What does it mean to be happy? – Parent A.T. with 2 primary school aged children – 18/12/2015

Ask many people what they want in life and most of them would reply to be happy. Ask them what it means to be happy, or why they want to be happy and even how they can be happy, many would either give you a blank, sad, confused or deep in thought look.
Happiness is a complex and multi layered construct. Some of us may believe what we ‘think’ we want to achieve in our life will make us ‘feel’ happy. Depending where we are at in our life, it could be a good education, fulfilling career, meaningful relationships or to be a good citizen in society.
If we question it further and ask ourselves WHY we wish to have these achievements, we may begin to explore and unravel our emotional and psychological needs. Why do we need to ask these questions? It is because what we think that makes us happy may not necessarily make us feel happy or even have a feeling of ambiguity. I am certain sometimes in our life we may do things not necessarily that we want to but due to familial, peer or societal expectations.
Happiness is a choice, a belief and an attitude that is inside us. A mindset that has been influenced by our upbringing and our interpretations of our life experiences. It is a constant interplay of our internal landscape and our outer reality. Unless we have a great understanding of ourselves, meaning having clarity in what, how and why we do what we do, we will be making choices from an unconscious level. Just like a dog chasing its own tail, going round and round in circles.
So, how do we bring the subconscious to a conscious level? I believe our emotions are the keys to our Personal Truth. It is possible some of us may have difficulty in expressing our feelings or may be so out of touch with our feelings. Wherever we are at emotionally, acknowledge and accept our state of being. Emotions are neither right nor wrong. It is only when we claim our feelings we become empowered to increase our self-awareness to take constructive actions to create a better reality for ourselves.
The challenges that we are facing right now are golden opportunities for personal growth. The experiences that we are encountering right now are the change agents and our emotions are the internal compass signaling whether we are align with our Personal Truth. It takes immense self-awareness; courage and honesty to acknowledge our feelings, including both pain and pleasure.
I believe the better we are in aligning our subconscious and conscious mind and our capacity to regulate our emotions, we will become genuinely happier people.