Our expectation in life is to be happy, or so does anyone say these days if you ask them what they what to have in life. So the desire to be happy is what is driving people to keep on going, unfortunately, most of us will never reach that nirvana, since there isn’t a place or time when we will just stop and be happy. Why? Because we don’t define it correctly, so what is happiness?
I will start the list with what happiness is not since I believe we first need to see where we are failing so that we can find a way to succeed, and only after will I describe what happiness is for me.
1. It has nothing to do with money.
There was a meme that got shared a lot on social media, that stated that is better to cry in a Ferrari than on a bicycle, yet Denmark is here to prove us wrong since it’s in top 3 countries to live in and Copenhagen is rated the most bicycle-friendly city. So it looks like it’s better to work out on a bicycle than stay overweight in a car, whatever label it is. Having money has nothing to do with being happy, the wealthiest people I know are obsessed with making more since they are afraid of not having enough.
2. It has nothing to do with material things
We live in a consumerist economy that teaches us that happiness is directly liked to the things we own. In order to be happy, we NEED that new phone, that new SUV and we absolutely need that designer bag, we are failures if we don’t have to dress in the latest fashion. The worst thing is that we start to think like this, we tell ourselves that we would be so happy if we could afford that 3 bedroom apartment, even if we would be the only person to live it in, that we would feel so good if we could replace that the car with the latest BMW, even if it still works fine. What we fail to see is that the more things we gather around us, the more pressure we put on us to maintain those things, so the more dissatisfied with our life we become.
3. It has nothing to do with beauty
If you haven’t yet seen Model Squad series from E!, then you have missed nothing, yet this show is all about the “glamorous life” of models. Yet even the most beautiful women of Earth, that walk Victoria’s Secret runway are told that they are to fat or too skinny to take up projects. Even these women have insecurities and are self-aware of their beauty. From what I was able to get from the show, they are not the happiest people and their life is not as fancy as it sounds. Linking beauty and the XXS size to happiness is only another myth.
4. It’s about mental and physical health
Reality is created by each and every one of us in our brains. If two people would describe the same experience, chances are they would see it in a completely different way. Taking care of your health is one of the most important things, your body needs to function in a correct way in order to feel good. Just imagine the moment you are down with a severe cold or a nasty headache, would you be able to feel happy about seeing a beautiful sunrise?
Sometimes we have to lose our health in order to fully appreciate it and to start taking care of ourselves, but trust me when I say that you need it if you want to experience happiness and well-being.
5. It’s about the ability to forgive
Holding grudges might be more harmful than you think, some studies even linked to getting fat. Betrayal is never a pleasant experience, yet it is up to us how much we let it affect us. Whenever you feel like you are incapable of forgiving someone, remember that it is possible that you also hurt or betrayed someone, we are humans and we make mistakes and that is why we need to try to be the bigger person and put it behind us. Resentment is opposite to happiness, so try to eliminate this from your life.
6. It’s about the power of letting go
Sometimes people leave us, other times we lose them, life is not fair and it’s not easy, some events cannot be prevented and time cannot be turned back, so we need to make peace with the past in order to enjoy the present. Letting go might be even more painful than forgiving someone, but it’s necessary to be relieved from the ghosts. The good memories will always be there and you should hold on to those, but the rest needs to be released.
7. It’s about appreciating what you have
One of my favorite songs as a kid was Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun and it’s lyrics got stuck in my brain: “It’s not having what you want / It’s wanting what you’ve got”. If you are able to read this, then you have access to the internet and you have a computer, most likely you are not hungry and you have a roof over your head, this is more than most of the people from the planet have. Getting mad over the waiting line at Zara, or the misspelled name from Starbucks or the wrong order from whatever restaurant is not worth it. Imagine your life without water, in a war zone or with a terminal phase disease, I hope by now you start appreciating all the great things from your life because you are among those who won the life lottery.
8. It’s about the journey
Making a dream come true is an amazing feeling, but so is working to make it happen, every step of the way is a reason to be proud and … happy! There is no final destination, there is always the next dream, the next great thing, so you need to start taking pleasure in the current journey.
9. It’s about living the moment
Concern about what the future will bring us, regretting the things we did in the past, we forget to live the only moment we have, and that is the present. There is no time machine, we will never know what is to come and we cannot change what was done, but we can do something about the current moment. Tomorrow should not be taken for granted, so make the most of today.
10. It’s all about love
Whether is the love you have for your body, for the people around you, for the world around you or just for life, all comes back to the love you are putting out there. Happy people are the ones that smile to the world, that embrace human connection, that is constantly in love with life. It all circles back to love, whatever you do, there is no happiness that you can achieve by yourself.
If you got all the way to this point, I hope you understood that you are happy and your life is a happy one, you just have to realize it. Happiness will never be a constant state, there will always be ups and downs, there is no such thing as a constant happy life, it’s just a normal life, one where you take advantage of what it has to offer. So whenever you find yourself wishing for that happy state, just have a look around, there is a huge chance it’s already good.
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