Happiness is everywhere these days. Websites, billboards, social media and magazines are bombarding us with images of happy people having fun, smiling and jumping in the air for sheer joy. Happiness and how to get it are big business. In bookshops around the country, self-help manuals tumble off the shelves in eagerness to show us how to target happiness and get more of it in our lives.
But are we being fed an erroneous message? Is happiness really so all-important? Is it true that if we’re not happy we can’t be satisfied? Happiness is a hard-to-quantify state, a fleeting moment with diminishing value the moment it’s past. Perhaps we should be asking better questions.
Connect to your purpose
More enduring than happiness, and certainly easier to define and pursue, is purpose. Having a defined purpose delivers a context that encourages and motivates you to persevere even when the going gets tough. Purpose gives meaning to your life and helps to strengthen your resolve. We can all create purpose and turn the seemingly ordinary into a worthwhile task. Conversely, when there is not a clear purpose that drives us, our lives can become empty and meaningless.
Sometimes we arrive at a point where we question what life is about. Where we feel the needle on our compass is stuck. We might have lost sight of our meaning and purpose. Or an event might have rocked our world to the point where we are rendered lost, and bereft of all sense of meaning. Losing a loved one, a painful break up, a bankrupt business. There are many circumstances that can disconnect us from our true direction and purpose.
Just like trees, we need a deeper root structure if we are to survive the storms and gales of life. Clear, defined values and a purpose give us deeper roots so that we have the courage to pick ourselves up and carry on even when all seems lost.
Unite with your inner self
We all have an internal voice that suggests to us the right and wrong things to do. Ignoring this voice very often leads to bad outcomes, and regret that you didn’t trust your instinct. Think of this voice as your highest self; it is your best counsel.
When you are at one with this voice, you automatically tune into your highest self. Imagine another you, without the limiting human conditioning that can get in the way of your otherwise courageous self. Imagine a you devoid of negativity and boundless, with infinite capability. The highest self only wants the best for you; if only you would open your heart and hear what ‘higher you’ has to say. Now imagine that highest self watching you lead your busy, frenetic life and wondering when you are going to take heed.
Spotting the difference between head and heart
Some common definitions of the highest self are highlighted below. You can choose the one that you feel most comfortable with, or you may have your own definition.
Your spirit – your true essence, that voice which guides and encourages you to be your best self and most capable you. That part of you that lives your values and backs your principles even when it may mean losing approval or disempowering friendships.
Gut instinct – that feeling that people get when they can’t explain why but they know something is right or wrong.
Heart – when people talk about coming from their heart or listening to their heart they are referring once again to this part of themselves that is wise and always knows best. Its guiding principle is love, and when we start from love for ourselves we normally make better choices.
Heart and soul – a common way of referring to what you know is good for you deep down in your inner core. To achieve the fulfilment you’re seeking, connect to whichever one has meaning for you, and listen to what it’s telling you.