It’s the number one most commonly heard phrase: I just want to be happy.
If it’s the goal everyone wants, then why does it seem that nobody is happy? It seems like we’re all searching for the elusive thing that makes us “happy”.
It’s always the promotion, the weight loss goals, or that perfect relationship that will finally make us happy, but if those things don’t materialize the way we want them to, then our happy turns into bitterness. How many times have we watched a relationship crumble or family members end up on the outs because one person couldn’t find their “happy”.
The thing about happy is that no one thing and no one person can make you happy. You have to make yourself happy with the tools you have in front of you. There’s a lot of self evaluation and soul searching involved where you have to figure out your priorities. Obviously if you are someone who is focused on career, you shouldn’t search for a soul mate to be happy, as you’re only going to make that soul mate miserable by taking them for granted. If you want a family, then you can’t let job pressures ruin your life or you’re simply going to damage the family you love. You can have both but it requires a balance.
You can’t bend life to suit your needs and expect the world to conform to you to make you happy, because the world has over 6 billion people in it and can’t stop to please one person. I learned that the hard way, much like everyone else has. I’m not always happy, even though I want to be, I still need to be reminded of all the things I have that are awesome. I find these rules help me put things in perspective:
1. Don’t stress things you can’t control. You can’t make your job promote you, even if you’re the most qualified. You can’t fix a falling out with a friend who doesn’t want to listen to reason. You can’t make your kids behave every day, even if you teach them all of the right things, because you also taught them to be themselves. By remebering you can’t control the world around you, you can start to control your behaviour to help make those things come together. Work attitude improves performance, teaching kids by example, etc.
2. Remember those who really matter. Your kids, your mate, your family, your true friends are going to help you on your journey. Don’t sweat the people who didn’t escape high school and try to tear you down with childish comments and passive aggressive behaviour. Don’t sweat the lack of external validation from strangers. Focus on the people who unconditionally love you because when the chips are down, those are the people who are going to help you achieve your goals.
3. Have a chat with yourself. The only person who can make you happy is you, so make sure you remember how awesome you really are. Stop letting your reflection kick your ass and start telling it that you are actually really awesome. No matter how good things are for you, if you can’t look at yourself and think “I am great”, then you’ll never get there.
4. Don’t be afraid of help. 10% of the world’s population requires anti-depressants and therapy due to chemical imbalances and hundreds more are going untreated. Don’t let mental illness destroy you. It IS normal, it IS okay and you’ll love yourself more if you seek help for yourself.
5. Find your passion. Find whatever it is that you love and use it. Whether it be photography, writing, painting fingernails or airplanes, find that thing that makes you tick and use it to bring yourself out of the doldrums. When you feel yourself getting angry or depressed, take a second and use the skills you’re passionate enough to create something good, not make something bad.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy. So, take the time out to make yourself happy. You owe it to yourself.