Too many of us say we are happy, but really – we are anything but. So what is happiness? Is it buying that new car or those really cute shoes? Is it spending time with your loved ones or spending time alone? Is it something deeper? Happiness means something different to everyone. But what is happiness?
Happiness is staying positive and loving yourself for who you are. We live in a world where everything is photoshopped and airbrushed to perfection, but let’s face it… no one is perfect. We live up to these standards of perfection and hate our bodies for not being flawless. We buy into the hype of having the best of all these material items (house, car, clothes, etc) but even the richest people in the world are not truly happy.
Some people say you cannot make happiness a life goal. I say they are dead wrong. Happiness is not only a goal in this day and age, it is a necessary goal. Without it, we dwindle into despair.
I’d had many hardships in my life. I’ve suffered from mental illness. I’ve been in that deep, dark hole that is depression. I’ve had my share of loss and heart ache. I’ve looked in the mirror and hated the person staring back at me. I’ve dwindled into despair.
But that was a lifetime ago.
Happiness truly begins when you accept that you have flaws, that you’re not perfect nor will you ever be perfect. Perfection is an idea… one that does not exist. Nothing in this world is truly perfect. Happiness begins when you stop worrying about what everyone thinks of you and start focusing on how you feel about yourself because no one’s opinion is more important than your own.
“Accept the things you cannot change, and change the things you cannot accept”
My favorite quote. It speaks volumes. There are certain things in this world that you cannot change and therefore must accept. If you cannot accept them, you will never be happy. Change the things that you cannot accept. A perfect example is; if you, (like me), once upon a time weighed 120 lbs and then had children and are now a whopping 200lbs! This is something you cannot accept. Change it. Don’t give yourself any excuses. Don’t lie to yourself about anything. Just get off your ass and change the things you cannot accept.
Changing things on the outside can and will bring happiness to a certain extent. But whats most important is what’s on the inside. People scoff at the idea of having inner peace, but let me tell you something. It couldn’t be truer. Having inner peace is the core of true happiness.
First, forgive everyone for all wrongdoings. No matter how hard it is or how angry you may be. Forgive them. Next, forgive yourself for all your own wrong doings. Fess up to yourself and forgive yourself. This took me years to do, I won’t lie. It doesn’t happen over night, but once you have been able to truly forgive yourself and others it’s like a huge weight is lifted off you, and it feels amazing!
Next up is letting go of the past. The past is the past for a reason. It’s gone, it’s over with and it’s something you cannot change. Accept it and forget it. Move on. Holding onto the past will only weigh you down and slow your progress to a bright and happy future.
After you have learned to forgive yourself and others and have let go of yesterday… then you want to keep negativity at bay. Negative situations and people have such a negative effect on us whether we choose to believe it or not. Everything in this world (including ourselves) is made up of energy. We can manipulate our energy into something negative or positive and the ripple effect does exist. Notice how laughing is contagious? The same is true for negativity. Have you ever had to spend time with someone who is a real negative-nancy? By the time you leave them you may notice that your unhappy or that you too have become some degree of a negative-nancy.
If you’re in a bad relationship, end it. If you have a negative boss, find another job. If you think negatively about yourself, stop it. Negativity is a really nasty son of a bitch and it will drag you down to the depths of hell if you let it.
Stay positive. Even when times get tough and things are looking bleak… stay positive. Be thankful for life. Be thankful you have a roof over your head. Be thankful for having food in your stomach. Be thankful for having a job (if you have one). Be thankful for the little things, because it is the little things that matter.
Staying positive is something else that took me years to accomplish. Again, this will not happen over night. I started with a sign I made that I put on my bathroom door. On it was written in big letters “SMILE!” and then all around that were positive affirmations… “You are beautiful”, “You are smart”, “You are funny”, “You have a kind heart”…. you get the idea. Every time I would go to the bathroom I would read this sign to myself. After so long, I started to believe what I was reading. I started to love myself again.
Focus less on the material things in life. This is a major one. We are conditioned to want more, bigger, better… buy, buy, buy, spend, spend, spend! But is it really necessary? No, because these things will break, they will end up gone, they will not last forever. They may give you temporary happiness but they will not make you feel whole. Every time you buy something to “make them like you” or because you think it will make you “cool”… you’re buying into an idea that is lining the pockets of some corporation while they laugh their way to the bank. Marketing and advertising at it’s best. You don’t NEED these things. I’m not saying don’t buy anything … that would be silly, but buy the things that have meaning to you. Buy the necessities and forget about the rest.
Less is more. I don’t have a lot of stuff. I love who I am and I even love my flaws. They make me who I am and I am proud to be me. I am unique and I am like no one else in this world of 7+ billion people. That, to me, is something to be happy about.
Lastly, be yourself and know your worth! Don’t be shy to stand alone. Be a wolf in this world of sheep and stand apart. I am a major introvert and I don’t have many friends. I prefer it that way. For me, it makes life easier and I am still a very happy person, happier than most. I also don’t worry about who will like me and who won’t. You can’t force someone to like you and you should NEVER change who you are or degrade yourself in order to be liked. Always be yourself and if they don’t like you for who you are… it’s no skin off your teeth. Know your worth and know that is it their loss because you are an amazing person with many wonderful qualities and only those deemed worthy will naturally gravitate to you.
I’m not saying my life is easy… it’s not. I have many real life troubles, just like you. But one thing is for sure. I am as happy as I’ve ever been and I got there with these baby steps…. and you can too!