What do we want from life?
This article looks at happiness and covers some elements from my book, Cellular Attitude. I hope you enjoy the article.
The Disruption, the pandemic, the Coronavirus, whatever you call it, has certainly changed the way that we physically live our lives, but has it also affected how we look at our lives, and specifically, what makes us happy in our lives?
In Cellular Attitude: The 9-step guide to a happier life, I state that the ultimate objective of one’s life is to live a happy life.
What is happiness for one person is clearly going to be different to another person. There’s so many variables to consider isn’t there?
And, for that matter, how do we even know that we are happy?
What are the indicators to show that we’re happy or unhappy?
Money, for some is the ultimate indicator of success and therefore happiness.
We’ve seen that money does not equal happiness in any number of examples. (Money gives you more choices, however, even this isn’t true for everyone.)
When we talk about how happy you are at the moment, we are referring to your internal emotional state (or emotional level). It is this base level of your emotional state that truly equates your happiness.
It is not how much money you have. It is not how big your house is, how clever you think you are, what people think of you or how fantastically good-looking your partner is. The key to your happiness lies within you and how you feel about yourself.
Happiness is an emotional state of wellbeing.
If you are unhappy without money, will having a lot of money make you happy? It might solve some problems, it may give you choices that you didn’t have before, but solve all your problems?
If you are unhappy being single, will being in a relationship change that? Being in a relationship isn’t going to make you happy until you’re happy being ‘yourself’ first.
In the concept of life as a game, winning the game of life isn’t all about money.
Winning the game of life, if such a thing exists, is surely by being happy and content as opposed to only monetary gain or physical perfection?
Being in a relationship is not necessarily the answer to your problems either. How many people are in relationships that make them unhappy?
Being famous? How many famous people are still unhappy? Celebrity comes with a cost, certainly living in the frenzied spotlight of social media that comes with the territory. In the past year we’ve seen celebrities take their own lives, under the immense pressure from social media. The ability for people to voice their opinions about your life has never been easier and more devastating. Online trolls delivering negative, abusive, and bullying comments can be dangerous. The tragic suicide of the presenter, Caroline Flack, in early 2020 was surely exacerbated by the fact her life was lived in the spotlight.
What equals happiness? What I consider happiness should be immaterial to you. Happiness is only ever what you consider it to be. My only caveat is that you should not be constrained by a single aspect of your life to define your success or failure in life.
So, if material goods/ relationships do not, by themselves, define happiness, what does?
What is happiness, for that matter? Gilbert Ryle’s answer: “happiness is the by-product of doing something that makes me feel good. It is when my wellbeing is above my current average.”
Some people say happiness is achieved as a temporary feeling that is the result of happy moments that keep happening. This is like saying that being happy is nothing more than having lots of ‘up’ moments. I don’t agree with that philosophy as it leads people to want to keep having ‘up’ moments, which could lead to feelings of dissatisfaction if you’re just sitting quietly in your room. I believe that happiness is better defined by the general standard of how one feels in the moment.
As my book says: It’s knowing who you are, where you’re going and why you’re here.
I might say that happiness is being in control of your life, your destiny and having the knowledge that you are where you want to be in life. (You can have all that and be content with life. At the same time, physical pain or some serious worry or coming challenges may get in the way of feeling happy at this moment. An attitude that is positive will reduce the worry and can also inhibit the physical pain).
I think that all these could be relevant and are routes to achieving happiness. In fact, maybe true happiness is a combination of all these aspects.
Which leads me on to thinking:
What makes us happy?
How do we know that we’re happy as opposed to being sad?
Isn’t being happy a feeling, a positive emotional state in relation to what you’ve experienced or have remembered experiencing?
Happiness is an emotional state. It is a higher emotional state than being sad.
Happiness is not a just figure in the bank account, a number on the scales, determined by others opinion of you or how your sports team are faring.
Many people place their perception of happiness directly in line with the amount of money they have. Some are never happy with how much they have, and always want more. There are those who want to have a million pounds in the bank and, for them, £800,000 may be insufficient, whilst others would be perfectly happy.
