LEARN HOW TO BE HAPPY
The Golden Rule: Do not expect NOTHING from anyone!
For some reason, as we get older we start overlooking those little details which gave us happiness once, and we just live worrying about the “big picture”, waiting for happiness to knock at our door and surprise us. The problem is that sometimes, happiness never shows up .
But what is happiness anyway? According to psychology: “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions coming from contentment and joy”. Then, why some of us spend our entire life waiting for happiness to arrive to our life instead?
I remember years ago, when I was a college student, I went with a group of students to South America. The purpose of the trip, was to study the way people deal with stress, in different cultures. We visited several areas, including the ones where poverty was extreme.
People here were living in little houses build with cardboard, wood, and some kind of stiffed palms mixed with mud. The mix was strong enough for the walls to stand straight and solid, so entire families could live within the home. The floors were just dirt, and it was amazing to see, how the “esteros” roof didn't blow away with the wind.
Some kids were eating out of a garbage can, and the flies were everywhere. You could see stray dogs walking like zombies among the population. It didn't smell too good either, because the river close by, was the only source of water for these people, to wash dishes, clothes, and it was also used as rest room.
We were invited by a woman to her house, in order to do a survey for our study. Her house was exactly like the others from the outside, however she had managed to make the interior look different. There was some furniture she had picked up from other people's garbage, and even a pretty flower in a pot, sitting in the middle of a plastic dining table. She even treated us with some kind of native food, she had just fixed for her family dinner.
However, what got my attention was this woman attitude, always smiling always positive. She was happy! I was 20 years old when this happened, and even now, every time I complain about my luck, she comes to my mind, as a reminder that happiness is not really having “everything”.
IF YOU WAIT FOR HAPPINESS IT WILL NEVER COME
Through the years, I must have heard that statement thousands of times: “I just want to be happy”. The question is what impedes you to be happy? I know people that has it all, and I mean “all”: good looks, money, a nice family, a good job, you name it! However, they are not happy, they are miserable! They live waiting for that big event which will make them "happy", something like the "happy ending" in the movies. The worst part is that they are so worried waiting for happiness, that they don't realize that they are already happy, all that all they have to do, is releasing it from within themselves.
In other words we are all born with the ability to be happy, we just don't know how to be happy. I always believed, for example, that happiness would come into my life from special situations, or from other people's actions. I lived most of the time waiting for that happy moment to come into my life, instead these expectations lead me to disappointment. Maybe because happiness is not receiving but giving. And although this might sound more like a statement taken from some religious book, it is nothing but the truth.
Doing good things for other people, brings a special satisfaction to ourselves, even if we are never thanked for it, or our actions appreciated. Just the fact of giving to others, is more than enough to make us happy.
This has a very logical explanation. Making other people happy, gives us some kind of power feeling, a positive reaction triggered by our own actions. In other words, we don't need anything else to make someone happy, but our own willing to do it. We don't have to ask for permission from anybody, it just takes our good faith. When we make someone happy, the gratification is priceless, even if we are just able to make someone smile.
START BEING HAPPY TODAY
If you are waiting for something really amazing to make you happy, or if you think that happiness is just enjoying material things, then you are destined to have the same reaction you get, when you consume a lot of caffeine to get some energy. You will feel the energy brewing in your veins for a few hours, only to feel even more tired, when the effect is gone.
The first thing to remember is that happiness is not something we achieve during life, but an ability we are all born with. Dogged in our mind, happiness is always present, we just bury it under the everyday stress and worries. We don't “learn” how to be happy, we just have to know how to be happy. It comes from within, not from the outside. No book can teach how to be happy, if you really don't know what happiness is. You don't need anything to be happy, except your wish to be happy.
Everyone has a different way to be happy, there are not two persons in this world whose reason to be happy is the same, even if they are in the same situation. For example, you can make your love one happy by going to a football game with him, and not necessarily like it. What makes you happy is him being happy, because you went with him to the game.
