(Again - I am sure there are tons of book on happiness - but this is my blog!)
I am not always happy - obviously! But I am training myself, slowly. And I have seen some good results from my self-training. So....What have I done to stay happy?
Well first I must say that it has taken a long time for me to let me feel what I feel. We (including me) tend to feel what other people want or expect us to feel. One has to have the self confidence and faith in themselves to let themselves feel what they naturally want to feel; or one will be leading a fake life. I have had to let go of a lot of emotions, a lot of negativity and some responsibility (in a responsible way).
So these days this is what I do...
- I take care of my health - I diet and exercise to a point where I feel satisfied, not to satisfy anyone else - just me.
- I make sure that my "career" is taken care of. My job is what is paying the bills and helping me live the life I want; so I make sure that I don't slack off there. I do what I am supposed and more if I can - but only if I want to. I don't let the petty day to day events get me down.
- I have hobbies that help to occupy my mind so it does not wander off into the negative world. I keep my hands and mind busy with crochet, writing or cooking. And occasionally cleaning!
- Try to do something new at least once a month. It could be something as small as trying a new recipe, or learning a new software - variety is the spice of life. So I always keep learning.
- I don't take responsibility for other people's actions anymore. This was a hard one. I used to keep feeling that I was somehow responsible for how the other person was talking to me or behaving towards me. But in time I have come to realize - everyone has their own life to live, their own destiny, their own sense of well being. I will not hurt anyone deliberately but I will not take responsibility if someone loses their temper for no reason at all. I will walk away from negativity.
- I don't expect other people to make me happy. It is not their responsibility. I am responsible for my own feelings. And the truth is that so many people do make me happy!
- I surround myself with people I like, people I care about (and who also care about my well being), people I can enjoy life with, laugh with (and sometimes vent with). The more positive, creative and good people I have in my life the better I feel. I don't feel obligated to hang out with negative people just because I "have to". I have friends because I want them in my life. I don't want people around me who suck the life out of me. My contact with such people is minimum.
- I volunteer my time - giving back to the community always makes me feel like I belong in this world and I am making a difference even though it might be minuscule. Time is a valuable gift to give - more than money, so I always make sure I give my time to organizations whose mission I believe in.
- I travel - what a waste of life if one has not seen the creation! Traveling opens up minds and hopefully hearts! At least for me it has. I enjoy it, I see it as a personal growth. It is culturally enriching and intellectually satisfying to learning about other countries and cultures.
- Read read read - books take us through so many adventures. So let the imagination fly. I love reading!
My work is still not done. There is always this nagging feeling of - if I had just "this" more I would be happy. When I fill in the blank with "this" then I think I will want "that", then once I have "that" it will be "something else". The wish list will never finish. So I have to learn to just enjoy my life and the world as it is at present with all that it has to offer me and vice verse.
Even great sages have to go off for meditation to rejuvenate and come back to spread wisdom. So there is no harm making a little time for yourself when you see yourself sinking. (Yes, I am saying there is a great person in each of us who has something to offer to this world!)
Are you happy? Do you permit yourself to be happy? I don't know! It is up to you to figure that out for yourself. Believe in yourself, know who you are and live the life that YOU want to live not what someone else wants for you (that would be a fake life). Do all the little things that make you feel good from the inside - it could be as little as opening the door for someone. But do it. Make small changes to the positive side of the life.
If you are happy then the world will seem beautiful, everything will seem to be in harmony, problems will seem to be meaningless and you will try and make other people happy! You can make other people happy only if you are happy from the inside. And don't be that fake happy where you are smiling outside but are sad or irritated inside.
I would say happiness is a right. No one should take that right away from you. And you should exercise your right to be happy. I know sometimes sacrifices have to made - but then make them consciously and with full acceptance so you don't regret it. Be happy with your decision for your sacrifice and learn to enjoy it.
Be happy - inside out.