Some time ago, I read an article on the Japanese concept of ikigai that really resonated with me. (I highly recommend reading it yourself, so I'll link it here.) Essentially, the article clears up some misunderstandings of the concept that have been generated as the idea spread to the West.
For those of us that do know of ikigai, we may think of it as this Venn diagram of four things: what we're good at, what we love, what the world needs, and what we can be paid for.
What I like about the above article, though, is that it makes ikigai more simple and all-encompassing at the same time.
I often thought that happiness came from specific things, and I think a lot of us are trained to think that way. After all, that's where the trap of instant gratification and the idea of "I'll be happy when I have this thing or that person" comes into play.
Life seems so much freer, though, if we don't limit ourselves in that regard.
Happiness can be found in more things than one.
Remind yourself of that often. While there may be a handful of things that give us happiness just as they are, there are also the things that we can make enjoyable with a little more presence of mind.
When faced with a task at work, does it make you happier to think of it as an insurmountable obstacle or a neat experience that'll help you become more skilled?
I'm not saying that we should think like this all the time, or even that we will. Life has its own course at times, but it's our right to choose the healthy things that help us aligned with the energy already inside of us.
Self-healing during rough phases will give us that strength and understanding to choose happiness.
Whether that's practically changing circumstances to align more with your beliefs, making the decision to find happiness in more of the things you already do, or creating more instances of the things that give you pure joy — know makes you happy and do it.
They are all ways by which each of us can design and adjust to a life that brings us comfort and joy to make us feel alive.
Going along with life rather than going against it can hold a lot of power — unlock it.
"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me."
― Rainer Maria Rilke