How to be Happy - A More Forgiving Approach
This is hopefully a less cliché look at the pursuit of happiness. Many people want to know how to be happy and live a full life of contentment. Religions are built around the concept and entire industries of self help tactics suggest methods. Yet in spite of all the resources available on this subject, many are still unhappy and struggling to find the light.
Have you ever had someone simply tell you to “be happy”? It is an annoying statement which suggests that 1. You are not currently happy and 2. It’s so easy.
The Myth of Constant Happiness
The truth is being happy ALL THE TIME is a myth. This is not possible and in fact it isn’t healthy. If you are constantly in a state of seeking happiness then you are simply negating the effort by manifesting your unhappiness. By asking yourself how to be happy you are saying you are not and therefore recreating this as fact within.
I know it sounds ridiculous but not any crazier than when someone just tells you to “be happy”. As if you have a magic button which can simply be turned on at any time. Now, this is not suggesting you should walk around and tell yourself to NOT be happy but simply giving reflection to the thoughts we process on a daily basis and how they can be detrimental to our selves.
Stop Making Lists To Torture Yourself!
Ways I Need to Improve - Now
Ways I Need to Improve - Tomorrow
Ways I Need to Improve - Future
EVERY WAY AGAIN
EVERY WAY ALWAYS
EVERY WAY AGAIN
EVERY WAY ALWAYS
EVERY WAY AGAIN
EVERY WAY ALWAYS
Sometimes You Just Need a Dumb, Good Laugh!
Relief for the Unhappy....
The good news is you can learn how to be happy more often than unhappy. Also, in those moments of unhappiness you can grow and claim it as your own sort of personal triumph. Here are a few suggestions for finding happiness:
- When You Feel Unhappy – Embrace it!
In other words, take a moment, sit back and look at what it is causing unhappiness. Is it who you are? Someone else? Perhaps you are simply feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied? Whatever the reason, it is irrelevant in this moment. You are simply looking at it and removing your thoughts on the matter. Sometimes over analyzing yourself only causes more angst. Rather than dwell on your list of miseries, just take them out one by one and see what they look like. Objectify them and determine their qualities. How does your unhappiness at work weigh in with your low self esteem issues for example? Does one weigh heavier on your mind? Hmmmm….now tell yourself “that’s interesting”. You have just learned something about yourself and through this objective glimpse inside you have learned to rationalize happiness. Stop beating yourself up for not being Mr. Peppy or Miss Perfect. You are unique, original and no one can fight your battles for you so you must be pretty tough!
- Assess Individually Rather Than Indefinitely
You know those lists you keep in your head? They are the ones which lay out every flaw, weakness, character trait and misdeed you have ever had or done. These lists grow and grow no matter how many self help books we read or prayers we say and it becomes overwhelming trying to tackle them all. Rather than attempting total transformation into happiness, try taking one thing only you wish to change. This can be either about you or a situation. Now, work on this one thing a day at a time. Don’t set yourself up for failure by giving yourself huge expectations. Give yourself a month to break a habit or make a change. If you don’t notice improvement in a month, well then you can’t move onto anything new, just keep working at it and eventually you will start to notice each day you have tried a little. Get rid of the lists which are created to make you perfect. You don’t need to be perfect! You only need to learn about yourself and grow. Your path is a reflection of that process and you can only work at your own pace to be successful.
- Be Patient With Yourself
It is so easy to become demoralized when our progress doesn’t seem fast enough. Keep in mind, it took a lifetime so far to build you and therefore it will take a lifetime to grow and change. You don’t have to concern yourself with end of life deadlines and bucket list goals. Instead, live in the moment and enjoy each day. Enjoy your battles. Triumph when you succeed at overcoming unhappiness and take a breath when you fall down rather than give up. After all, if you are in agreement that you are striving to understand happiness rather than achieve it you will not feel the pangs of definitiveness in your life. When a miserable thought appears, don’t beat yourself up, simply look at it and say, “Oh that was another one of my mind games”.
- Let Go of What Others May Think
Many times we forego our dreams, ideals, truths and true bliss because of what others may think. If I leave my job (which makes me unhappy) then I won’t be successful and what will others think? In order to realize how to be happy we have to not only stop worrying about it but also stop concerning ourselves with others opinions. Only you know what makes you smile, laugh and feel light inside. No one else can tell you what this answer is or what path you should take. Only you can access your true compatibility with life so therefore letting go of the expectations and notions of others will be a true relief.
- Seek and Replace With Positive
Most unhappiness is simply a feeling of negativity. It may be programmed from childhood or perhaps has been built over time. The important thing to keep in mind is that for every negative thought or habit removed, it must be replaced by a positive one. The battle between positive and negative is the easiest way to remind your soul of true happiness. Of course you cannot force positivity and it must be carefully nurtured and tended just like a garden within. Pretending to be positive will only bring you more sorrow for you know you are simply hiding your true feelings. It’s okay to feel negative things so long as you analyze their roots and pull them out when possible. Remove negative influences whenever you can and when you can’t, simply be a better example. This will take time but it goes a long way in strengthening your foundation for trials and allowing your heart a more lightened approach to life’s tribulations.
- Let Go of Guilt
Unhappiness is often caused by a sense of guilt. Whether we feel like we are failing in our obligations to our family, friends, God or ourselves, guilt is a dominant creator of unhappiness. In order to let go of guilt, you have to be able to accept who you are as a person. Yes, you are flawed. Yes, you have issues. Yes, you have things to work on. Who doesn’t? It’s okay. You are better for it because you realize it and therefore you are one step ahead of the game. Once you begin to let go of the things which weigh heavily on your shoulders, the journey becomes more interesting and less of a burden.
Happiness is a Summer Breeze
In conclusion, if you want to be happy, simply don’t worry yourself sick about it. You are fine. There is nothing wrong with you. You may have had some rough times, a few bumps, perhaps more hurdles than most but hey – you are amazing because you are still around and still trying right? If you don’t wake up every morning singing The Sound of Music or your face doesn’t carry a most precisely planted and perfect smile ALL THE TIME – so what? If you don’t feel sorrow, sadness, anger, resentment and bitterness once in awhile- you won’t recognize happiness when it starts to become a part of your transformed life. Happiness is like a summer breeze. Sometimes the days are hot and unbearbly stuffy yet here and there a gentle wind descends and gives relief which helps you to enjoy yet another day. Without the heat, you wouldn't appreciate the breeze!
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