There is one step to creating happiness. It is to express love. When you express the emotion of love you create happiness and joy within yourself. Happiness is not just a state of mind. Happiness is also a state of emotion.
Psychologists study happiness like it is a mysterious phenomenon. They suggest things like work in a meaningful career, spend time with friends, and take time to savor the day as a means to increase happiness. See a larger list on how to be happy at Wikihow.com. Why do these things show up as activities to do if you want to be happy? It’s not because they actually make you happy. They cultivate happiness because people express love while doing them. They express love for their friends and family, they express love for work and activities they find meaningful. When people express love they are happy.
It is easy to overlook our critical role of expressing emotion in creating our happiness. We are inclined to think of our emotions as a response to people and material things. One simple way this happens is that we hypnotize ourselves with words such as “He/She makes me happy.” Even the phrase, “I’m so happy you came to visit me.” can have an implied mental assumption that our emotions are because of them.
The part we didn’t see is that we expressed love for the person that came to see us. Where did that emotion of love come from? We created it. Emotions are invisible to our eyes and so we overlook where they are coming from. Yet the truth is that we create them ourselves. We can perceive other people’s emotions, but more than 95% of what we feel emotionally is from what we create.
The person that visited us is just a trigger for us to create and express love for them. We then experience joy from the love we express for people; not because of them. It is often easier for us to love some people more than others. This supports the false assumption that they make us happy. What it doesn’t take into account is how the beliefs and perceptions in our mind cause us to express love to some people and less than others.
What about all the things that seem to make us happy?
If we are enjoying music, it is not the music that makes us happy. It is the expression of our love for the music that creates our joy. If we are happy in our job or career, it is not the job that makes us happy. The expression of our love for what we do creates the experience of happiness. If we are enjoying a beautiful day, it is not the day that is flooding us with emotions. It is our love for the experience of the day that we are flooded with.
The one underlying act that determines your happiness is the expression of your love coming out of you.
Do we really create our emotions? Try this experiment to find out for yourself. Think of a joyous memory in your past. Perhaps it is a person or an event that “brings” you great joy. Immerse yourself in the feeling. You can also use unhappy memories that trigger you to create unpleasant emotions. The memories are the triggers, but you are the one creating the emotions. Where and how you focus your attention and interpret experiences in your mind are the major factor in triggering what emotions you create.
Over the years our mind has built a program between outside triggers and the emotions we express. If we win a game, we express joy. If we lose the game, we express disappointment. Get a raise, promotion, or buy something we want, we express emotions based in love. Get fired, lose money, or lose something valuable, we express fear, anger, or disappointment. These are triggers to withhold the expression of love.
As long as you have artificial criteria in the mind your happiness will be dependent on external factors. Common criteria in the mind can be what other people think of you, material things, or what your body looks like. It is by satisfying the criteria in the mind that most people engage in the pursuit of happiness. People try harder to win more games, make more money, or to have people like them. This approach is also why most people find their happiness to be fleeting. They continually have to chase the next criteria their mind comes up with.
Truly lasting happiness is yours when you have the self awareness to choose the criteria in your mind and change it at will. With self-mastery you are able to choose the emotion you express in each moment. When you have this level of self-mastery the obvious choice is to express love. The Dalai Llama is a well known public figure that demonstrates this mastery of expressing love.
We often associate this kind of mastery over the mind with spiritual people. But it is actually something that you can master without having to move to an ashram in India. If you have expressed love for your children, a friend, spouse, or a pet, you have already exercised the necessary emotional muscles that it takes. Now all that is required is some practice and some shifting of the criteria in the mind.
Happiness is a relatively new field for psychology, as they have only been looking at it for a few decades. Academics will have a difficult time understanding happiness. Science doesn’t take into account what it can’t measure. And science can’t measure emotions, or how they are created. They also have difficulty detecting the beliefs in the mind that form the criteria for expressing emotions. Through interviews and surveys they can only get second-hand information about these unseen aspects.
If psychology studies happiness based on surveys of normal folks they will end up with answers about happiness from people who pursue it. However, if psychologists study happiness from people who have self-mastery over their beliefs they will have conclusions based on people who create happiness through expressing love. This internally created foundation of happiness is a much deeper and lasting version than what the averages person experiences.
Spiritual traditions have been studying happiness, love, fear, and belief systems in the mind for thousands of years. Their esoteric studies have gleaned a great deal more insight into the unseen world of emotions and belief systems than recent academics. Within these spiritual studies there is room for distortions and misinterpretations but at least the knowledge base is much deeper.
Happiness is not a mystery to solve or secret to be revealed in order to be experienced. It is so simple that just about any child can model it even if they can’t explain it. Happiness is a feeling created by the expression of your love coming out of you. When your love is coming out of you, you are happy. If you express emotions of fear and anger, you will experience fear and anger. How you feel is determined by the emotions you create.
The reasons you create different emotions at different times is because of beliefs in the mind that respond to different triggers. Those beliefs are the artificial criteria telling us not to love, or that it is not safe to love.
If we limit the expression of love by the criteria in the mind, we limit the happiness and joy in our life. Being aware that we create our emotions and that we can change the criteria in our mind is a big shift in responsibility and power over our happiness.
Expressing love is the one step to happiness. Our mind may have a lot of different criteria that has to be met before we allow ourselves to be happy, but those can be changed. If we change those agreements we can express love for any reason we choose, or even for no reason at all. We can express our love just because we enjoy the feeling of happiness it creates for our self. This isn’t being selfish; it is just doing for yourself what no one else can do for you.
For steps on creating happiness in your life listen and practice the exercises in the Self Mastery Course