You are not your thoughts, emotions or your perception. You are the silent still space behind.
Most people consciously cannot jump to the conclusion that they are the still space behind. But within suffering you are able to most effectively find this place. Pain is an opening for awareness. Everybody has the capability to find this place, either from pain or happiness. Sometimes intense emotions make it more obvious, but regardless it is still there.
It's not needed that you go searching, but rather embrace the stillness. Meditation is best for this. But meditation may not be wholly adequate. Being able to tap into the still silent place behind your thoughts, emotions and form creates a space. A gracious space where you are beyond form but still grounded in the now. This brings about greater awareness because you no longer are connected with your immediate thoughts but the observer behind the thoughts, and as a result you are no longer attached to the highs and lows of physical reality.
The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but our thoughts about the situation. Happiness comes from when our identity is fulfilled in the external world to match the internal expectations that we have created in our inner world of our thoughts.
Situations really are meaningless, neutral and story free. Nothing has built-in inherent meaning.
Everything is a matter of perception. Everything.
Reality is fundamentally neutral, it is then determined on the individual in what they do with the situation eg. the meaning that they assign. The problem with our society is that we don't need to think much about anything anymore because we are programmed in a direct way to think certain thoughts and associate emotions with certain images. We categorize even 'success' into a certain category.
An example of this, is the belief most of us have around being successful. Most people would agree that in order to be successful you must be rich. The reality is, success is dependent for each person, and what one person perceives as happiness and in turn success should never be the same for the other. However most of us have lost ourselves so much so that the programming has essentially taken over.
The problem is not in achieving success or even wanting success. But the problem is the identity that we have created surrounded what we feel 'so called success is'. The reality is success can never be defined in the form of an outcome or situation, but it is in fact an inherent feeling that arises not from the identity within the external world but rather from the still space of comfortable peace and knowingness that we hold in the present moment.
It is presence, purpose and pure potentiality with ourselves and the universe.
However overlooked and unentertaining this may sound. The reality is that most people do achieve the level of success that they desire however only to move on to the next goal immediately. The more, better, best paradigm is old, and serves no-one. The reality is, you do not need to continually set and achieve goals to be happy.
Happiness can and should be found here and now, once you are within that comfortable space, you should move forward not based on goals and expectations but based on your feelings, in particular how you feel in each individual moment. Within this space you will be able to tap into a deeper connection, a part of all that is. Without judgment or condemnation. It is the silent space of the observer behind form that gives us an eternal and unwavering happiness. One, that so few words can accurately describe.
Today, give yourself a break, slow down, breathe and don't strive for your goals, nor for the happiness from their attainment, strive for nothing nobler than a settled mind in the present moment.