Real happiness is just like real love. Unconditional.
When we really, truly love others, we do so without conditions. We don't tell those we love, "I will love you if/when..." We just love them no matter what. That is real love. No matter what they do, what they say, how they treat us, we love them. We forgive them for things they might say or do that hurt us, but we love them regardless. That is real love.
Happiness is the same way. If you are truly happy, you are happy no matter what. There are no conditions. You don't say "I'll be happy if/when...". You are just happy. That is true happiness.
We are urged to love others as we love ourselves. But how exactly are we "loving others as we love ourselves" if we do not love ourselves?
One of life's biggest challenges is loving ourselves. While it can be so easy to love others (like our parents, children, relatives, close friends, etc.) we put ourselves last on the list of those we love, if we are even on this list at all.
How do we express loving ourselves? By being happy. When we love ourselves, we are happy.
We know that we cannot make others happy, just as others cannot make us happy. It's an inside job. So although true happiness is like true love in that it is unconditional, when it comes to loving ourselves, we all too often judge ourselves negatively and undermine this love by placing conditions on it. Sometimes we don't think we are even deserving of it. This is why we treat ourselves so badly, dwelling on all our flaws and faults, which actually manifests in mental and physical health problems. If we truly loved ourselves we wouldn't make such poor choices with our lives (our diets, relationships, addictions, etc.). We treat others better than we treat our own self. If we wish to love others, first we need to love ourselves and be the best version of ourselves, and then see this in others.
So here is my challenge to you...Love yourself.
I dare you to be happy. No matter what.