I don’t want you to have a Happy New Year. Shocked to hear someone who’s mission it is to help others create more joy, fulfillment and success in their lives say this? That’s because what I do want for you is to Be Happy. Here’s the truth about Having a Happy New Year and why it causes more stress, disappointment and sadness, which will paradoxically create your best, and happiest year ever!
I always pause when people say, “Have a Happy New Year.” Maybe It’s because as an author, I take words to heart and very literally. Call it an occupational hazard. However, studies actually show that telling people to, “Have a Happy New Year,” actually feels overwhelming and stressful for many people.
The Happiness Paradox
“Does that mean I ALWAYS have to be happy?” “Is being sad wrong?” “How do I always stay happy, even when I’m dealing with a painful, sad or stressful situation?” Here’s a different paradoxical perspective.
This sanction of telling people to have a Happy New Year and then assuming we must live in a constant state of joy can lead to unnecessary stress and disappointment.
We all experience a large variety of emotions. Whether that’s sadness or happiness. Anger or grief. Excitement or disappointment. Failure and success. Stress and peace. Often, we try to resist the negative ones and prolong the positive ones by thinking, “I hope this lasts longer” or “I hope this is over, fast.”
Happiness Can Lead to Disappointment
The desire to always be happy can result in significant disappointment when it doesn’t happen. Sadness becomes an enemy rather than just an emotion that comes and goes with time. Often, I found that I would miss moments of happiness in fear of it being taken away.
What if it’s more about living a meaningful, fulfilling, grateful and selfless life by being in the present moment, where the byproduct is organically living a happy one rather than having to do something to create it?
Ten Thousand Joys – Ten Thousand Sorrows
Buddhism discusses the notion of ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows. The number ten thousand stands for unlimited. The phrase points to the seemingly countless joys and sorrows in everyone’s life—how it’s easy at times and difficult at times, fulfilling at times and frustrating at times, happy at times and sad at times, successful at times and disappointing at times.
And remembering this Buddhist philosophy brought me back to one of the biggest aims I have for myself. To live in a state of integrity which to me is defined as being present, whole, peaceful, accepting and complete.
Be with emotional experiences and feel them fully rather than push for, avoid or resist them. Otherwise, this creates ongoing residual effects on your well-being, health, peace of mind and sense of closure around each feeling you experience. This means to appreciate the fact that sometimes you will be sad, other times you will be happy. Neither of them will last forever and that’s okay – and where acceptance comes into play.
The constant desire and drive to achieve a state of bliss or happiness makes us more likely to resist the negative emotions rather than accept that they are only one of the ten thousand sorrows. Thankfully, we will also have ten thousand joys.
The Untapped Power of Acceptance and Choice
Life is a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant experiences, of pleasure and pain—physically, mentally, and emotionally. And acceptance of this truth is what will lead to greater peace, self-awareness, and happiness. The key is for you to give yourself permission to embrace this.
Hafez, a famous Persian poet, once said, “I’m happy even before I have a reason. I’m full of Light even before the sky can greet the sun or the moon.”
This implies happiness, confidence and our internal condition or mental state, is a choice. In other words, you don’t have to work towards happiness.
You don’t “Do” happy; you choose to “Be” happy, which implies who you are; your belief, attitude and mindset, not what you do. Therefore, happiness can be a choice without external situations to create your internal condition or feeling. Sure, new goals, resolutions, and healthier activities can certainly contribute to your state of happiness, but it still makes it conditional rather than unconditional.
If You Want to Be Happy – Look In, Not Out
When people say that one of their goals in life is to be happy, I’ve realized this isn’t something I want to aim for. Rather, by being emotionally whole, I can then be happy rather than work for happiness. Besides, you don’t do happy, you are happy.
The challenge is, this is the work that most people run from. Instead, they run towards their goals, or sense of achievement or getting something done to prove their worth. Sadly, many people allow these things, even their job to define them by what they do instead of by who they are.
To be emotionally whole means to accept and acknowledge the wide range of emotions that we have. We’re allowed to be sad, angry, frustrated, distracted, stressed, loving, fearful and experience ranges of every emotion. I do not believe that we should think of these emotions in reference to happiness, or how these things dictate our state of being, and our state of happiness, or how they’re either happy or unhappy feelings. Instead of getting stuck in, “black and white, either-or, absolute thinking,” remember that you always have a choice to just accept them. After all, you’re going to experience them anyway.
Choosing a Great New Year Starts Now!
What you can work on is focusing more on who you are, your being, since it’s always more important than what you do. So, do the work by embracing acceptance; the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows, which leads to being in a place greater peace and joy. The byproduct allows you to tap into humanity’s greatest power; choice.
So, this New Year, I invite you to choose a meaningful, fulfilling, peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year filled with love and overflowing with the things that naturally create happiness for you. So rather than trying to DO happy or work to HAVE a happy New Year, choose to BE happy and choose a Happy and Blessed New Year!