, you have high expectations about everything, and that’s okay as long as you don’t expect everything to happen.
When expectations become demands, you hurt yourself a lot, your relationship with others will suffer, and your life can become a never-ending power struggle. When you let go of your expectations, healing occurs. You feel more at peace and happiness returns.
The ego crisis is a way of not accepting expectations and unfulfilled plans. A temper tantrum is an incredible whining or sulking. It can take the form of cynicism, pessimism, silences or sarcasm. Temper tantrums can keep you stuck in the past and block happiness. Temper tantrums require personal attention and self-compassion. These are signs that you must mourn an old plan and mourn the disappearance of a disappointed expectation.
Nothing and no one can make you happy except you. They can help your choice for happiness. Your will and your commitment to take a new step on the open path to happiness make the difference. Even being 10% more tolerant, 10% more receptive, 10% more honest, 10% more authentic, 10% more optimistic, 10% more confident, 10% more grateful, 10% more present, 10% more open.
Be open for more happiness at least 10% more every day!