- Quality of Life & Wellness
Creating Your Breakthroughs
Happiness Mythbuster 1 : Love Yourself & Celebrate Your Life!
“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I've been told
where I must go and who I must be.
I've been shrunk, stretched, scratched, and stuffed into a teapot.
I've been accused of being Alice and of not being Alice but this is my dream.
I’ll decide where it goes from here.”
- Alice Kingsleigh, Alice in Wonderland
It is totally bizarre to define one’s happiness through the limiting perspectives of other people. In the same manner that most people allow others (parents, elder relatives, friends, professors, colleagues, superiors, even magazines, trending status quos or even what social networks imply) to define them unconsciously, so do are their happiness. It is but a tragedy to have lived a life only to realize that you have toppled yourself at the bottom of your priority list, not digging what’s best that can fulfil you but instead hovering to the dreams others set for you. Nonetheless, more and more people are oblivious to acknowledge that fact. Perhaps, this thinking is rooted to our “democratic mentality” or better known as “the people’s choice”. A thinking by which you mistakenly recognize that what has been viewed by the majority as the right thing to do, singles out the best decision you have to discern at the moment – even if it does not apply to your situation.
The statement, “I am happy as long as the people I love are happy” poses a double-edged sword message. It can be analyzed as a statement of arrogance. Does that mean that without you, people you love cannot be happy? It is like saying that the sun cannot shine again for the next day without you. In this premise, you are implying that you are the sole if not, the major source of everybody’s happiness. Illogical, isn’t it? It can also be seen as a statement of altruism – or false altruism. According to Wikipedia, altruism is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. Thus, it conveys that one needs to sacrifice something for someone while paying no attention to one’s self or needs. If you are in a special vocation by which helping other people and neglecting one’s needs fulfils you like those in the religious order, then by all means, I would support and salute you for aspiring such yearning. I am not promoting apathy here to the less fortunate. On the contrary, I’d like you to understand that digging what fulfils you as an individual empowers you to give more and serve more people. Therefore, your SELF matters to be on top of your list.
In as much as I want to be a positivist, I’d like to be firmly grounded with reality. People can be disillusioned at times because of their expectations and would find themselves wobbling at the first sight of a difficulty. Consequently, they find themselves in the vicious cycle of rebelling against the people whom they thought are deliberately hindering them to be happy and perceiving themselves unworthy to be happy. At the extreme, they may even blame God for putting them into such circumstance. Again, it was their choice after all. We need to dislodge the sugar-coated fantasies and start seeing everything more clearly and reasonably. As much as happiness is a choice, it is not a tool to distort a reality just to feel momentarily good. It is not even a trigger that would move you to another direction so you won’t have to confront the pain of your crises. I have adored a lot of people with great humor but I hope humor does not just make a person happy for that time-being nor just permits the person to endure what is in his plight. I hope humor can also fire up someone into ACTION and address what needs to be. I have seen a lot of people tangled in a day-to-day dilemma and I know you do, too. I have witnessed a son trying to realize a dream of his frustrated father even if it is not his own, or a professional who decelerates his creativity to emulate the management style of his boss that though it would make his work plain, at least it is acceptable. The stories of a student who foregoes his dream just to favor the dream set by the person who sent him to school. The life experiences of many promising employees who struggle to stay in a downsizing company, stagnated to make any attempts to move forward or look for greener pastures just because of his debt of gratitude to the owners. Yes, and the list goes on and on from here.
I have here some tips that can guide you and allow you to muster back your strength to break out from that fear that had long subdued you.
1. Know what makes you happy. – You need to discern which path fulfils you more. What do you enjoy doing? What makes you feel more accomplished, more alive, more vibrant? Then, why don’t you go for it? Happiness is not about accepting every sprawling opportunity that life has to offer but rather, it is about selectively deciding which ones are best for you and that serve your purpose.
2. Refrain from living up to the labels that people place you. – When you already know what makes you happy, what anchors you NOT to act on it are the labels that other people refer you to be. I heard somebody said, “I know what makes me happy but people say that I am … and I am incapable of achieving my dream.” If there would be one person who knows you best, that is definitely YOU. Dr. Phil McGraw said it that labels are always backward-looking because they are fixated with your past. Suffice it to say, they are limiting impressions from people who do not know you well. They can also be accusatory messages because these impressions came from partial interactions and biases from these people. Can you recall somebody who put labels on you? What are the labels that they place on you? How long have these self-ordained thoughts sabotaged your growth and chances for greater possibilities? Let go of these and start living your dream.
3. Be at peace with yourself. – It is true when Bo Sanchez declared in a thousand crowd at PICC that your past does not define your future. You are not even defined by your follies nor your mistakes. People tend to be ruthless when they try to measure a person by his past not what he has become at present. However, you cannot control them – but you can control yourself and rise above these prejudices. Learn to forgive yourself for your past failings. Do not let these trample your spirit to move forward. The happiest people I know are those who are not afraid to commit mistakes nor take his frailties seriously. They enjoy every refreshing opportune time in learning new things.
4. Learn to assert yourself. - In as much as we want something for ourselves, we do not want to lose valuable relationships who will be affected by the changes we want to set for ourselves. Talk these plans out to them so they can fully understand you. If they cannot understand what you wanted, at least they can just respect you for your decisions.
5. ACT on your dream NOW. – Deciding what to do is only half of the journey, but ACTING on it culminates it. Life is too short to act on somebody else’s dream.
I fervently believe that God masterfully orchestrated every fiber of our being and every most sought saga of our lives in order to fulfil His purpose in us. He wants to hear you say, “I am happy because I respect myself by knowing and pursuing what I want and what makes me whole”. While the whole picturesque world of your Wonderland – or Underland tries you to become boringly homogenous like any other beings, I hope you would be able to gather enough courage to vanquish your own dreadful art of mimicry and rise up as you ought to be. There would be many Red Queens in your journey who would try to assault your spirit by her anger or that – the Knaves of Heart and his army would make you feel foolishly and insanely deviant for thinking differently. The supportive squadron of your own Mad Hatters, White Queens, Bayards and the like will always decide to stay by your side because they truly love you. And, just like Alice who always believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast, YOU CAN slay your jabberwocky!