A close soul that mine is linked to, once said ” I am not happy. Something is wrong with me. I keep being unhappy” . So that got me thinking, back to Oprah and happiness. You know, in that one final speech that she gave on her show. She said that lots of people want to be happy, but not all people believe that they deserve it. And that is the key, happiness is owned. It is not just something that happens to you, but you often work for it, because you believe that is what you deserve.
I guess, this is what I have learned in my close to 36 years of existence. Happiness is not some kind of luck thing that comes to you as if it was a sunny day. For one, life is all kinds of weather, and just like when you need to build a shelter when there is a winter storm, you need the same emotional defenses for those high pressure or detrimental moments that inevitably come in all of our lives. And in that moment, just like those little piggies, it counts what house you build for yourself. But that emotional safe space, that strength of character, does not happen in a day, it is something that all of us work on and often struggle with most of our lives.
So lesson one, it is OK not to be happy. There is this high pressure of being happy in our culture, and if you are not, then all the sudden you need therapy and medication to get your self fixed. But sadness happens, we all have difficult, overwhelming moments. Sometime you have to let yourself be sad. We all need those moments of mourning in order to move on.
And when you are ready, move to lesson number two, even when things seem like the end of the world, they rarely are. How bad your life is, is often in your head. For one, trust me on this one, it can be worse. We all have this power within us to see positive things even in the worst of moments, so look around and fish them out. Count your blessings. Always do. Now, if you are completely incapable of seeing anything good in your life, you may need some therapy.
Lesson three. I guess this one is closely linked with loving yourself. Be kind to yourself. You can’t be a happy person if you resent yourself, if you are ashamed of who you are. So be kind to yourself, especially in the most difficult of moments. If you’ve made a mistake, there is no point of calling yourself an idiot, is there? All of this ” What is wrong with me? Why am I so stupid? How come I can’t get something so simple?”, etc. narration does not solve anything, but quite the opposite, it makes you more tense, it distracts your mind, and if anything you are more prone to do additional idiotic things. You are better off giving your self a break with “well this was stupid, but I’ve learned from it, and I’ll do better despite of it”. Going back to how powerful your mind is and how it shapes your world, that little change in the way you frame your thoughts will make the biggest difference.
Lesson four, which should really be number three- know yourself. You can’t truly love who you are if you don’t know who you are. And another truth is, that the solutions to ones problems are often specific to who they are. I do believe strongly that if one does not know oneself, they would have the hardest time to find their path in life. And if you are lost, if you are pathless, chances are that you won’t be happy.
Lesson number five, something I have touched on, and probably the most valuable lesson. Yet it is the toughest one to crack, when you are in especially difficult moment- “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” . I saw this on Tweeter recently. And it clicked- behold the power of your mind. Never forget that it is the key to your existence. Most of us, who have brushed briefly with philosophy have heard of René Descartes. It is funny how philosophy has become this abstract category, and it has long been forgotten that it stands for the study of life’s meaning. It is Decartes that once said Cogito Ergo Sum- I think, therefore I am. Our minds are what processes and colors our reality in the shades and shapes it takes. Never forget how powerful what you think is, it virtually creates your entire existence. You can’t be happy if you keep your mind occupied with negative thoughts. If nothing is ever enough, if you choose to deal with life’s problems with anger instead of acceptance. If you let your thoughts go into doubt, instead of keeping faith and having hope. You can’t be happy if you don’t believe in yourself. In other words, you can’t ever be happy, if you do not have a positive frame of mind. Always live with a little bit of faith, lots of love, and hope for the better. Nothing gets built in a day, but that is what makes life more beautiful. We always enjoy the things we build breaking a sweat, because they also bring a bigger reward in the end.