Pursuit of Happiness?

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius

Growing up, I was programmed into thinking that if I fulfilled a number of conditions that happiness would await me. Happiness was always viewed as a final destination rather than an emotion or a mood. All I ever heard was: ‘As soon as I loose weight, I’m going to be so content’; ‘I’ll be so much happier whenever I finally get that job’ and the classic old ‘you have to fall in love in order to find true happiness’. After tragedies and let downs, I grew to understand that happiness was nothing more than a temporary state of mind that can extinguished by a single word or silence itself. That was when I realised that our population are all on an empty pursuit of happiness and that change in the way we thought was paramount to overcome this unrewarding pursuit. A few simple changes in the way I managed my thoughts has led to a much happier life.

  1. Selfish vs Selfless
     It is not selfish to love yourself. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish to put yourself first sometimes. It is down to you to make happiness a priority every single day. The difficulty often comes with striking a balance between being selfish and being selfless. Suffering is caused by ignorance and through people inflicting pain on others on their own selfish pursuit of happiness. It’s important to make time for ourselves, but at the same time, it’s important we don’t forget to make room for the people we love and the people who need our help and understanding.
  2. Be Open Minded
    Many of us are brought up with a set of entrenched beliefs which offer very little room for wavering beyond the tightly fitted parameters. We tend to surround ourselves with people who share the same values and beliefs as us as nobody likes to be in the position of being told they’re wrong. We stay in our own little bubble of ignorance in order to escape uncomfortable challenges. I found that whenever I opened my mind to other ways of thinking, whenever I was confronted with ideas which challenged my own, I was less likely to be become bitter at the reality. I found that whenever I used to dip into a narrow frame of mind ultimately I ended up facing hostile unhappiness. Whenever you allow your pride to take a hold of you, you allow yourself to succumb to ignorance. For me, you cannot expect to change and you cannot expect to be happy without changing your mind. So, keep your eyes and mind wide open.

  3. Accept Defeat
    Studying law, accepting defeat is an outlandish premise. I never wanted to accept defeat and in doing so damage what remained of my pride. But understanding that accepting defeat is a temporary condition and giving up is what makes a defeat permanent you’re closer to finding happiness within. The longer you wallow in self pity about a previous defeat, the less time you have to build and start over with the knowledge you’ve now acquired of what does not work. You can’t expect to ever be happy if you’re always caught up  on the ‘what could have been’ moments instead of ‘what can be’ moments.

  4. Happy Body, Happy Mind
    It’s so easy to slip into bad eating habits, given a stressful and jam-packed life style, and fail to see the importance in filing our bodies with nutrition dense foods. What became clear to me was that whatever I choose to eat not only affected my health, but also my mood. From then on, I chose to regularly exercise and eat better so I felt good about myself on both the outside and inside.  I also realised that counting calories and endless amounts of fad diets only led to copious amounts of self-judgment when failing to meet to stringent ‘requirements’ and this was in no way a happy lifestyle.

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. Take everything as it comes and stop focusing on pursing happiness and more on living.

 

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