What would it feel like to be unconditionally happy?
I have found it increasingly difficult to stay positive given all that’s happening in the world and so I have been looking at joy and happiness, and comparing them to love.
I’ve always strived to be unconditionally loving, but I’ve never considered applying the same principles to joy and happiness. I have dumped so many conditions on my happiness, it’s not surprising I have trouble finding it. My first condition is: I’m not allowed to be happy until I’ve done ‘enough.’ That’s always a hard one because there’s always more to do. I find my happiness conditional on how much I deserve which goes back to doing enough or being a good enough person.
My happiness often relates to being around people and events, so given COVID-19 and the cancelation of many cherished activities, I’ve lost many of my usual avenues to happiness. And then there’s the big one – my joy is conditional on the state of the world which has really been difficult. I found myself waiting for the results of the recent elections to know whether to be happy or not. And regardless of the results, there is still the immediacy of Black Lives Matter and the injustices towards people of color and those marginalized in our society.
How can I be happy in the face of others suffering?
So I turn back to love as a model.
Unconditional love is something that is encouraged and respected. To unconditionally love oneself and others is a sign of compassion, caring, and linked with enlightenment.
Unconditional happiness is something that could be viewed as silly, naïve, or selfish. Thinking about happiness as a deep joy in a spiritual sense, reminds me of videos with the Dalai Lama and how often he is smiling and laughing. He certainly does not ignore the suffering of his country, Tibet, and the world. And yet he appears so joyful and happy.
Would it be so bad if I were unconditionally happy? I would certainly feel better. I’d have more energy and emotional resources to act compassionately in our world. I believe I help others more when I’m happy and positive than when I am sad and depressed. If being unconditionally loving is healthy for myself and the world then it seems that giving myself permission to be unconditionally happy would also benefit myself and the world.
Want to try it with me?
We could try smiling more, just for the sake of being positive and getting our happy endorphins charged up in our brains.
We could be happy, even when we haven’t done everything we “should” and haven’t done things perfectly.
We could disengage our inner feelings from the outer world, and know we still care about others and their suffering as we embrace our inner joy and happiness. Unconditional love is connected to a larger, spiritual love so maybe we can tie our joy and happiness to a larger sense of gratitude and happiness.
For me, just considering the option of being unconditionally joyful and happy opens my world to more possibilities. Let me know how it works for you.