It has become one of society’s demands to always think positively and be as happy as you possibly can. You may have experienced the pressure of this ideal of happiness, also in your career: “Love what you do, do what you love!” Some company cultures want to embody the ideal of happiness, branding their company culture as one of the best, but leaving you with close to no emotional flexibility in the workplace. That means your authentic self needs to stay at home. It also means a huge energy drain because you have to put on an act 5 days per week. Adding your exposure to the endless array of happiness on social media, you feel pressured into chasing after it yourself, making happiness the ultimate goal, the holy grail of your life and career.
However, this is the exact moment that happiness will start eluding you, certainly followed by negative emotions, because you see other people living that happy life! “Why can’t I be that happy?” The unattainable goal of constant happiness in both life and at work, and the gap you experience between where you currently are and where you should be, makes it that much harder to find your own happiness balance. Instead, you start to experience your shortcomings and the resulting negative emotions as threatening and judge yourself harshly for not being happy enough.
The status of one’s emotional balance is never static, it’s almost always in motion.
Happiness is a balanced state of mind, closely related to the entire spectrum of your emotions, that you consciously and subconsciously experience on a daily basis. The entire spectrum means that we all carry both light and darkness inside of us. While both sides live on the extreme opposite sides of each spectrum, it’s important to recognize that neither side is negative. What’s negative is a potential imbalance – either towards the light or the dark extreme. Let me give you an example of a light extreme:
If a person with a very caring nature were to do a reality check, they would find a lot of suffering in their personal life. A very caring nature immediately translates to over-sensitivity and a victim mindset where one is willing to sacrifice themselves as well as one’s happiness for others.
Happiness is a choice.
Now that you know that happiness is a balanced state of mind that allows you to integrate both your talents and imperfections, it’s about time that you learn to appreciate yourself for who you are!
In every moment, in every situation, right now you have a choice. Your actions and reactions define your life and your happiness.
Here are 3 steps that you can take to get to know yourself better in order to seek balance from within:
- What are your core values? What do you stand for as a person? On what basis do you make decisions and go through life? What is important to you? What do you live for?
Your core values will also help you learn about why you’re experiencing “negative” emotions in some instances and how you can use those to adjust your course.
- Are you aware of your strengths and talents? What comes easily to you and gives you energy when doing it instead of draining it?
- And last, but not least, in order to find balance, it’s important to not go after the big ideals that society frames as the ultimate goals: the perfect career, the perfect partner, being thin and attractive etc. What’s important is the journey, because this is where you spend most of your time. If the hustle for the perfect career is making you unhappy, why are you doing it? Instead set yourself smart goals, small milestones, celebrate the baby steps that you take on a daily basis and don’t forget to slow down. Life is happening now. Don’t let it slip away by going after a society ideal that’s going to make you unhappy.
Happiness is balance.
Take responsibility for your own happiness and don’t put such power into the hands of another person, society or the company that you work for. Emotional balance occurs when we allow ourselves to feel whatever comes up, without stifling the feeling or being overwhelmed by it, but learn to accept it without judgement. All that we experience as a part of life exist so we can appreciate life, grow through the tough patches and find contentment in what is in this given moment. Seek balance in yourself by learning about who you are as a whole person, and happiness will find you.