Another example, you and your spouse love to watch the sunset together, however your happiness is different: he is happy because happy memories come to his mind, while you are happy just being there holding hands with him, after 15 years of marriage.
Happiness is as personal as a toothbrush, you are happy in your own way, therefore you don't need anyone to be happy. You are the essence of happiness, everything and everybody else just “contributes” to your happiness.
TECHNIQUES TO DEVELOP HAPPINESS
The first thing you need is to learn to step away once in a while to find yourself again. We all “need a moment” to leave behind the everyday stress and problems, and reencounter your inner you. Once you have been able to find a quiet moment, take off your “costume” in life, you are not the professional, the wife, the citizen, the taxpayer, or anything like that anymore, you are just YOU. Like babies do when they are learning to recognize themselves, observing his little toes and hands as a part of their bodies, you need to learn to recognize yourself again. Meditation is nothing but “time for yourself”.
Of course, there are other factors to take in consideration, like a terminal illness, money and family problems, the death of a love one, a divorce, etc. However, in order to be happy we need to move on. Unfortunately, life is not going to stop just because we have a lack or someone, or something.
Happiness is found in the everyday things, and it does not last forever. There is no such a thing like “forever happy”. It is more like electric shocks, here and there, to keep us going. It is about enjoying every single second of that happiness whenever it occurs, so we will be stronger during the sad times of our life.
Life is a vortex, and never remains the same, it is continuously changing for good and for bad. So how can we be happy if there is no situation which last long enough to let happiness settle down? The answer is don't wait until the happy moment is gone, thinking that something even better is about to happen, just enjoy it while it is there, like if there is no tomorrow.
NO RULES TO BE HAPPY
I read a book the other day about “how to be happy” like if happiness is something you can build up. Happiness is within all of us, and you can learn how to liberate your happiness, but not how to “build” it. Happiness is spontaneous, and the main thing is to recognize when you are happy, to enjoy it while it lasts, saving those happy moments as memories. If we take conscience of those happy times, we would be able to enjoy them as they come. Waiting a lifetime for happiness, only means that happiness passed you by many times, while you were too busy looking forward waiting for something really great to happen to make you happy. Take all this in consideration:
-Appreciate what you already have, it might seem like nothing to other people, but you might want to wonder on how your life would be without it. Besides, life changes all the time, and you might not have that same situation tomorrow . People in your life, the place where you live, you job, the way you look, everything changes!
-Learn to love yourself, remembering that no one is perfect! Be condescending with your defects, and proud of your virtues. You are unique in this world, this is more than enough to make you feel special.
-Achieving short term, realistic goals, is a very effective way to self-induced happiness. Study something, remodel your house, eating healthy and exercising to improve your health, volunteering or doing charity, trying to correct old habits, or trying to be more patient. Anything that makes you feel better with yourself, will bring you happiness.
-Make a list of the situations or people, that make you feel miserable. Remember, you have the complete control to eliminate everything that makes you feel bad in your life, or at least to control the effect this makes on you.
-Cultivate positive things in your life: friends, things you like to do, helping others, etc. Surround yourself with beauty whenever you can, flowers, kindness, peaceful moments, reading a good book or watching a comedy. Smile even when you are having a bad day, look at yourself in the mirror and think: "It will be all right".
-Enjoy every single second which makes you happy while it lasts, even if it is as brief as a bird singing. Little things are what makes you happy in life.
- Remember this and make it you CREDO: If you expect from other what you give to them, you will never be happy! People is not what you want them to be and it is ..what it is. Even from the people you love the most, despite all the good thing you ever did to help them, is more than likely that you won't receive the same kindness and dedication. When you do soemthing for others, do it to make your own self happy, and NEVER expect ANYTHING from ANYONE, that is the secret for HAPPINESS.
The ability of being happy is already inside of you, don't be afraid to use it. There is no situation or person which can keep you from being happy, it is up to you to unleash it. Just remember, that if you wait too long to do it, you might just forget how to be simply, plainly and honestly...HAPPY!