Peace, Love, and Happiness sound like some kind of hippy values, and I did develop these values in the hippy/”freak” days of my youth. But they are also made up important Emotional Intelligence skills that are necessary to achieve success.

In previous blogs I wrote about the Emotional Intelligence skills that compose Peace and Love. Happiness, all by itself, is an Emotional Intelligence skill as defined by Dr. Reuven Bar-On. Happiness is the ability to find contentment in your life, enjoy yourself and others, and to have fun.

By valuing Happiness, we are able to change our emotional mood. We let go of unnecessary thoughts and we’re able to enjoy the present moment. When we’re happy we are at ease, relaxed, and able to have fun.

Happiness is much different than pleasure. Happiness is long-lasting while pleasure is short-lived. Happiness is generated from within you; pleasure comes from the outside. With pleasure you are never really content, it’s like a drug where you’re always looking for the next fix. Happiness by its very definition is contentment.

The Emotional Intelligence skills of Self-Regard and Self-Actualization are important complementary skills to Happiness. Self-Regard is accepting yourself for who you are, respecting yourself, and being confident in who you are. You are not egotistic, but confident and comfortable being yourself.

Self-Actualization means that you are doing what you want to do. It may not be you idea situation, but you have accepted it as necessary for the time being. Ideally you want to be doing what you really want to do, what you’re passionate about. You want to follow your bliss. But we can’t always have our way; in the meantime we are at a peace with our current situation and our current efforts.

Interpersonal Relationships is another corresponding Emotional Intelligence skill. As humans we are social animals. People who are surrounded by friends and family are the happiness and live the longest.

It can be hard to achieve and maintain happiness in our present world. There are lots of problems in the world such as wars, hunger, poverty, and climate change. Even if we forget about the larger world, we have to deal with negative, rude, and insensitive people in our daily lives. It’s hard to pick yourself up when others are tearing you down. My wife uses the analogy of crabs in a bucket; when one tries to climb out of the bucket, the others will pull it down.

The Emotional Intelligence skill of Optimism gives us the hope that things will get better. If we can’t see good in our current situations, we can have faith that things will get better (don’t they always?). Forget the past and look towards your dreams.

Happiness takes work, as do all things that you value. Use the ball of energy technique to attract the energy of Happiness into your life: Imagine a ball of energy in the palm of your hand (my Happiness energy ball is colored orange). While looking at the ball of energy, feel the energy of Happiness inside yourself.

When I was about five years old, my grandmother came from Ohio to live with us in California for a while. The next time I saw my grandmother was several years later when I was a teenager. When she first saw me she said, “You used to be such a happy boy, what happened?” What happened was life (maybe teenage hormones also played a role). Life knocks us down and then kicks us when we are down. Life is hard.

But if we forgive and forget, we can find moments when we can find happiness within ourselves. There are many instances in our lives when there are no threats to our physical being or ego. In these times we can connect with the energy of Happiness. By continually connecting with this energy, it becomes easier to hook up with Happiness the next time. “Practice makes perfect!”

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