Others place their happiness in their goal of having a large family. If they can’t have a large family, they remain unfulfilled. Even the term ‘large’ will have a different interpretation for people.
There is a distinct danger to placing your perception of happiness in line with any goal (or destination) that you want to achieve, because even if you fall short, you may feel unhappy and unfulfilled. If you focus ONLY on the destination, this can happen. However, if you set a destination and then concentrate on the journey, your experience of life may be completely different.
It is all about how we perceive our life.
Happiness is a perceived emotion and it’s a powerful one.
Emotions, of which there are many different states, affect how we feel our life is going. If it’s full of positive emotions, like Cheerfulness, Joy, Euphoria, Harmony, Jubilation, Gratitude, Happiness, Passion and Zeal, we are going to be having a positive life experience. A positive life experience could equate to happiness.
Conversely, if we primarily experience more negative emotions such as Irritation, Annoyance, Anger, Fear, Worry, Caution, Rage, Bitterness, Aggression, Anxiety, Sorrow or Apathy, then we will have a negative life experience, which equates to unhappiness.
Our emotional states run from Euphoria down to Apathy. Where you are at any one given moment is your emotional state, better known as your emotional level.
What is your emotional level? It is the position you inhabit on the emotional scale (The emotional scale is a gradient of emotional states ranking from the highest possible down to the lowest available human emotion. Abraham-Hicks have published one version of the scale, Dr Gerbode another. Each have slightly different descriptions of the emotions but are essentially the same)
Do you really know where you are now in relation to your emotional self?
Do you want to know?
Do you want to make positive changes?
Would you like to complete a quick exercise to determine this?
If you’re answering ‘Yes’ to any of these, you’re in need of positive change! With that determined, let’s see if you’re ready and prepared to change. If you can answer yes to the following questions, then you are ready to make that change!
In addition, or instead of these desires for positive self-improvement, you may be looking for a reduction in pain or trauma, particularly as a result of ‘The Disruption’. After The Disruption, we will want to recover and move on.
So, if you have been affected, are you:
- suffering any emotional upset over how the Coronavirus pandemic, quarantines, social distancing and other measures to combat the virus were implemented?
- experiencing grief through losing people close to you (or people you are acquainted with and are upset about)
- upset that you’ve not been able to grieve properly as a result of truncated funerals or shortened grieving rituals
- feeling that your grief been marginalised by the large numbers of other grieving over their losses?
- not sleeping well and affected by the trauma of the isolation and fears from the pandemic
- still feeling scared and uneasy to mix with people
- having a general sense of fear/ insecurity or imbalance caused by the lockdown
- traumatised by the entire experience
Some of these issues can be extremely painful and upsetting to you. If you want to improve any of the above, then you are READY to change.
You can have all these things and more. However, you’ll need to commit to working on yourself and do the work before this happens. Whether your goal is to be happier or less un-happy, the reality is that it’s an increase in happiness that is required.
My definition of happiness is knowing who you are, where you’re going and why you’re here, being in control of your life, your destiny and the knowledge that you are where you want to be in life. To achieve this, you will need to know the answer to these questions:
Where are you, in your life, right now?
Are you where you want to be?
Are you who you want to be?
You might not have considered these questions before.
Happiness is an emotion. Emotions are not just fleeting moments; they are also general states of being. Have you ever truly confronted your real emotional state? (Often happiness, which can be considered a more momentary emotion and contentment, which is an ongoing state, co-exist hand in hand. Regular happiness will lead to contentment, long term contentment could be where overall happiness lives).
Is happiness something you have considered important or measurable?
Are you ‘too busy’ to contemplate it? Time is elastic. We can always find time if we want to.
Could you be brushing your real emotional state under the carpet so that you don’t have to confront (deal with) it? It’s very commonplace for people to do this. People proclaim their happiness to others, usually all-over social media, so they can try and prove their happiness whilst they are extremely discontent. This has really increased since the first edition and is becoming a serious and unhealthy problem for younger generations. Recent research indicates that 1 in 6 young people will experience anxiety in their lives.
