The past few weeks have given me a lot of perspective. Nothing was different, nor did anything momentous happen. I didn’t shed many tears, yet I had moments that made me smile just because. I should read books more, I should not sweat the small stuff, and I should go to bed with another episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S under my belt.
So I tried to get to the bottom of why something has changed. It’s realising that genuine happiness is the key to tackling life as we know it. You take those moments where ever you go in life and you remember so clearly how it made you feel. What if you could have that every day?
So I’ve tried to get to the bottom of it.
It’s about focussing on what matters most and getting perspective on the fact that if you left this world today, would you have done anything different? Not focussing on what others think and not settling for anything less in life than what you know you deserve.
Trying to live a happy life is not about denying your negative emotions or pretending to feel a sense of joy all the time. We all encounter adversity and it is completely natural for us to feel anger, sadness, frustration or just simply nothing as a result. To suggest otherwise would be denying a fundamental part of the human condition.
Happiness matters so much to all of us because it is the one thing we want most for the people we love the most.
The first lesson we can learn is that social connections make us and loneliness breaks us. Being more connected to the right family, friends, and community is proven for those of us to be happier and physically healthier compared to those who are less well connected. And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic.
Loneliness is the silent suffocator. We overthink, we become paranoid, we invent scenarios and we second guess where it is we are going.
The second big lesson that we can learn is that it’s not about the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it is the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is bad for your health and your well being. Simply putting up with the unhealthy is detrimentally worse than taking the step to remove yourself for the chance to live in the midst of good, warm, loyal and protective relationships.
Since I can remember, I’ve been fed the message that happiness is thanks to success, and success means doing well in school, going to university, getting a good job, owning a house and having a family. While these milestones are undoubtedly happy achievements, they do not define happiness.
I focus on achieving the little successes for the year. Then looking back in reflection and really appreciating what was achieved with an abundance of happy emotions. Until recently however, I learned that the little successes can come in just one day after the other, and letting go and learning from the failures in between makes the ride worthwhile.
I allow myself to feel proud of these successes because I deserve them and not to feel torn or worried about what it is I should be feeling or whether others agree. So now I remember what is important to me, writing down values, reflecting on a day and concentrating on living an existence following those values.
Life is not about finding happiness, it is about realising it.
Sometimes it can be staring us right in the face and in order to reach this we just need to simply come down to earth and become present with where we are at this very moment.
If you are not happy, you are not broken. It’s normal to go through times of unhappiness and pain. After all, how could we know what happiness is without unhappiness?
For so many who don’t know, happiness is just around the corner, and it isn’t at the same time because overall happiness in life is not measured by wealth or university degrees or grades. It is a mindset that perseveres through your life in all its ups and downs.
If nothing is all you have, then nothing is the cost of a smile.
Do not spend time with people you don’t like, doing things you don’t want to do. Too much of our lives are built up around anxting about what other people think, doing things for all the wrong reasons and then second guessing ourselves. If there is one piece of cliche advice that we can pass on, it is to not sweat the small stuff because life is too short. We are constantly learning every day and opening our eyes to the amazing possibilities and opportunities at finding a piece of true happiness.
Be your own person, and if you can embrace this concept you will be amazed at how great life really is.
“Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”