The truth is that each one of us wants to be happy, whether we admit it or not. Ok, nihilists, put on that pouting partially angry face, turn your backs, but don’t hold yourself from smiling when this sentence starts making sense to you from within any other place, besides your gloomy mind setting. Joke aside, happiness is what every human being reaches for and it is attainable for each one of us no matter where we live, what we are going through, etc
If you think I am going to give you a recipe of how to be happy, it is not it. Though I know a few food recipes that trigger my happy taste responses. Ok, no spoilers, let’s just get to the point:
1. Stop the drama already!
Yes, the drama, that virus type of running in circles in your own misery that you use as an escape from your own true feelings and often you drag other people into it thinking they will better understand you or feel empathy for you. The truth is that you don’t get empathy like that, you only get pity and not solve the issues that make you unhappy, nor the people that you drag into your drama will help you in any real way.
Drama myth debunked: it’s a mirage, not real, so stop lying to yourself and to others. Instead try respecting your feelings, your fears and problems and the people around you who genuinely care about you and look at you sometimes feeling helpless and frustrated not understanding how to help you because of your drama. Yes, sometimes life sucks, we all have a hard time living, no matter our social status, education, professional and emotional background.
But it’s time to shake yourself up and face life, it’s a pity to feel pity for yourself and not take action in your life. No, that excuse that you feel so bad and no one understands you and you start complaining is not action! Action is admitting that you have feelings, you sometimes fear so badly that you feel stuck. It’s ok, once you admit it, then you will get the real empathy and can work on your true issues.
2. Stop believing everything you hear from other people or you read online.
Especially the catastrophic stories or the overly-emotional messages that trigger your guilt mechanism and start listening to your gut and what you really want, like and desire. You used to love a good steak and a barbeque with friends on late summer nights and now you can’t really allow yourself to eat that because it comes from a poor pig and you feel guilty as hell for the pig’s feelings and for the planet going to hell because of all meat consumption going on? Newsflash: that pig is already dead, feeling guilty for enjoying that steak will not bring that animal back to life.
Yes, the planet is in a crisis, but it’s not because you eat a couple of steaks a month! Lets be realistic, please! Moderation is the key. Yes, we tend to buy more than we consume and need and that perpetuates the industry’s hunger for exploitation to a ridiculous number. You can give a helping hand by not feeling guilty and enjoying yourself and being moderate and responsible in your shopping sprees and by doing genuine work in giving a helping hand in your area where needed. Also, if one bad thing happened to someone it won’t necessarily happen to you too, so pay attention to that as well.
3. Stop trying to please and save others.
Where does that leave you when you are at home with your lights off and you can’t sleep knowing you have so many things on your heart and on your head and you ignored them running around trying to save and solve other people’s problems? Yes, it’s ok to help, but don’t ignore yourself in the process. You can truly help other once you helped yourself as well. And you cannot save anyone, we are not here to save each-other.
Literally you can save a person from drowning, or from an accident, etc, but emotionally you cannot. You can be there for them & offer them a guiding hand when requested and needed, but you can’t save them. The hard truth is that the more you try to save them the more you take away their own power leaving them feel more helpless and needy. Try instead to help them see the solutions available that they can use themselves and focus on the positive things. No, that’s not bullshit, seeing the good and the accomplishments is scientifically proven to work and makes you more resilient.
4. Stop talking about other people and their issues.
Their lives either as a gossip either from envy. It’s ok to worry about other people, it’s ok to feel envy, to judge, but stop doing that already, it doesn’t help you, really, talking for hours with your friends about these things. Try instead to talk about ideas, brainstorm on different things that bring you joy and can help you develop something professionally, artistic, charity wise, etc. Or talk about articles you read, books, movies you’ve seen, a new band you discovered, try a new board-game when together, do something fun for crying out loud! It really looks embarrassing looking from outside the box at how we sometimes waste our time gossiping and ruminating the same things over and over again. Eleanor Roosevelt said something that I hope can shed some more light on this subject: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. Where do you want to be?
5. Stop over-analyzing and looking for every mistake in yourself and others.
It’s good to acknowledge your mistakes and being responsible, but that’s different from the harmful war-like mindset and actions when looking desperately for a reason to start a riot just to prove you were right and others were wrong. We all make mistakes! So what? We learn from them and it’s a good way sometimes to learn and grow, but from the punishment mindset you don’t grow nor help others. Instead acknowledge your limitations, your mistakes and those of other and work together by forgiving and learning from them.
6. Stop reaching for perfection!
There is no such thing as perfection, so wake up, smell the coffee, look yourself in the mirror and give your curves a nice smile. Once you start accepting your imperfections and loving yourself no criticism from others can bring you down, cos you will know that whoever is worthy of your love will see and love you for who you are not for what you try to be. So you are not an intellectual and you sometimes speak gibberish and make grammar mistakes, or is it mistakes? How many misses can you take? See what I did there? We all do that, life is not a race towards perfection. Being imperfect is great, it’s what makes us human. Oops, I just spilled my coffee on my white dress! Good thing I still have detergent and I don’t have to go out and buy some.
7. Stop thinking about the past!
Yes, stop that rumination of memories, of regrets. You won’t learn from them if you keep torturing yourself with them. It’s done, the past cannot be changed, but you can change your faith by living in the now and doing the things you can today. No, this doesn’t mean that you need to renegate your past and pretend it didn’t happen, but stop thinking about it already! You’re missing the best part of life, you are here now, not 10 years ago, not in your teens. There are so many opportunities and great things happening now, if you just open your eyes to the present moment.
8. Stop worrying about the future!
Another robber from the present moment and a builder of unhappiness. Yes, the future is uncertain and that is the way it’s supposed to be, that’s why it’s called the future, you cannot know what it will bring. It’s ok to feel frightened of the unknown and that feeling of uncertainty, it’s natural. Worrying about it won’t keep you from feeling bad when something will go wrong in the future, but it will for sure keep you from seeing the good that you have now and that you should appreciate.
So you have an exam coming, you need to go pick up your kids from school in 30 minutes after you read this, you have a huge to do list and it keeps pieling up each day. So much worry, so much anxiety! How will this constant worry help you when you are taking that exam and you get stuck and forget important things cos guess what, your mind can take so much stress and worry…, how will this help you when you pick up your kids and you are so stressed out that you won’t probably even hear their joy of what they did in school or their problems that they try to communicate to you and you are too zoned out to hear a real word of what they say?
How will this worry help you get those tasks on the to do list done? You’re going to do them superficially just to score a point on the list? That is not productive. Instead you can take a deep breath and see that for now you are here, your kids are at school, your exam is due next week, your to do list has fewer urgent things than you think and it’s not here. It’s in your agenda and you have enough time to do them step by step depending on their priorities and if you miss some of them it’s fine.
Smile, I have a list too, I actually have two, one on my computer in a word document and one in my agenda, handwritten, and they have different chores in them. Step by step, focus on one thing at a time and reward yourself for your patience.