The idea that we must be happy all the time, can lead to greater feelings of unhappiness.
Imagine this conversation, between a man and his wife:
“Are you happy?”
“I asked; are you happy?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I’m too busy to worry about if I’m happy. Stop worrying about being happy and just get on with it”
Isn’t that a crazy conversation? It’s one that I have had in the past and it’s one that others have also reported to me. Try asking it of people, see what sort of response you get. How can you be TOO busy to consider your happiness?
Are you one of those people who are too busy to find out how happy you are now? Too busy or too afraid?
Maybe you’re pretending to be too busy to consider your happiness because if you took some time to look at your life, you might find out that you’re not happy at all.
Maybe it’s an answer that people are afraid of knowing.
That can be quite a daunting prospect, finding out that you are unhappy. Most people tend to avoid the subject of their own happiness completely, submerging themselves in work or hobbies or both. There are huge numbers of people who are doing this, running around being busy to keep their minds away from the fact that they are profoundly unhappy. Perhaps if they found out that they were unhappy they might be even unhappier KNOWING that they were unhappy and then they’d be in a worse state with no idea of how to get out of the spiral.
The thing is, if you don’t know whether you’re unhappy or not, you won’t know if you need to do anything to change that state. Denying the fact won’t change it. I used to be like an ostrich, burying my head in the sand, hoping that my problems would solve themselves if I couldn’t see them. It really doesn’t work at all. It really didn’t for me. It wasn’t until I started confronting myself that I started to make any progress at all.
So, living your life, keeping busy, and ‘getting on with it’ without considering your happiness, is something that is endemic in society and it’s responsible for reducing the quality of life of millions of people.
I mean, what is the point of living unless it’s to be content and happy with the life you live?
There are those who want to better themselves, accept change and work at personal growth and development and there are those that are ‘un-awakened’, lacking self-awareness and unwilling to change.
Which type of person are you? Which type of person do you want to be?
Of course, there’s also the issue of people not feeling happy and not understanding WHY they don’t feel happy.
Imagine this different conversation between a man and his wife:
‘I’m not happy’
‘I don’t know. I’m just not happy’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I’m only happy when I’m with the grandchildren, nothing else makes me happy, not my friends, not my family, nothing’
‘Not even me?’
There’s a feeling creeping into society that we must be happy all the time or must have more happiness and this is when it gets very confusing for many people.
Isn’t the whole objective of life to be happy? Or have people become obsessed with just looking like they are happy?
What is happiness?
What is the point of our existence?
These are big questions aren’t they? Before World War Two, our objectives in life in Europe have been serving God, King and Country or, for some, serving their master. In the USA it’s been serving God and The President, etc. In the east, in China for example, traditional culture would suggest that learning and service are the main objectives in life. In India, objectives used to be sharing, harmony with nature and passive spirituality. Older civilisations had survival of the clan as the objective. (Think of the way that elders were revered and how the very old would leave the tribe rather than be a burden on it.)
Over the past seven years since I first wrote Cellular Attitude, I’ve seen two things happen. I’ve noticed how social media, influencers and some awful reality television programmes have been pushing a message of happiness that is materialistic and unrealistic that must be putting pressures on people to feel that unless they are living this ‘unrealistic’ lifestyle, then they won’t be happy.
This is putting the youth of today under tremendous pressure. If you’re not living a certain lifestyle or look a certain way with filters and the like, you are failing. If you’re not posting to social media how fantastic your life is, if you’re not able to show how happy you are, if you’re not getting ‘likes’ then you are not good enough. If you cannot demonstrate to everyone how successful and permanently happy you are, you are, therefore, a failure and unhappy. When did life become so materialistic and simplistic?
This is intolerable, particularly when you consider the fact that these ‘lifestyles’ are fake and unsustainable. How many young girls are pressured by these images to look and act a certain way? Too many, sadly.
