A story about cockroaches, treasure, and happiness

When I was a young girl, I played with a bunch of kids in my apartment community back in India. We used to play in the community yard in a large group. One day, young minds decided to hunt for a buried treasure inside the community. 

We really had no clue what we were doing. We were very excited to possibly find a treasure. 

We dug a really large hole and ended up finding a whole load of cockroaches. We got really scared and ran away and never talked about it ever again. 

Searching for happiness in adulthood is something like this story. We are all searching for it, sometimes in a group and sometimes by ourselves. Sometimes we end up digging holes in places where we really should not be looking in the first place. 

As kids, we stopped digging for treasures after finding cockroaches. As adults though, people do not stop the quest for happiness. They continue looking for ways to be happy. In fact, several people on the internet are searching for ways to be happy daily. 

Total monthly searches for the phrase “How To Be Happy” (including a lot of variations) turn out to be around 327290/month according to Ubersuggest keyword tool. 

23 Misconceptions People Have About Happiness

When I surveyed, I found that people have way too many made up stories about happiness. 

  1. If “…” happens, then I will be happy
  2. I am unhappy because so and so does so and so which I do not agree with
  3. You cannot buy happiness
  4. Happiness is only for those who meditate/exercise/yoga/etc
  5. Happy people are lazy
  6. The negative people around me are bringing me down
  7. I am too stressed to be happy
  8. If I am happy, people will think I am a pushover
  9. Happiness is the final destination
  10. Happiness is all about pleasurable experiences
  11. Happiness means always smiling
  12. Happy people are annoying
  13. You always have to spend time alone to be happier
  14. It is selfish to be happy
  15. It takes a lot of work to be happy
  16. You need a lot of money to be happy
  17. There is only one way to happiness
  18. Happiness is for the older people to search for after retirement
  19. Happiness is not here. I have to look for it
  20. I need all my questions answered to be happy. 
  21. If people are vague or play mind games, I cannot be happy
  22. In order to be happy, I need quiet time, calm and my time. 
  23. Happiness means intense happy emotions

Repeating Patterns That Keep People Stuck In A Cycle Of Unhappiness

When you read the above myths, you may find one thing common. Very few people are taking responsibility for their own happiness. They are focused on external factors and their belief systems. How others behave, what others cause, the relationship issues, the games they play is beyond our control. People have been conditioned to believe a certain way about happiness through their ancestors, parents, teachers, role models and society. 

Sometimes changing jobs in order to get away from current problems can temporarily create happiness. But soon people find that old problems return in different ways. Same with changing partners or friends or careers. 

In my coaching practice, I help people get unstuck from negative repeating cycles. If the root cause of a pattern is not identified, a person will be stuck in this cycle forever and misunderstand happiness. “Happiness is not for someone like me,” is what some of my clients say. They have made up their mind that they will never be happy. This belief is toxic and does not support well being of a person. 

True happiness is inside all of us. You can access it at any time with proper understanding. For lasting happiness, layers of old beliefs and myths have to be removed to uncover the mask. 

Top Real Causes Of Unhappiness

  1. Being reactionary to situations 
  2. Operating from a place of fear
  3. Misalignment of values, goals, priorities, and actions
  4. Being Distracted
  5. Lack of boundaries
  6. Lack of trust
  7. Lack of sleep
  8. Inability to let go of frustrations
  9. Inability to process painful emotions

How To Be Happy?

There are a number of ways to become happy, but the most effective one will depend on your cause of unhappiness. For example, #A reason then doing XYZ may help you alleviate unhappiness. 

Respond to situations than reacting with strong emotions. 

A lot of times you judge a situation and react quickly. Get in a habit of becoming more aware of your judgment so that you can work on your responses more naturally.

Process deep-rooted anger in a safe manner

Expressing anger without processing it first, largely causes problems. Try journaling and questioning the fear behind your anger first before you react. 

Process fear so you feel back in control of your situation

When you are facing new situations, your lizard brain gets activated and puts you in a fight or flight mode. While this is useful in times of danger, sometimes your fear gets out of control is not so dangerous situations. When you learn to take steps towards your growth in spite of the fear you face, you feel happier, confident and in control of yourself. 

Break cycles of negative patterns by working on personal resistance to change

Your beliefs create resistance to taking action. When you are not taking action towards your goals, you feel stuck and unhappy. Breaking resistance by brainstorming 3 ideas around frustration can help you get unstuck. Getting help from a coach, a friend, family member, a boss or a teacher is also a great strategy to get a different viewpoint on your situation. 

Connect more often with your intuition and learn to trust your decisions

When you are unable to make decisions, you feel stuck with your choices. In order to trust our decisions, you have to learn to trust our gut. Connecting with your intuition daily is a great practice to start trusting ourselves again. In order to connect to your intuition, you can practice meditation, yoga, journal, connect more with nature, practice being in silence and listening to your inner voice again. 

Schedule 7-8 hours of sleep and take plenty of rest. 

We have all experienced a lack of energy, irritation, feeling down, sad, frustrated and annoyed when we have not slept enough. Sleep affects how your brain functions. Quality sleep helps us feel alert. If we do not get enough sleep, we feel drowsy. A tired person is more likely to respond aggressively than a well-rested person. Schedule 8 hours of sleep. 

Say NO

Creating strong boundaries is an important trait of a happy person. A happy person is committed to their happiness. This helps them not only keep themselves happy but also helps them be of service to other people and respond better. If a person cannot say no and does things even if they do not want to, it will be more likely that they will react to situations or act out and feel unhappy. Learning to say no is not selfish. It helps all parties involved. 

Let Go

A lot of Happiness “Gurus” tell us to Let Go. A lot of times, letting go is misconstrued to be a passive action that keeps us small and defeated. It is considered by many as a failure. But really letting go means facing the truth of a situation, accepting that this is beyond your control and then moving towards the actions that you can actually control. Letting go helps us break all chains to an event of the past and pushes us towards momentum and happiness. 

Don’t be an internet happiness statistic

Stop bumping into cockroaches when you can find the treasure of happiness inside of you. Take an inventory of your happiness and determine what is the #1 cause of unhappiness inside of your life. Take the necessary action to solve the root cause and be happy now.

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