Happiness oftentimes seems like an elusive concept, one that is hard to understand and even a bit abstract. In one moment, we may believe we have finally obtained it, only to see it slip away, so what is happiness exactly?

Happy is defined by the dictionary as “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.” Oftentimes, we look at happiness as though it’s a destination, as though we are on a journey and once we reach happiness, we will stay there as long as we like. But happiness is much more complex than that.

Here are 10 things you need to accept to be happy.

1. Happiness comes in brief moments.

Happiness is not a permanent place in which we can live forever. On the contrary, happiness comes in small blips and brief moments. It’s a beautiful sunset at the end of a hard day. It’s a warm chocolate chip cookie made with love by our favorite person. And it’s the little moments we often overlook because we are too busy waiting on a permanent state of happiness that never comes.

2. We cannot control everything.

Anything that is beyond our control may seem terrifying. Change and the unknown seem like uncomfortable places that we will do anything within our power to avoid. But, at the end of the day, much of our lives are far beyond our control. And trying to control it all will only bring you even more unhappiness.

3. There has to be sadness for us to be able to understand what happiness means.

When we are down, happiness seems so far beyond our reach. It’s hard to imagine what the light looks like when darkness surrounds you, however, it’s that darkness that makes us appreciate the light so much more.

4. Staying busy doesn’t equate to happiness.

Another misconception about happiness is that if we fill our days with busy work or activities that please us. But, studies have shown that meaningful activities versus activities of pleasure are far more likely to bring us true happiness.

5. You cannot compare your journey to someone else’s and be happy.

With the rise of social media, we are surrounded by the highlight reels of anyone we want access to. From the outside looking in, we may begin to believe that everyone leads this perfect life, which in turn, can cause us to grow frustrated with our journey. But, the thing is, people only show us what they want us to see, and NO ONE has a perfect life. We each have our journey, so it’s pointless to compare yours to someone else.

6. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of thinking, “If only I could be ______,” or “If only my life was ______,” then finally, I would be happy. However, the grass is NOT always greener on the other side, and as the old saying goes, if you are always focused on the grass on the other side, well yours isn’t going to get watered.

7. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

It’s wonderful to give to others. And it’s wonderful to do for others. But, you cannot keep giving of yourself and never do for yourself. Your cup will eventually need to be refilled.

8. Being more present at the moment is the key to a happier life.

With social media, screens everywhere we look, and every opportunity to escape from ourselves, it has become much harder to be present at the moment. There’s so much always going on around us, that we never have time to just sit with ourselves and enjoy our life. We are always waiting for the next thing. But, it’s important to be present in the moment and to fight against our urge to distract ourselves. The present moment is where true happiness lies.

9. Happiness includes transcendent goals.

Goals that push us beyond ourselves are the goals that make us happier. Finding a purpose beyond ourselves is far more likely to give us pleasure than anything else.

10. You have to be willing to evolve to be happier.

Living in a fixed mindset will never give you joy. People who are unwilling to evolve are far less likely to find happiness in their life than people who are willing to adapt to their environments and evolve and grow.

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