Our whole lives frantically revolve around the question of what happiness is and how we can attain it. Is it something to attain? What are the best means of achieving that state of happiness? And finally, does it exist?
While most people think that happiness is a feeling, the truth is that happiness is a state of being. One that Master Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh attributes to the sense of inner peace.
“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace,” he explains.
And to achieve this peace, Nhat Nanh explains that it’s first important to achieve self-acceptance. In the Western world, people tend to change the core of who they are to feel accepted by others, and this is what makes most people feel miserable.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”
We often try to change who we are, not realizing that we already possess an innate beauty that should be fully understood instead of changed. We go about destroying every aspect which defines us to receive some kind of temporary recognition from the people who don’t appreciate us (and will never learn).
We seek happiness in things and statuses and we destroy our inner peace thinking that happiness is just around the corner. You may be right that happiness is around the corner, but all you do is go down the rabbit hole of twisted perceptions and dishonesty.
Be honest with yourself and ask yourself whether you deserve to treat yourself badly because the others don’t appreciate the beauty you possess? And finally, ask yourself whether you appreciate your own beauty enough to have others appreciate it for what it is?
Our self-acceptance and our sense of the present moment define our inner peace. We are who we are and we should start from there. So, instead of chasing for happiness (and thus chase it away), slow down and embrace yourself. It’s already inside you if you look closely – you just need to let it take over.