I think one of the biggest problems that we have in our society concerning happiness is the factor of preconceived notions. We think we need to conform to society's "norm" in order to find success, peace and happiness. We need that house in the suburbs, a nice car, at least two children, a good job and friends and family who support us. And yes, if we have all of these things it is wonderful but not a guarantee of happiness.
True happiness comes from inside of us. A car, a house and a job will not make us happy unless we are content in our hearts. How do you become content in your heart, you ask? Here is what I have found out about the subject in my own life.
First, you must accept yourself for who you are. You can't compete with the neighbors or your friends or relatives. Or the checker at the grocery store. Or the teller at the bank. We are each unique and we each have our own quirks and talents. It is impossible to compare yourself to another person because no two people are exactly the same. Television and magazines tell us we need to be the same but we don't. Be grateful for your differences. If we were all the same, what a boring world this would be!
Second, don't let greed or envy eat you alive. If you want something bad enough, strive to make it happen. Don't hate your neighbor or relative or friend for what they have. Many times we think we need something in particular when in fact we may not. Let go and let God. Trust that what you need will come to you as you aspire to find it. We all are here for unique situations and reasons. Don't force someone else's reasons upon yourself and think you have to comply. That will only guarantee unhappiness!
Thirdly, have an open mind and get rid of those preconceived notions! Seek to be better, happier, and everything will eventually fall into place. Don't think it has to be a certain way, because it doesn't. Sometimes the most unexpected surprises in life bring the most joy and purpose.
Fourth, forgive. Yourself and others. You don't have to be perfect. In fact, it's impossible to be perfect because only God is perfect. Do your best each day to be the best that you can be and walk in love to the best of your ability. When you send waves of kindness into the world they will find their way back to you. Don't fret and worry. Trust that your love and kindness will manifest in just the perfect way when it finds its way back to your heart. Life has a funny way of doing that when you let go of expectations.
Lastly, accept the shortcomings of others just as you would like them to accept your shortcomings. When you let go of high expectations, there is less to disillusion you and less of a chance for unhappiness. There is also more of a chance for peace because you aren't expecting certain situations and outcomes to occur.
Life isn't easy. But when you walk it in love and acceptance it does become a lot more fun and a lot less disappointing. Just imagine the possibilities and keep your dreams in the forefront of your mind; strive each day to make them happen. Some day you'll turn back and look behind you to find a beautiful path having been paved in your wake....what a beautiful legacy to leave for the upcoming generations!