Then, let’s consider how The Disruption has affected all of us. At the time of writing this article, whilst updating this book, lockdown is still in place, people are scared, and the world is facing a challenge unseen before in generations. Everyone united to fight a common foe, in this case, a virus.
I believe people of the world will emerge with a different perspective on life.. We are in a period of change. Back to happiness…
Are we happy in some areas and not in others? Where should we be happy?
It’s very much a question for our times isn’t it? What should our objectives be? What should we be doing with our lives? How do we want to ‘be’ after this huge reset, after the disruption?
Maslow’s hierarchy states that we have a hierarchy of needs that go up from Physiological Survival Needs through Safety Needs, Love & Belonging Needs, Self-Esteem Needs all the way to Self-Actualisation Needs. Maslow’s 1943 paper asserts that we need to satisfy each need prior to being able to move up to the next level.
Self-actualisation, described by Maslow as “what a man can be, he must be”, can be termed reaching one’s fullest potential.
One’s fullest potential. My question here is: According to whom? In other words, who decides what humanity’s fullest potential is?
My belief is that we should be the architects of what we consider to be our fullest potential. In other words, we should have the ability to choose our potential. Ultimately, our choice could be to live a full and happy life with a goal of being content with how our life was lived. This means that we live a happy life according to our perceptions and choices. So, whether you live in an individualist society (most capitalist structured societies) or a collectivist society (communist states or communities such as Kibbutz or Egalitarian communities are examples of these) your choice of what living your life to its fullest potential is what matters.
Does it follow that if we life our life fully, we will have more happiness and contentment?
Before we can say that we are happy, do we need to find out if we are unhappy first?
Remember me saying that where you are now is not as important as where you are going? Although the most important element of self-improvement is ‘where you are going’, without a departure point, we cannot get started. Once you know that, you can plan to move to a better emotional place.
Emotional Scale Mapping
Are you ready to find out what your real, current, emotional state is?
If you are, then visit this page https://www.cellularattitude.co.uk/?product=emotional-scale-mapping-online This is Emotional Scale Mapping and it will give you a report on your current emotional state and an indication of how you want to feel in the future. It uses the emotional scale to assess your emotional state over different topics. We will look at the emotional scale in more detail a little bit later. In a nutshell it is a graduated scale that shows your emotional state. It runs from Apathy all the way up to Euphoria.
It takes a bit of courage to do this exercise truthfully. We like to kid ourselves that we are OK. Sometimes, if we’re not OK, we have the tendency to avoid looking at ourselves too closely in case we don’t like what we see. This can be extremely counterproductive due to the amount of effort required by our subconscious to suppress our true feelings. Releasing our true emotions and freeing up the effort of suppressing them will in the long run improve our ability to cope with life and be happy. It takes a bit of courage though.
Nevertheless, it’s something you must do if you want to achieve a greater level of overall happiness in your life.
You might be worried that if you find out that you are not as happy as you thought you were, you will be worse off for doing the test. That won’t be the case, I assure you. All I will say is that if you complete this book, take on the concepts within, you will end up higher on the emotional scale than you are currently, with a greater understanding of what makes you happy and how to deal with the difficult things in life.
If you can change a negative attitude into a positive one, then you’ll have a real chance to change your life. That’s what this book is all about.
Would you want to end up more resilient and capable of handling everything that life throws at you?
The very first step in getting a Cellular Attitude is to find out where you are now. This gives you a starting point. You can then decide where you want your life to go.
So, where are you now? You need to do some work to find out.
It is a simple and effective way of finding out your current emotional state. Are you ready for this?
Visit the site, complete your Emotional Scale Map and you will know exactly what your current emotional state is, today.
If this article has interested you at all, please visit my site, have a look at this page https://www.cellularattitude.co.uk/?page_id=121 and if you like what you see, please purchase the book, if not for you, for someone you care about.
It helps support small publishers, like us, and, every person that becomes a positive person should try and help people with negative attitudes to change!
Make every day a positive day and keep safe!