Happiness is the thing that everyone wants to achieve. But our mistake as humans is chasing happiness instead of living life and letting happiness find us. This has been the trap people have fallen into for thousands of years. Undoubtedly, we will continue that path. But you always have the opportunity to turn things around and become one of the happy people.
But people have a hard time living in the present because it goes against everything we’ve ever been taught. Since we were small, our parents told us we needed to plan our future. Otherwise, our lives won’t have meaning. Of course, this socially imposed trade-off scares most people. Thus, it forced them to start living just for the future. We believe that we will never find happiness unless we can get that dream job or build a perfect family.
But that’s false. Happiness is and has always been subjective. Even though society tells us that having a stable, traditional life will make us happy, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people find pure happiness in traveling or giving back to their communities. But we can’t find that true happiness because we are always chasing happiness. We are chasing an ideal that will never happen in reality. If you want a better, more fulfilled life, allow happiness to find you.
What Is True Happiness?
If you take some time to reflect, you’ll see that the moments that made you truly happy were the unplanned ones. You were probably happier when someone gave you a thoughtful gift than when you got that promotion you were working towards. That’s because you cannot force joy. Sure, you’ll feel good when you’ll get promoted. But chasing happiness taints the experiences you go through.
True happiness comes from within. It’s when you are entirely at peace with who you are and what your life looks like. It can’t be dependent on external factors. That’s why dreams and aspirations can even stop you from achieving true happiness. Because it sets a standard, you won’t be happy if you fail to meet it. People are taught that happiness is a final destination. That once you tick certain boxes, you reach true happiness.
But the journey you are on gives this feeling. You might find that you are happier when working on a project than when you finish it. It’s also impossible to feel satisfied all the time. And it would be best if you didn’t strive towards that either. If all you ever think is happiness, it will lose its essence. Over time, joy will turn into numbness. We only feel happy because we can compare it to the sadness and pain we once felt.
If not for those negative emotions, happiness wouldn’t mean anything. If you’ve never been sick, you’ll never be grateful that you’re healthy. Most people also fall into the trap of believing that the traditional view of a good life will bring them joy. All their worries will disappear if they get a high-paying job and a lovely house. But chasing happiness of that kind is more likely to bring you disappointment.
More likely than not, you won’t be able to materialize what you visualize. And that’s not because you aren’t good enough. It’s because there aren’t enough upper management jobs and white-picket fence houses for everyone. Plus, many people would hate to live that kind of life, even if they don’t realize it at first. Even if you think that’s your dream, you could get trapped. Happiness is subjective, and no one has a say in telling you what yours should look like. If you want to learn how to stop chasing happiness, here’s how to do it.
How to Stop Chasing Happiness and Let It Find You
Try these new habits to increase your joy in life.
1. Happy People Learn to Live with Gratitude
Gratitude is a fundamental brick if you want your life to have a solid foundation. But when you chase happiness, you forget to take a step and be grateful for what you have. Not only that, but most people don’t understand the value of gratitude. They see it as something with no psychological benefits. Essentially, most people believe gratitude is a hoax.
But gratitude is not a hoax. It’s a positive psychology practice that can help you change your mindset. Unhappy people struggle because they believe only big, shiny things can make them happy. But gratitude will teach you that you can find beauty and joy in even the most minor things. Gratitude is simply the practice of appreciating and being thankful for what you have in your life.
Some people are naturally inclined to be grateful. However, others need to practice to be able to internalize the practice. You can express gratitude in many ways. But the easiest thing you can do is to start considering what you have in your life. Take a moment to reflect on everything that’s happened to you until now, good or bad. This way, you’ll remember how many good things have happened to you.
You will also see how many things you ignored, even if they were good moments. You can also learn to be grateful for the present. When you stop chasing happiness, you’ll forget that the opportunities you get shouldn’t be taken for granted. You tend to do things on autopilot, and you don’t stop to cherish what you have until you reach your end goal. But when you practice gratitude, you give yourself time to celebrate every achievement, no matter how small it seems.
This mindset also helps you have a brighter future. When you practice gratitude, you learn that good things can come in all forms. This allows you to stay optimistic instead of overthinking your every move. This is how you let happiness come to you. Instead of forcing good things to happen, you take whatever good you can get, however it might come.
Practicing gratitude comes in many forms. But one of the easiest things you can do is keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down a few things you are thankful for or that made you happy. In time, gratitude will become something you do unconsciously. This will reduce your depression, help you face adversity, and even improve your physical strength.
2. Live Your Life the Way You Want to Instead of Chasing Happiness in an Unachievable Ideal
When you chase happiness, you unconsciously live your life by others’ standards. You do things because you think they will fulfill you, not because you want to. So, to stop chasing other people’s dreams, you need to figure out what yours are. One way to discover what you want to do in life is to explore and try new things. Maybe you’re not ready to quit your job and travel, and that’s fair.
But you can try that thing you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try rock climbing, but you’ve always thought it was an insane thought. But if you want to live your life to the fullest, go rock climbing if that’s what you want. It doesn’t matter if other people tell you that it won’t do you any good. Your life is not theirs, and you should live it however you want.
You also need to understand what your needs and values are. Maybe you were taught that marrying is the only way to have a happy relationship. But that doesn’t mean it’s what will make you happy. You might need to be with someone who gives you more freedom than marriage. Maybe you were taught that traveling the world wastes time and money.
But it might be precisely what you need to find true happiness. Understanding yourself will allow you to stop chasing happiness. When you live your life the way you want to, you won‘t be longing for anything else. Sure, you’ll still want to achieve things. But those things will be extras, not the core of your fulfillment.
3. Surround Yourself with the People You Love
Most people live their life believing that having many friends automatically means being happy. Because of that, they always try to make new friends and can even become people-pleasers. Chasing happiness through trying to surround yourself with loads of people is bound to take a toll on you.
To be truly satisfied, you should always take quality over quantity when it comes to people. Sure, it can be nice to have many friends. But those aren’t friends you can rely on. Your friendship is probably circumstantial, and you put too much effort into maintaining the connection. Plus, you probably still have people in your life who do nothing else but hurt you.
Even if you think that many people will make you happy, they will only drain you of energy. Some of them might even hurt and betray you. Please keep your circle small and tight. Stop chasing happiness through people. Instead, surround yourself with people who will support and love you, not just go out with you. These are the happy people who will make your life more stable. They won’t hurt you and will always help you reach your true potential.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Chasing Happiness and Let It Find You
Happiness is something that everyone wants. But most people think that chasing happiness is how you get it. Indeed, that will only put hurdles in your way. If you view happiness as an end goal, you’ll never be satisfied until everything is how you pictured. You need to allow happiness to find you.
This way, you can be present and find happiness in even the most minor things. One of the best things you can do is to practice gratitude. This will help you learn to be thankful and live in the present. You also need to stop living your life how others want you to. Just because society tells you that your life should look a certain way, it doesn’t mean that lifestyle will fit you, happiness is subjective and you need to start living as authentically as possible.
Lastly, you keep the company with those who genuinely bring you joy. You’ll find that when you stop chasing happiness, you’ll join the ranks of those happy people.