A lot of people desire to be happy – and they constantly are searching for something or someone to give them the happiness that’s missing in their lives. Unfortunately, true happiness comes from within. Having all that you want – clothes, cars, dream house (which could be a cottage in the middle of a meadow full of sunflowers – not necessarily a mansion in Los Angeles), all the brand new gadgets, a man (or woman), family – does not necessarily mean you would be happy and content. Many people have all that they’ve ever dreamed of yet still feel empty and unhappy.
So – if it’s not all about material possessions, or achieving your goals and dreams – how do you exactly become happy? As previously mentioned, you have to look within. You would need to determine what you’ve been doing that is making you unhappy – and deal with those. Here are some tips so you can appreciate life for what it is and be on the road to true joy and happiness.
Learn to forgive and forget
There’s no use in holding grudges. You only hurt yourself and it has no effect on the person who has (rightly or wrongly) hurt you in the past. He / she most likely doesn’t even know you’re still hurting! So just let bygones be bygones and move forward. Forgive them for what they’ve done and then learn to forget – forget your quest for vengeance (if you have any), forget the hurt and pain – just look ahead and move forward.
and that includes forgiving yourself
Sometimes, a person’s unhappiness stems from memories of something that you, yourself have done to someone else that you regret – disrespecting your parents, stealing from a friend, cheating on a partner – or maybe something more serious – whatever it is, forgive yourself for what you have done. Remind yourself that you are human and making mistakes is all right – it’s part of life. Admittedly there are some mistakes that have massive repercussions – which you may have to live with. If that’s the case, accept this and deal with it like an adult – and then move on.
Hold off giving criticizm
Whether it’s criticizing others or yourself – just STOP. When you judge and criticize people, your network becomes smaller – people will not want to be around you because they know of your propensity to look for fault. Learn to accept people (yourself include) as they are, and reserve your judgement on anything they have done (or will do) to yourself. Focus on seeing the good in others, and yourself. When you accept people as they are, you become more understanding and more forgiving of their actions.
It may not be much but spending time with doing something for another person does contribute to your inner feeling of happiness and contentment. It doesn’t have to be a big show of giving (such as giving millions of dollars to a charitable institution), it can be something small. Volunteer at a school or orphanage, help your ailing parents with their housework, help out at the local soup kitchen. These little things help – not just the person or organisation receiving your support, but will help you greatly as well.
We all have problems …
You’re not the only ones with issues – others just deal with them well. So try to minimize focusing on the issues that trouble you – especially if these are beyond your control. Constantly worrying about problems that you cannot solve will make the problems seem bigger than they are and consequently, make you feel even more depressed. Not saying that you should forget all about your problems altogether – that’s not healthy. Continue to work towards solving that problem (if you have a big debt, plan towards paying that off) but don’t dwell on it until it consumes your whole existence.
If it makes you happy, then go for it.
If you used to find so much joy playing the clarinet but haven’t had the chance to do so because of work – take time to bring out the clarinet and create beautiful music. If you were passionate about swimming – go to the local pool and do a few laps. If you’ve always wanted to start on a craft or a hobby that you know will make you happy – don’t wait for the perfect time to do it. The perfect time is now. Whatever it was that used to give you a high or a feeling of happiness, take time out every day or every week to do this. It does wonders for your emotional well being.
Ignore the nay-sayers.
If you hear someone saying something about you, do you feel offended? Do you value their opinion so much that you’d gladly sacrifice your peace of mind and identity just to please them? That’s actually not healthy and will lead to a life of forever trying to meet unreasonable expectations. Not saying you should ignore everything you hear – that’s not it. Filter what you hear and listen to what is of value for your (things that will make you a better person). If you don’t hear anything worth retaining, just smile and move on.
Admittedly, all these may be easier said (or read) than done, but you do have to start somewhere. Remember that you only have one life, so you have to give it your best shot. There are no dress rehearsals, this is it. Don’t waste your time moping around when there’s so much for you to enjoy and appreciate. You may have to “force” yourself to be happy at the onset, at least until you wake up and realise that you really, and truly are, happy.
If you think you are (or someone you know is) unhappy due to depression, consult a medical professional. Depression is not to be taken lightly – the sooner it is addressed, the better.