Happiness has been defined by Webster-Merriam as a state of wellbeing, inclusive of both mental and emotional, along with experiences that are both pleasurable and satisfying. Often time individuals tend to confuse "true" happiness with that of "commercialized" happiness. One’s perception of happiness is rooted in their core belief that in order to be happy, one must have a substantial amount of money, popularity, fancy cloths, live in gated communities, and drive overpriced vehicle. It is those core beliefs that cause individuals to believe that the only way they can experience happiness and define themselves is to live up to societal expectation, which is far from the truth.
Happiness is a state of mind. The only person who can define your happiness and how you experience happiness is you. The belief of cognitive behavioral therapy, a theoretical perspective founded by Aaron Beck, states that in any given situation an individual may find themselves in their thoughts about the situation influence how they feel and ultimately how they act. According to the triangle theory of cognitive behavioral therapy, an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are inter-connected and when you change the way you think about something, a situation, or someone, all other components tend to be influenced. If an individual is experiencing negative thoughts, it is likely that they will experience negative emotions and behave in a negative manner. However, when one tends to think more positive they experience healthier emotions and behavior in a more pro-social, positive manner.
Therefore, if happiness is a state of mind, then this depiction is representative of how one can begin to discover "true happiness". Eckhart Tolle has stated, "The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it". Challenging core beliefs that are based on societal expectation and changing your thoughts is the first step in discovering "true" happiness. Societal expectations do not define your happiness. Let's be honest, more times than not, you feel as if you are chasing a dream that will never become a reality, or your are stressed out trying to figure out how to achieve all those things that society dictate we as individuals need in order to feel important. Commercialized happiness isn’t "true" happiness, as it is typically defined by the quantity of and type of material possessions one have. You are never fully satisfied with commercialized happiness, because you are always focusing on obtaining more. With "true" happiness you are less interested in the quantity and type of material possession and more focused on the truly makes you happy and maintaining happiness in your life. Instead of living up to others expectations, start to live up to your own.
Read more self improvement advice on YourTango:
- How To Be Happy With Yourself: 5 Must-Read Tips
- Happiness Happens: 20 Tips To Increase Your Happiness
How To Deal With Depression After Divorce: 5 Actionable Tips