happiness does not just happens...
it won't fall on you...
it won't come from material possessions...
it won't come from the exterior... but rather from the interior...
it will take effort and discipline!
that is REAL happiness... deep down global happiness...
I strongly believe that to be happy requires work. At least, this is what I have seen in my life.... the happiest days were not the one I spent doing random, meaningless things... The long lasting memories of "happy times" usually involves some hardship at one point or another.
Of course small pleasures can bring short happiness moments... but they will fade away eventually... with the pleasure.... for example, shopping or going to see a play are finite in time and although pleasurable for the few hours they may last, they hardly, if ever, bring long term happiness! I am not saying we should not experience these small pleasures... after all we're on this planet to enjoy what it has to offer us... however, enjoyment comes with moderation! Like everything else!
In order to be happy on the long run, I'd rather base myself on those 4 personal rules I have. Over time, they are responsible for the lasting moment of happiness I experience.
1) Be true to myself
People will not always agree or even respect my choices... or actions! Some will not respect the way I live my life, the way I eat, the way I dress... Same goes for my philosophy, rules I give myself... or even for stuff I try and challenges I give myself... but that's OK! I cannot please every one.... and I should not even try!
In order to be happy, I have to makes choices... I have to make sacrifices... but the one I want to make!
I have to stay true to MYSELF and myself only... I have to respect myself! This is the hardest part... we are raised to be nice, to be loved, to be accepted... but not everyone will and not everyone should and it should not change the love I have for myself and the respect I have for myself.
My reaction to other's disrespect and criticism is the key to my happiness!
It's a choice.
Just choose ME instead of them. In the long run I'll meet the right people who will love and respect me for who I am and THEN magic will happen. However, if I seek every one's love and respect, I end up loosing respect and love from the one that should matters more to me: MYSELF!
2) Take responsibility for my life
Freud said: "Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are afraid of responsibility."
I don't believe that I could be happy without being free. Or as free as can be. One can debate on the accessibility of freedom... and how possible is it to be free but that is not a debate a wish to address here.
The more I take responsibility for my life. The more I make choices, take decisions and makes sacrifices, the more free I feel and the happier I become. That is as long as I do all this according to rule 1) be true to myself.
Responsibility is scary. It means assuming when I make mistakes. I means making choices - choosing something always imply not choosing something else: that is not always easy. Responsibility means not blaming anyone for anything that ever happened to me or ever will happen to me. I make my decisions/choices therefore I am responsible for what happens in my life. No one else is. This is scary! This is difficult! But also so rewarding! Assuming what goes wrong is painful but responsibility also mean assuming what goes right - and that is awesome. That is where happiness lies.
3) Be curious.
Another rule of mine is to never stop searching... never stop learning... never believing what just anyone says... If I stop being curious, I stop looking, I get comfortable and then I would no longer live but merely exist.
There is so much to learn, so much to discover and so much to try! Why just get comfortable? Once I get into a comfort zone, getting out of it is threatening... therefore the key is to never let myself get comfortable! Also be on the look out for challenges... challenging ideas... challenging people. Experience stuff.. learn and move on! Once I'll stop moving on, I'll start dying! Dying is not happiness! I've been there... and I was not happy!
I am not saying that you should go out now and try everything there is to try on this planet! That would be insane... but be curious on your own term... be curious according to rule 1) be true to yourself.
Not everyone can benefit from bungee jumping! Some will, some wont... but don't just do it for the sake of doing it! It has to be meaningful to you to bring happiness. What I am really saying is be curious about what you are passionate about... and maybe once in a while look into something new! Who knows? You might find a new passion.... but all this in respect to your true self and by taking responsibility for your actions - no blaming anyone... and no trying something because everyone else does it.
4) Have meaningful dreams and goals.
Following to the previous rules will help me find my own dreams and goals. It may seem easy to go along with other people's dream but it does not mean I would be true to myself by doing so. It does not mean that I would respect myself. It took me years but I finally got them! I use to follow the "normal" dreams... the so called American dream... and it was not for me. It made me sick... it made me miserable... but I had to acknowledge it... I had to realise it was not for me (not sure it is for anyone anyway - except perhaps big corporations who sell you those dreams).... had to learn to respect myself and assume that I could not live like that. That is not easy - mainstream is so much easier to follow! However, if I wanted to be happy I had to stop following mainstream.
I did so by working on myself a lot... doing yoga and meditation. Going to therapy. "Remembering who I was before they told me who I should be". Then, and only then, was I able to identify my dreams and my goals - and that was the easiest part! Putting everything in place to live them is another huge step! One can have dreams and never live them! I do not want to be that person.
As I put stuff in place to live my dreams and reach my goal, I have becoming happier.
These are my rules to happiness. Do you have any of you own that you'd care to share?
One last thing: now don't be fooled... being happy does not mean always smiling.... there is sadness... and pain... and it takes effort and discipline - but as anything else that is worth it, you can't get it without proper efforts!
Being happy is an overall state... kind of like you can be overall healthy and catch a cold... you can be happy and have a sad moment... However, you have more "happy" moments then "sad"moments... and this is when you know you're globally happy!
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