Have you ever asked yourself the question: Am I happy with my life, with myself? I’ve asked myself this question multiple times growing up and my answer was never “yes, I’m happy”. It was more an “almost, if I could just have this.. or do that”. I had plenty of ideas about what happiness would look and feel like but I never truly understood happiness. I always thought that I’m going to be truly happy once I achieved this, got this job or this grade. Or once I’m in a loving and committed relationship. Once I have enough money to not worry about things anymore. Once I take this amazing trip… And lastly, I’m finally going to be happy once I moved from Germany to the United States but surprise, happiness wasn’t waiting for me at the airport with a big welcome poster and balloons.
Even nowadays, I’m still struggling with counting my blessing and being grateful some days. But I know now what being happy actually means and how to be a happier me. And I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned over this past year.
Wait, what? There’s an online class teaching us how to be happy? Yes, there is and it’s completely for free. “The Science of Well-Being” is taught by Yale professor Laurie Santos and will completely change your conception about happiness.
“In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.“ – coursera.org
Now I’m not going to tell you what you’ll learn in this class because I want to you find the answers by yourself. But I can highly recommend this class to anyone seeking a better understanding of what being happy really means. Often we think we know what makes us happy but in reality we don’t. So I began wondering what being happy actually meant and what it would take for me to finally be happy. And one day I stumbled across “The Science of Well-Being“. I signed up immediately and told my husband about this class. By the end of the day the whole family was signed up and ready to start this happiness journey as a team. For the next 10 weeks we got together every Sunday afternoon to watch the new lecture and discuss the weekly assignments. Every evening while having dinner we shared what we’ve discovered that day and how we’ve used our new gained knowledge to make us and the people around us happier. We were excited to hear how each one of us has grown and applied the weekly challenges in our daily lives. And even now, a year later, I still remind myself of the things I’ve learned from this class and try to apply them as best as I can.
Now, there are plenty of books about this topic. I’m sure you’ve already read a book or two telling you how to be happy. But I’d like to share some of my favorites with you. These books have truly inspired me and I’ve learned a great deal about happiness from them as well. So here we go:
In short, what does being happy mean? Well, I guess that’s something we all need to define for ourselves. For me, it’s trying to live my best life, fulfilling my dreams and being my best self. I know this sounds super cheesy but I think that would be happiness for me. Living a life without regrets. Not just dreaming dreams but actually fulfilling them. And lastly, finally becoming the person I so badly want to be, surrounded by like-minded, supportive and loving family and friends. That’s true happiness for me. But at the end of the day, it’s a choice we all need to make every day. We need to choose happiness. And we can’t let materialistic things, others or their opinions define our own happiness. So choose happiness. Today. Every day.
With love, Nicole
P.S. What does being happy mean for you? Share you thoughts in the comments below. 🙂
March 26, 2020
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