If you’ve read any of my blog posts before you’ll know that I am a self made happiness millionaire. Life wasn’t always like this. Only a few short years ago I didn’t really like myself, I wasn’t happy in my situation, and it was all too painfully obvious to the people around me who cared.
I like to think back to those times to remind myself just how far I’ve come in such a relatively short period of time. I also like to think about what sort of person I would be today if my life hadn’t changed so drastically. It makes me shudder, but all the more pleased to be exactly where I am right now.
Anybody else beginning this path to happiness needs to know it wasn’t easy. Along the way I had to face up to some pretty harsh yet pretty basic basic truths about life. A very wise lady I know told me “You don’t have to be happy all of the time” which certainly rings true.
You’re not entitled to anything.
This counts for happiness, for love, for affection, for money, for food. You are not entitled to it. Just because you are walking this planet doesn’t mean you are entitled to it’s resources. You are not just a taking machine, you have to give something back, that’s the only way. You cannot expect someone to expend all their love on you without giving some love back. You also cannot expect money to be given to you, you have to work for it.
This is probably the biggest realization I faced during my darkest times. It is humbling, and inspiring. There is so much more going on in the world aside from your issues and needs. Take solace in this fact. Give something back.
People are not mind-readers.
Another huge realization for me. I used to have the tendency to be passive aggressive, assume that everyone should know what was wrong with me, and get upset with them when they didn’t fulfill my needs as I thought they should. That’s because I never told them what my needs were! This is so important across any relationship you have, whether with a partner, a friend, a family member, even work colleagues. Remember that they don’t know what is going on in your head, and vocalize your concerns.
This doesn’t mean fly off the handle. This means calmly explain what you need. Even if it just to have someone acknowledge your feelings. If you explain this to them you are more likely to get the outcome which is best for both parties, and be happier all round.
Pain is relative.
How many times have you complained about something, only to be told there are starving children in Africa who have it so much worse? I think this may be a British thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are starving children in Africa and my heart breaks thinking about it, but it isn’t fair to dismiss someone else’s pain just because another person’s is greater.
For some people big life events like death are easy to handle, for other’s they may not be able to cope with even the slightest disruption in their normal life. Dismissing someone’s pain is an awful thing to do, and it is awful to have it done to you. It doesn’t matter what their pain is, you should listen to them. And when it’s your turn they will be more likely to lend a shoulder to cry on.
Negativity is more contagious than any disease.
This one was a tough pill to swallow. I was a constant spewer of negative vibes. Work was rubbish, my friends didn’t care enough, wah wah wah. What I didn’t realize was that I was making the people around me unhappy too. They would begin to think about the negative things in their life, and I would bring the atmosphere down. This is probably why my friends didn’t always want to be around me.
But this is an easy one to take hold of. Instead of complaining I made myself look at the positives in every situation. This was effort at first but second nature now. My colleagues at work have better days, my friends are happy in my company, life seems a little brighter. All of that just from one person trying to see the positive in everything.
Only YOU are responsible for YOUR happiness.
You can choose to be happy or to not be happy. Its pretty simple. You also shouldn’t rely on happiness coming from somebody else within your life, especially a partner. This is codependency and no one comes out of a relationship like that feeling pretty great. You need to make conscious actions within your own life to improve your own happiness. Indulge in a new hobby. Make time for yourself every day. Do the things that you like to do.
On the flip side this also means you are not responsible for anybody else’s happiness. If there is a choice between their happiness and yours you must weigh up all options, outcomes and responsibilities. For example, you and a friend are both romantically interested in the same person. The person is only romantically interested in one of you. Its a tough situation but one that is all too easy to find yourself in. This is the kind of situation where weighing up your happiness and somebody else’s can be tough, but you can do it.
These are just some of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way.
Life is big and beautiful, but challenging. It can sometimes seem like you are being tested, but you need to remember you’re not alone in this desire for happiness. This is the number 1 thing most people want, and by putting out the right message yourself you’ll find the response you get back is more aligned to you. Stay strong people, it does get easier.